WALTERBORO, S.C. -- A South Carolina teen kidnapped as a newborn first began to question her identity when she started looking for a job, and prospective employers told her her birth documents were fake, police say.
Kamiyah Mobley met her birth parents on Saturday at the police department in Walterboro, the South Carolina city where she was raised under a false name, multiple media outlets reported. Walterboro is 50 miles west of Charleston. Mobley was only eight hours old in 1998 when she was taken from a Jacksonville, Florida, hospital by a woman posing as a nurse.
“We’re not sure of what details she knew or how much she knew or how much she was told,” said Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams said Monday, according to CBS affiliate WJAX. “But we believe that there was a conversation at some point with some explanation about why her birth documents were fraudulent.”
Williams previously said Mobley “had an inclination” several months ago that she may have been kidnapped, but didn’t elaborate. He said Friday Mobley was in good health but emotionally overwhelmed.
Mobley’s birth father Craig Aiken said after the 45-minute meeting he is still in shock about suddenly being reunited with his long-lost daughter, but their first meeting couldn’t have gone better.
“The first meeting was beautiful. It was wonderful,” Aiken said. “It’s hard to put into words right now. We are just trying to process it - 18 years. It’s going to be hard to make that up. I just can’t describe it.”
A massive search and about 2,500 tips produced nothing until DNA evidence proved Mobley’s lineage. Investigators made the discovery after following up on a tip that a teen was living in South Carolina with the same birth date as the abducted infant, the station reports.
Police this week charged Gloria Williams, 51, of Walterboro with kidnapping. She will be extradited to Florida to face charges. There is no statute of limitations in the case and she could face life in prison.
Williams had raised as Mobley as her daughter.
“She wasn’t an abused child or a child who got in trouble,” a stunned Joseph Jenkins said of the young woman who lived across the street. “But she grew up with a lie for 18 years.”
Aiken said it’s not yet clear what’s next for his family, and Kamiyah will decide whether or not she will visit Florida. He said he would tell other parents with missing children to keep hope alive.
“Just keep praying, keep fighting, if it happened to me, it can happen to anybody,” he said.