The South Carolina woman accused of kidnapping a newborn baby from a hospital in Jacksonville, Florida, in 1998 allegedly admitted to the crime over a year ago, according to court documents obtained by ABC News. Moreover, the child came to know she had been abducted, the documents show.
Gloria Williams, 51, allegedly abducted Alexis Manigo on July 10, 1998, just hours after she was born at a Jacksonville hospital and raised the girl as her own in South Carolina. Williams allegedly posed as a nurse and told the baby’s mother that the newborn had a fever and she needed to take her away, according to Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams.
Williams, who has not yet entered a plea, was arrested at her home in Walterboro, South Carolina, on Jan. 13 and charged in the nearly two-decade-old case.
According to the affidavit for the woman’s arrest warrant obtained by ABC News, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office received two anonymous tips last year from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The first tip, which authorities received on Aug. 8, stated that Manigo told a friend that she was kidnapped as a baby and is listed as a missing person. The tip provided authorities with her current name, according to the affidavit.
The second tip, which authorities received three months later, stated that Williams confessed to taking Manigo from a hospital in Jacksonville, saying she had renamed the girl and claims her as her daughter. The tip also stated the two were living in Walterboro, according to the affidavit.
Detectives with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said they interviewed two witnesses who confirmed the anonymous tips, according to the affidavit. The first witness provided a sworn statement that approximately a year and a half ago, Williams confessed to him that she “stole” a baby from a Jacksonville hospital and that she renamed the baby Alexis Manigo, according to the affidavit.
A second witness provided a sworn statement that approximately a year-and-a-half ago, Manigo told her that she had been kidnapped from a hospital in Jacksonville when she was a baby. According to the witness, Manigo said Williams told her she was named Kamiyah Mobley at birth, the affidavit said.
ABC News’ chief legal affairs anchor, Dan Abrams, said it’s unlikely Manigo will be charged in the case if she was aware of her abduction and chose not to report it to police.
“She’s a victim,” Abrams said on ABC’s “Good Morning America” today. “She was stolen away from a hospital, she was brought up by the only mother that she knew, so you have to sympathize with her plight.”
Williams was extradited from South Carolina to Florida on Tuesday, according to the Jacksonville sheriff. She returned to Jacksonville for her first court hearing Wednesday morning. The judge set no bond on the kidnapping charge but set bail at $503,000 on the interference with custody charge, citing the unique circumstances and the gravity of harm alleged by prosecutors.
Williams is next scheduled to appear in court on Feb. 8.
On Jan. 10, Jacksonville detectives arrived in Walterboro and determined that a birth certificate and Social Security card for Manigo were fraudulent. The Social Security number listed with Manigo’s name was issued to a male in Virginia who died in 1983, according to the affidavit.
DNA testing showed that Manigo, now 18, is not Williams’ biological daughter. Oral swabs recently submitted by Manigo were compared with DNA samples that were collected and preserved at the time of the abducted child’s birth. The result was a match, according to the affidavit.
Manigo, who was given the name Kamiyah Mobley at birth, was reunited with her biological mother and father last week. She appears to be a normal 18-year-old in good health, according to the Jacksonville sheriff.
However, in an exclusive interview that aired Wednesday morning on “GMA,” Manigo said the reunion was bittersweet because the woman she knows as “Mom” was taken away from her.
“I understand what she did was wrong, but just don’t lock her up and throw away the key,” Manigo said. “I still think of her as Mom. She will always be Mom.”
Manigo identified herself during the interview as Alexis Manigo, but she said she is fine with people calling her by her birth name. She said Williams was “a great mother.”
“She made one mistake, but I was loved,” Manigo said. “From that one mistake, I was given the best life.”
ABC News’ Michael DelMoro, William Gretsky, Julia Jacobo, Eva Pilgrim, Avianne Tan, Devin Villacis, Jason Volack and Scott Withers contributed to this report.