As a young woman in South Carolina, Alexis Manigo thought that growing up would be easy. She was excited to achieve her goals; to get a college education and begin her career. Alexis had a supportive and loving mother, always there to advise her, and she wanted to make her mom proud.
Unfortunately, while working towards her college and career goals, Alexis stumbled upon a terrible secret from her past. She had been in the dark for almost twenty years. The shocking truth tore her world apart and what followed her discovery was the stuff of nightmares.
The Happiest Childhood
Alexis Manigo was raised in the lovely, pastoral city of Walterboro, South Carolina. She was brought up by Gloria Williams, a single mother who provided well for her daughter. Despite being raised without a father, Alexis’s mother made sure that her daughter never lacked anything; she raised her well.
Alexis was treated like a princess by her mother and two older brothers; she was the light of their life and pet named “doll baby.” Though they weren’t rich, Alexis had everything she needed and was grateful. Her mother hadn’t had an easy life, and raising three kids was difficult.
A Cold Hard Past
Before Alexis came into her life, Gloria Williams was stuck in an awful situation. She had been through a nasty divorce and had to fight for custody of her sons. Gloria understood that it would be challenging to raise them alone, but she couldn’t imagine existence without her children.
Gloria’s life looked like it was back on track, and then she met Charles Manigo. Charles was highly charismatic and charmed her and her sons. In no time, Gloria had fallen head over heels for him. The nightmare began when they took the plunge and moved in together.
True Colors Revealed
Before long, her charming, nice boyfriend began to reveal his true colors. Charles first began displaying the signs of an abuser by harassing Gloria verbally. Gloria believed she was strong enough to endure it and brushed off the harsh words. She needed to hide her suffering from her sons.
Gloria continued to pray that her and Charles’s relationship would get better. She still remembered the kind, loving man she had first met and wished he would treat her well, like back then. But once Charles started to hurt her physically, she knew that there was no going back.
Holding out Hope
Still attempting to maintain her relationship with Charles, Gloria tried to accept her boyfriend’s abuse. After all, he supported her family financially and could be a sweetheart when he was in a good mood. Gloria’s sons knew about what was happening but didn’t dare say a word.
Gloria started using makeup to hide Charles’s beatings’ bruises and resorted to long clothing to conceal the damage. Before long, people started catching on, and it became harder to hide. Even so, Gloria wouldn’t give up, many ridiculed her for it, but she held out hope that things would improve.
Devastated and Alone
As time progressed, it became more difficult for Gloria to act as though nothing was wrong. Her sons were growing up and were starting to ask questions about her bruises. It wasn’t long before Charles began to beat her sons too; this broke her, for she had tried to carry the burden alone.
Things kept getting worse; Gloria’s ex-husband found out that she was in a relationship with an abusive man and demanded custody of their sons. He had a strong argument; her sons were being raised in an unsafe environment. Gloria was devastated and alone. But fate intervened.
An Intervention of Fate
In 1998, Gloria discovered that she was pregnant. She had been ready to leave Charles, but the pregnancy changed her mind. Her boyfriend may have been a bad guy, but Gloria loved him wholeheartedly. She believed that she could survive his beatings and absolved to never give up on him.
Gloria knew that Charles had always wanted children. She thought the news would change him, rekindling their love. Gloria was wrong; Charles showed no mercy despite her pregnant condition and crushed her hope as well as her self-worth. She’d reached her last straw; Gloria finally ended her abusive relationship.
She Learned Her Lesson
Alexis had the most beautiful smile, and she warmed up her mother’s broken heart. Gloria’s two sons also returned home once she broke up with her abuser, Charles. Gloria had been to hell and back, and at long last, she could relax and be happy with her three extraordinary kids.
Gloria had learned a lot during her ordeal with Charles Manigo. She decided she was done with men. On the precipice of depression, Gloria reached out to her family for support. She was working on starting her life over and began applying for jobs. Things began to look up.
The Unbreakable Bond of Family
Gloria often felt life was hopeless, but the hugs of young Alexis always helped her regain hope. Gloria’s boys were older and spent less time at home, so her daughter was her focus. She made a promise to herself that no matter what, she’d protect Alexis from the hardships of life.
Gloria’s children were all extremely close and had an enduring bond. It’s possible that despite their young age, they understood how much their mother had suffered and knew they should make her feel loved. All in all, they tried to move on and live like a regular family.
Money Can’t Buy love
Alexis grew up with no memory of Charles Manigo to haunt her. When Alexis first learned to talk, her mother was beside her, supporting her. When she took her first steps, Gloria held out her arms to catch her. Her mom was always there for her, and her caring brothers were a bonus.
