A South Carolina teenager who was allegedly snatched from a Florida hospital just hours after being born has been reunited with her biological parents, 18 years later.
“First meeting was beautiful, wonderful. It couldn’t have gone better,” Alexis Manigo’s father, Craig Aikens, told ABC News Saturday.
Alexis, who was born Kimiyah Mobley, was just eight hours old, authorities said, when a woman posing as a Jacksonville nurse took her from her mother, Shanara Mobley.
The alleged kidnapper, Gloria Williams, 51, went on to raise Kimiyah as her own. She is now facing kidnapping charges, authorities said.
Aiken, speaking to the Mail Online following Saturday’s reunion in Walterboro, South Carolina, said they decided not to discuss what happened all those years ago but instead get to know one another.
“We laughed, we chatted. We didn’t allow any negative thoughts. We didn’t talk about the kidnapping,” he told the website. “It’s going to be hard for her to turn this into a positive. She’s got very mixed emotions about the woman who raised her.”
Those who know Williams have meanwhile reacted with total surprise to the allegations brought against her.
“I was shocked. I was devastated because … I wasn’t expecting that at all. Not with her. Not the type of person she is. Not the type of reputation that she carries,” a Walterboro neighbor told News4Jax.
Williams was described as a church-going woman who assisted the local Veterans Association. Her criminal record includes charges of writing bad checks, welfare fraud, and an arrest for breach of trust in 2003, News4Jax reported.
Williams’ alleged double life was revealed after the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children received a tip about her daughter’s true identity, the center’s vice president, Robert Lowery, told CBS News. After reaching out to the sheriff’s office about the new information, a DNA test was performed, confirming Alexis’ identity.