She raised a stolen baby for 18 years — and now she'll spend that much time behind bars.
A woman who kidnapped a newborn from a Florida hospital in 1998 and raised the child as her own was sentenced Friday to 18 years in prison. The judge handed down one year in prison for every year the parents went without their daughter.
Gloria Williams, 52, had pleaded guilty in February. She also received a five year prison term for interfering with custody, which will be served concurrently with the 18-year kidnapping sentence, according to the Associated Press.
Williams was arrested in January 2017 and charged with stealing Kamiyah Mobley from a Jacksonville hospital in July 1998. She gave Mobley the name Alexis Manigo and raised the girl as her own in Walterboro, South Carolina.
When the girl wanted to apply for a driver’s license she discovered that she did not have a social security card or birth certificate. That’s when Williams told the girl her true identity. When the girl shared her story with a friend, that friend informed the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and Williams was arrested.
Kamiyah’s birth mother, Shanara Mobley, was perpetually heartsick. She would bake a cake every year on her missing daughter's birthday, slice a piece, wrap it in tin-foil, and put in the freezer, according to Jacksonville magazine. She never gave up hope that her daughter was alive and would be found.
After Williams was arrested, Kamiyah reconnected with Shanara and her birth father, Craig Aiken.
Kamiyah acknowledges that Williams was wrong to kidnap her, but said she didn’t want Williams to receive a lengthy sentence. The two have kept in touch through letters since Williams has been in jail.
Kamiyah showed up at a hearing soon after Williams’ arrest, where Williams told the girl, “I will always love you, always. But you’re not mine.”
“Your mother and father are sitting right here,” she added, pointing out Mobley and Aiken, who attended the hearing as well.
Williams testified Friday that when she drove to Florida in 1998 she did not intend to kidnap a baby, but had been in an abusive relationship that forced her to miscarry and lose custody of two other children she had, the Associated Press reported.
“I felt like I was on autopilot. My life was out of control, I lost everything,” she said.
She entered the hospital wearing scrubs, posing as a nurse, and then found the room where Aiken and Shanara were holding their newborn baby. Telling them she needed the baby for a routine check-up, she took the baby and walked out of the hospital, according to the Florida Times Union.
“What I remember is I was running, I was walking and at any time someone could grab my arm and say ‘What do you have in the bag?’” Williams testified.
Williams apologized to Shanara Mobley, Kamiyah’s birth mother, who on Thursday told the judge that Williams should receive a death sentence.
“She preyed on a child with a baby,” Mobley said, referring to the fact that she herself was only 16 at the time. “We wouldn’t be here right now if I was a grown woman. Because I was young she came in and preyed on a child.”
Aiken added, “I’m here trying to fix 18 years of lies.”
Referring to Williams, Aiken said, “She still doesn’t realize that she is not Kamiyah’s mother. What I have pumping through Kamiyah is biological blood. What she has pumping through Kamiyah is lies.”
Kamiyah told ABC News she hoped she could stay involved in Williams' life and "find a better way to balance everybody and everything, you know, and not so much tension."
[Photo: Florida State Attorney General's Office]
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