Gloria stood patiently by Alexis’s side as she memorized the alphabet and helped her as she learned math. She drove her daughter to school every day and gave her everything she needed. Even though they didn’t have much money, Gloria made up for it with love.
Lovely Young Lady
Alexis was raised to be a polite and kind young lady. Though she grew up without a father, the love her mother and siblings provided him was more than enough. Alexis was one of the most intelligent kids in her school and had many friends throughout the small city of Walterboro.
Gorgeous, friendly, and bright, it was no shock when boys began vying for Alexis’s attention. After celebrating her sixteenth birthday, Gloria allowed Alexis to start dating. Soon enough, Alexis had a steady, supportive boyfriend. The only thing Alexis still wanted to achieve was her dream of going to college.
Reach for the Stars
Since her mother was the sole financial provider in their family, Alexis understood that she needed to get a job if she wanted to receive a college education. Gloria was excited for her and suggested that the two visit nearby schools, even organizing college visits.
Alexis started looking for a job, her friends lending a hand. It didn’t look as if finding a nice place to work would be a problem, but when she was required to produce identification and other standard documents, problems arose. Little did Alexis know what horrors awaited her.
Proof of Identification
Alexis hadn’t given any thought to her official documentation before. But when her potential employers asked her to provide them with her social security number, she found that she didn’t have one; she only had a birth certificate. With no social security number, her dreams of going to college would be crushed.
Frustrated that she could not obtain proof of her identification, she turned to her supportive and caring mother for help. Gloria had always been by her side to aid her, solving any issues she encountered. Approaching her mother for help, Alexis never imagined what would come next.
The Dark Past Revealed
As Gloria and Alexis sat facing each other on the porch of their home, Gloria braced herself and told the truth. “I am not your mother,” she whispered. The words reverberated in Alexis’s ears as she stared back at the woman she had thought her mother; she understood this was no joke.
Naturally, it took a while for Gloria’s words to register in Alexis’s mind. Even though she was all grown up, she couldn’t help herself and began to cry. The worst part was that Alexis hadn’t been adopted; the story was far more sinister than that.
Not Adopted, But Abducted
Gloria must have practiced her reveal many times over the years. She calmly explained the whole story to Alexis, maintaining composure throughout the sordid tale. The young woman understood that her mother must have known this dreaded day would arrive sooner or later, Gloria had prepared.
The story Alexis was told sounded like something out of a psychological thriller. Alexis felt as if she was being told the plot of a film. The woman she had cherished and cared for her entire life, Gloria Williams, was not her real mom. Alexis had not been legally adopted. She had been kidnapped!
Her True Self
On July 10, 1998, a baby girl came into this world in a hospital in Jacksonville, FL. She was born to a sixteen-year-old by the name of Shanara Mobley. The newborn girl’s father was named Craig Aiken. Shanara and Craig decided to call their daughter Kamiyah Mobley; this was Alexis Manigo.
Baby Kamiyah was only eight hours old when she was snatched away from her mother. The hysterical teenage Shanara hadn’t even photographed her child and was only beginning to recover from having just given birth. The kidnapping caused a commotion in the media, and a countrywide search ensued.
The Thief’s Evil Plan
Shanara had told the detectives what occurred on the day her newborn was kidnapped many times. As she remembered it, a lady in a nurse’s uniform came in and inquired about how she was feeling. Still quite groggy from her epidural, Shanara didn’t detect that the imposter had hidden agenda.
A scared, new teenage mom confided with the ‘nurse’ about her confusion about her future held. Her boyfriend, Craig, was in jail for impregnating her when she was underage. The “nurse” offered the young mother advice and helped her change her gown, distracting Shanara from her devious plan.
Disappeared Without a Trace
Shanara hadn’t asked the name of the helpful nurse; she had no reason to doubt that the woman was hospital staff. When the woman explained to Shanara that she had to take the baby for checkups because the newborn looked unwell, the lonely and groggy young mother trusted her wholeheartedly.
The stranger exited the hospital room with Shanara’s cute newborn baby. She moved with calm composure, raising no suspicions or doubts. That was the last time that Shanara saw her beautiful baby girl, Kamiyah. The calculating criminal, Gloria Williams herself, disappeared without a trace, breaking young Shanara’s heart.
A Most Devious Disguise
Everyone who witnessed what was later revealed as a kidnapping agreed on the facts about the culprit. They all observed that the woman had been wearing thick glasses and a wig. In retrospect, it was clear that she had taken measures to disguise her identity.
The authorities searched tirelessly for the kidnapped babe and her captor. Frustratingly, no pictures had been taken of the child, so they only had a computer-generated image of her possible face. Hoping it would help track her down, the police included Kamiyah’s distinct features in their description, such as her Mongolian spots and umbilical hernia.
