A girl kidnapped from a hospital in Florida in 1998, just hours after she was born is found alive and healthy in South Carolina, authorities announced Friday, the cracking of a case that went unsolved for nearly two decades.
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“She seems like a normal, 18-year-old woman,” Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams said in the description of Kamiyah Mobley, who was found in Walterboro life under a different name. “She has a lot to process, lots to think about.”
#KamiyahMobley – Sketches from 1998 of the defendant and her current booking photo. #JAX #JSO #Jacksonville pic.twitter.com/Xm8F9ucXJB
— Jax Sheriff’s Office (@JSOPIO) January 13, 2017
The 51-year-old Mobley is life with Gloria Williams, has been arrested and accused of kidnapping and interference with custody.
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The saga began on July 10, 1998, at the University Medical Center in Jacksonville – now known as UF Health Jacksonville.
Shanara Mobley had just given birth to Kamiyah when eight hours later, a woman posing as a nurse said the newborn had a fever and had to be looked at. The woman picked up Kamiyah and to the left of the facility, never to be seen again.
Surveillance video released to the public in a plea for help showed a kidnapper who is too grainy to identify. And a comprehensive examination of the hospital showed nothing.
A year after her disappearance, police had more than 2,000 leads and offered a $250,000 reward for Kamiyah, while the case drew national attention on the TV show “America’s most Wanted”, First Coast News reported.
But all the leads ran dry, until, Williams said, a tipster began feeding information to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that Kamiyah can live in South Carolina.
Williams said Friday that a DNA swab of the 18-year-old woman matched with Kamiyah the DNA of the hospital. He said the woman had an idea that something may have occurred with respect to her past, but until the test came back positive, she believed Gloria Williams was her real mother all along.
“I can’t stress enough to give her some space and try to let her process it and get through it,” the sheriff said to reporters Friday.
Williams said authorities confirmed late Thursday night that they had found Kamiyah, and when they broke the news to her biological family, they were elated.
On the 10th anniversary of the kidnapping, Shanara Mobley, who was then 26, told the Florida Times-Union, that the stress to wake up every day knowing that your child is there and you have no way to reach her or talk to her.”
She told the newspaper that in 2000, she settled a lawsuit with the hospital about the case and received $1.5 million.
Gloria Williams was arrested in her home on Friday morning and will be sent to Jacksonville to face the charges. As for Kamiyah, police say that the chance for her to get back in touch with her biological family, but the decision whether they want to do, is up to her.
Authorities on Friday also does not reveal a motive why Gloria Williams allegedly kidnapped the girl say that they were at the beginning of a complicated research.
“There are a lot of questions remain unanswered,” Williams said.