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Woman sentenced to 18 years for kidnapping infant in 1998

A judge sentenced the woman who kidnapped a newborn from a Jacksonville hospital to one year for each year the family suffered not knowing if Kamiyah Mobley was dead or alive.

Gloria Williams, who pleaded guilty to the crime in February, showed no reaction to the 18-year sentence. Williams’ South Carolina family, pastor and friends who for the longest time had no idea that the girl they knew as Alexis Kelli Manigo was really the kidnapped girl that the nation had searched and prayed for, seemed stunned as they left the courthouse Friday.

Kamiyah was just 8 hours old in 1998 when Williams walked out of what was then University Medical Center, now UF Health, with Kamiyah tucked inside her purse.

On the day of Kamiyah’s birth, Williams told teen mother Shanara Mobley she was the nurse assigned to her that day. She spent five hours with them before she kidnapped the baby.

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Williams, now 52, raised the newborn as her own and gave her a solid upbringing in rural South Carolina. For the longest time, she kept the secret to herself.

But in 2015, the tale of how a little girl came into the world unraveled when Williams shared the secret of the abduction after Manigo pressed her for her Social Security card so she could get a job.

After the confession, Manigo didn’t want Williams to turn herself in and even suggested that she run, according to court documents.

Eventually Manigo shared the secret. And then someone else did too.

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Williams was arrested in January 2017 by detectives from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. She will be given credit for the 511 days that she has already been jailed awaiting the conclusion of her court case.

Mobley’s daughter did not attend the sentencing. She had attended last month’s sentencing hearing where the state and defense each laid out their cases.

At that time, she chose not to sit with her birth parents nor the many people from South Carolina whom she still continues to view as family. She chose not to testify, but television footage where she is asking for leniency was given to the judge instead.


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