JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Lifetime TV premiered its latest ripped-from-the-headlines film “Stolen by My Mother: The Kamiyah Mobley Story” Saturday night. Here’s what you need to know about the real-life case that happened in Jacksonville and made national headlines, inspiring the film.
1. Kamiyah Mobley was abducted as an infant in 1998 from a Jacksonville hospital.
Hours after she was born, Kamiyah Mobley was abducted from the University Medical Center (now UF Health Jacksonville) on July 10, 1998, by Gloria Williams, a South Carolina woman. Williams was posing as a nurse and wandering around the hospital’s halls when she befriended Kamiyah Mobley’s mother, Shanara Mobley, who was 15 years old at the time. Williams then stole her baby eight hours after she was born. Leaving behind only grainy surveillance videos of herself dressed in scrubs, Williams disappeared with the infant.
2. Shanara Mobley wouldn’t know her child’s whereabouts until 18 years later.
On Jan. 13, 2017, Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams announced that Kamiyah Mobley, 18 years old that the time, was found living with her abductor in Walterboro, South Carolina. Gloria Williams, then 51 years old, was arrested and charged with kidnapping and interfering with custody.
Over the years after the abduction, more than 2,500 tips came in to police. Finally, tips led investigators to Walterboro, where Kamiyah Mobley was living with the name Alexis Manigo. Up until that point, the teen had been living as Gloria Williams’ daughter.
3. Gloria Williams was sentenced to 18 years in prison.
After pleading guilty to kidnapping and interference with child custody, Williams was sentenced to 18 years in prison with 511 days credited for time served on June 6, 2018. As part of her plea deal, Williams was barred from profiting from her crime while in jail, meaning she could not sign a book, TV or entertainment deal.
In 2019, Williams would try to appeal the case, saying her 18-year prison sentence amounted to “cruel and unusual punishment.” Williams argued when she committed the crime, she “had just suffered a devastating miscarriage and was exhibiting symptoms conducive to postpartum depression, as well as experiencing extreme mental and emotional disturbance.” Williams claimed to have not been of sound mind during the abduction. Her appeal was denied in June 2019.
Gloria Williams in court learning her fate in the kidnapping of Kamiyah Mobley.
4. Kamiyah Mobley found a balance between her two identities while in the national spotlight.
As the case against her abductor unraveled in court, Kamiyah Mobley handled the national spotlight and newly-discovered identity “with a degree of gangster,” according to her attorney, speaking to First Coast News. On official paperwork, such as job applications and social security, Mobley went by the name her birth mother had given her. However, Mobley clarified in an interview with ABC’s “Good Morning America” that her name tag at work still read “Alexis.”
“My name tag at my job says Alexis. Kamiyah Mobley is on my paperwork. That’s who gets paid,” she said. “People that know me, call me Alexis. If you know me by Kamiyah – call me Kamiyah. I go by both.”
Kamiyah Mobley, who was raised with the name Alexis Kelly Manigo,sits in the courtroom during the sentencing hearing of Gloria Williams Friday, May 4, 2018 at the Duval County Courthouse. [Will Dickey/Florida Times-Union]
5. Kamiyah Mobley’s reunion with her biological family was complicated.
Twenty years after the abduction, in an interview with The Florida-Times Union, Shanara Mobley explained the strained relationship between her and her biological daughter, who still saw Gloria Williams as her mother.
“I truly feel it in my heart; I just wish she would not have come back. I really do,” Shanara Mobley said. “Because [Kamiyah] came back, this has made a mockery of my life.”
“I’m still lost. I don’t have a relationship with my child,” she said. “What did I gain? Nothing.”
In the interview, Shanara Mobley said she hopes Williams dies in jail, in the hopes that maybe she and her daughter could finally focus on their relationship.
“As long as she can call her and go see her, that’s her momma,” Mobley said. “I’m about to start calling her Alexis so I won’t be hurt. I’m serious. I’m serious. I have to start doing things where I don’t hurt no more.”
Since then, Shanara Mobley and her daughter have continued to work on their relationship.
Shanara Mobley and Kamiyah Mobley.
On December 6, 2019, it was announced Kamiyah Mobley, now 21, would be moving back to Jacksonville to live with her biological father, Craig Aiken.
Aiken said in a Facebook post, “Listen up! Just got wonderful news. And I need y’all support. Kamiyah is moving down here with me this weekend and I’m excited. This is a big step for both of us. If you are as happy as we are, help me welcome Kamiyah to Jacksonville.”
Kamiyah Mobley’s family hosted a watch party for the Lifetime film Saturday, Jan. 18, on Jacksonville’s Northside. During the watch party, Kamiyah Mobley was present but told First Coast News she was more interested in spending the evening with her family than watching the film. Aiken told First Coast News he watched the film for the chance to possibly learn more about his long-lost daughter.
“It’s a story about a kidnapping, you know? It’s coming from that point of view,” he said. “I don’t know what other feelings I’m supposed to have, but I’m watching it to see — maybe there might be some things about my daughter that might haven’t found out, maybe learn yet. Overall, at the end of the day, it’s just a movie.”
If you missed the Saturday premiere of the film on Lifetime, it is scheduled to air again Sunday at 2 a.m. and 10:05 p.m. It will also air Monday at 2:05 a.m. and 12 p.m.
Kamiyah Mobley and her father Craig Aiken attend the watch party for “Stolen by My Mother: The Kamiyah Mobley Story.”
First Coast News
Kamiyah Mobley gets a kiss from her grandmother at the watch party for the Lifetime movie about her abduction.