A woman who was stolen at birth 18 years ago met her biological parents for the first time Saturday in an emotional reunion at a South Carolina police station.
Kamiyah Mobley, 18, spent 45 minutes with her birth parents Craig Aiken and Shanara Mobley at the Walterboro Police Department in the latest twist to a case that has stunned the nation.
“I told her I was glad to see her and that I loved her,” Aiken told reporters afterward.
“The first meeting was beautiful. It’s a feeling that you can’t explain.”
Kamiyah Mobley was only eight hours old when a woman posing as a nurse snatched her from a Florida hospital in July 1998.
Mobley grew up in rural South Carolina as a young girl named Alexis Manigo. She had no way of knowing that the woman who raised her was in fact a kidnapper.
But that woman, Gloria Williams, 51, was arrested Friday after the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children received a tip that it passed along to authorities.
Williams was charged with kidnapping and interference with custody. She could face up to life in prison if convicted.
An anguished Mobley rushed to a detention center in Walterboro to see Williams.
Separated by a mesh screen, Williams blew a kiss to the girl she raised as her own.
“I love you, Momma,” the sobbing teenager responded.
In a Saturday Facebook post, Mobley elaborated on her feelings about Williams.
“She raised me with everything I needed and most of all everything I wanted,” Mobley wrote. “My mother is no felon. The ignorant ones won’t understand that.”
Neighbors were stunned by the news of Williams’ arrest.
“She seemed like a normal person,” Lakeshia Jenkins said. “She went to work, came back here and went to church every Sunday.”
Williams and the girl would often come to the home of Jenkins and her husband Joseph for cookouts in the yard.
Mobley appeared to be well-cared for, according to the Jenkinses.
“She wasn’t an abused child or a child who got in trouble,” Joseph Jenkins said of the young woman who lived across the street. “But she grew up with a lie for 18 years.”
In the hours after she learned of her true identity, Mobley connected with her biological family for the first time since she was stolen from Jacksonville University Medical Center.
“Nobody works (a) miracle but God. I know now he heard my prayers,” her grandmother, Velma Aiken, told the Daily News after FaceTiming with her newly found grandchild.
Aiken said she still remembers seeing Kamiyah being taken by an unknown woman wearing a nurse’s uniform in the hours after she was born.