Accidental Evil Genius
The nationwide search was of no use. Gloria Williams, though a first-time baby snatcher, had been lucky. She had pulled off her evil abduction without flaw. What remained unclear was what Gloria’s motivations in kidnapping Kamiyah from her mother had been. What had Gloria been thinking?
Obviously out of her mind, Gloria put the baby girl in the car and started to drive with no final destination in mind. Gloria was severely depressed and had reached a point of acute desperation. She knew that she had to run and do it fast. No one knew where she had gone.
Needle in a Haystack
It is well known that losing a child is the worst thing in the world for a mother. Shanara blamed herself for Kamiyah’s abduction, angry at herself for being young, gullible, and naïve. She desperately wished that she’d been more cautious and could have saved Kamiyah.
Shanara sunk into depression, her friends and family raised money for her cause, and the government offered a reward to anyone who had information on the missing child’s fate. Alas, it was like looking for a needle in a haystack. No one even had pictures of the baby or her captor.
Never Forgive, Never Forget
In the beginning, Shanara and Craig trusted the police and the media to help retrieve Kamiyah. The baby-snatching was massive news for Jacksonville and had triggered fear in the city’s people. Shanara and Craig even went on Television, begging on national news, for the safe return of their daughter.
The couple spread out across the state, handing out flyers showing the computer-generated picture of Kamiyah. But time continued to pass, and with it, their hopes of reuniting with their baby fell away. It was declared a cold case, and the community moved on. But the parents never forgot.
Starting Over With Alexis
Gloria Williams went into complete disbelief when she realized the crime she had committed. She had driven from the Jacksonville, FL medical center to Walterboro, SC, on auto-pilot. She didn’t have a master plan and barely grasped the weight of what she’d just done.
Moving past her shock, Gloria arrived at her parent’s home with the baby. She thought that it was too late to turn back. She told her parents that the baby was her daughter and named her Alexis. Gloria was excited to leave behind her abusive relationship with Charles and start over with the baby girl.
The Love of a Daughter
Alexis was in tears when Gloria finally finished telling her shocking tale. As she looked at the woman who had been her mother, Alexis could only feel empathy. Gloria had been the warmest and most supportive mother Alexis could have asked for; how could she hate her?
Following Gloria’s confession, Alexis couldn’t work up the guts to find her birth parents. It wouldn’t have been hard to track them down if she had been ready, but something was holding her back. She didn’t want to face the facts. But the truth has a way of coming out in the end.
Baby Steps Forward
To Gloria’s surprise, her horrifying confession didn’t impact her relationship with her daughter very much. But time continued to move forward, and she feared that sooner or later, her daughter would give in to the desire to meet her biological family. Gloria’s motherly instincts were correct.
Alexis was seventeen when she first resolved to contact her birth mother, Shanara. Within minutes online, Alexis found her parent’s contact information and tons of articles about her kidnapping. The first time she called her birth mother, she didn’t know what to say and hung up. A year later, the police found a lead.
I Think They Got Your Number Gloria
In January of 2017, Gloria’s phone rang, and she confronted her worst fears. It was the Jacksonville Police; they demanded that she and Alexis arrive at the station. Even though she knew it was the end, Gloria remained composure as usual and told Alexis that they had no choice.
Alexis begged her mother to run. In Florida, kidnapping is a felony, and she knew that her mother would be convicted. Alexis didn’t want Gloria imprisoned, but the woman was ready to face the music. DNA was collected from Alexis at the police station, and the results sealed Gloria’s fate.
The Right to Remain Silent
The DNA results confirmed that Alexis wasn’t Gloria’s biological child, but the police still had to do more tests to find a match. It wasn’t easy considered that they had over 2,000 cases of kidnapping that could have Alexis. Luckily with the help of some tips and evidence, they narrowed it down.
Alexis Manigo and Shanara Mobley’s DNA results were a perfect match. The police department contacted Shanara the moment the tests came back. Shanara was elated by the miraculous, life-changing news, but Gloria, on the other hand, was hastily taken into custody. The cold case had finally been solved.
Prays Finally Answered
Ever since her newborn child had been abducted from the hospital, Shanara Mobley had lived in anguish and discontent. She’d gone into a crazed frenzy when she’d realized that her baby had been taken from her and that she had conversed amicably with her daughter’s captor.
Even when the authorities had declared her case cold, Shanara hadn’t given up. Each year Shanara celebrated her lost daughter’s birthday, blowing out candles on her cake and wishing for Kamiyah’s return. After eighteen hard years, she finally got the call for which she’d been praying. Words failed to describe her euphoria adequately.
Finding her Family
Poor Shanara was just sixteen when baby Kamiyah was abducted. Her twenty-three-year-old boyfriend Craig had been incarcerated, for impregnating her, a minor. During the investigation, their families had been suspects in the case. Shanara had dealt with the pain of losing her child along with the judgment of people who blamed her for it.
Shanara’s life was hell; she couldn’t sleep and was depressed for almost half a decade until she gave birth to her second daughter, LaShawnye. After that, she had Christopher, Chrisanna, Savannah, and Journye. Shanara loved all her kids dearly but always felt Kamiyah was missing.
Stockholm Syndrome or What?
At the Jacksonville Police Station, everyone was in awe, seeing Kamiyah taking the name Alexis Manigo willingly and looking happy, healthy, and unscathed. It was plain to see that Alexis had a strong bond with Gloria, her kidnapper. She treated the woman who had abducted her like a mother.
Alas, there are consequences for every crime. It doesn’t matter that Gloria raised Alexis well; she still has to face a jury. Even if she was temporarily insane, she kidnapped a baby from her parents, who have struggled in anguish for eighteen years because of her crime. They deserve justice.
A Dream Come True
Alexis or Kamiyah met with her birth family over Facetime and made plans to have a face-to-face reunion. Alexis’s life had become extremely hectic, and her family could barely wait to meet her. Her mother was in tears seeing that her newborn child had grown into an impressive young woman.
The first time Kamiyah and Shanara hugged was too much; all of their pent-up feelings poured out after a lifetime apart. Shanara had no idea what to say to her long-lost daughter and just cried. She was too overjoyed to talk. She thought they’d talk in the days ahead.
Stuck in the Middle
Alexis was excited to learn more about her birth family. She even had four new siblings to meet. The girl was happy that her family had grown. However, even though she wanted to get to know them, she couldn’t forget what was happening to the woman who’d raised her.
Gloria Williams, Kamiyah’s abductor, was convicted of kidnapping and federal custody interference. She is incarcerated and faces a possible life sentence. The older brothers Alexis grew up with were left with a mother in jail. Alexis feared that Gloria wouldn’t survive in prison.
Stand By Your Mom
Even after she found out the truth about Gloria, Kamiyah was incapable of hating her. Williams had been an amazing mother to Alexis and her brothers. They’d been well raised, growing into God-fearing, kind, and charitable young adults. Their community in Walterboro testified that Gloria was a good person.
Williams had committed one terrible crime. Alexis, or Kamiyah, understood her surrogate mother’s motives and decided to forgive her, despite the atrocity of her sin. Alexis was alone in her clemency. Shanara and the Mobley family couldn’t find the compassion to forgive the woman who had ruined their lives.
Crime and Punishment
A few days before she kidnapped Kamiyah, Gloria Williams had suffered a miscarriage. Williams had miscarried after being beaten severely by her abuser Charles Manigo. She’d lost custody of her two sons and was destitute. She doesn’t even know how she got from South Carolina to Jacksonville, Florida.
Gloria had never planned to kidnap Kamiyah from young Shanara Mobley. Williams had acted irrationally while in a bad, desperate state of delirium and grief. But yet again, no matter her motives or how well she had raised Kamiyah, her story couldn’t convince a jury.
The Strongest Grudge
During her trial, Gloria told the court about the devasting state her life had been in before abducting Alexis. She admitted that she had often felt regret about her spur-of-the-moment decision. She had even considered returning the child to Shanara and Craig, her distraught biological parents.
But when she looked at her daughter, though she knew that returning her was the logical choice, her heart couldn’t take the loss of another baby. Gloria begged for forgiveness, aware that her decision had ruined another family’s life. However, angry and bitter, Shanara claimed that she would never forgive her.
Till the Bitter End
Throughout the trial, Alexis clarified that she had no intention to turn her back on Gloria, who had raised her with love and support. Alexis visits Williams in prison, and the two speak every day. She asked that the sentence for Gloria be less severe than what her birth family wanted.
For Shanara and Craig, Gloria is still robbing them of Kamiyah. It has been heart-wrenching to have to vie for their daughter’s affection with the girl’s kidnapper. Alexis recently adopted her birth name, Kamiyah, but she continues to treat Gloria as her mother.
What Does the Future Hold?
Kamiyah was finally able to acquire the official documentation she needed to apply to colleges and get a job. She went through many highs and lows with Shanara, who wanted Kamiyah to stop all communication and end her relationship with Gloria so that they could finally become a family.
Gloria was condemned to eighteen years in prison, a tragic ending to her tumultuous story. Despite her motives, she had to be held accountable for her actions. Kamiyah’s other mother, Shanara, still waits patiently, praying that someday, Kamiyah will love and care for her the day she does Gloria.