A baby snatched from a Florida hospital 18 years ago is alive, well and living in South Carolina — and the woman she thought was her mom is charged with kidnapping, officials announced Friday.
Kamiyah Mobley — who was born just eight hours before a woman posing as a nurse stole her from Jacksonville’s University Medical Center in 1998 — had an “inclination” several months ago that she did not belong in the family that raised her, Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams said at a Friday press conference.
A recent DNA analysis confirmed the 18-year-old living in Walterboro, S.C., is the missing baby.
Mobley — whose new name has not been released — is in good health but overwhelmed.
Police arrested 51-year-old Gloria Williams, who raised the girl as her own, in South Carolina on charges of kidnapping and interference with custody.
The Mobley family is overjoyed by the news, Mike Williams said, but it is up to the teenager to decide if she wants to reunite with her birth family.
"She's 18, an adult and clearly a victim in this case," he said at a Friday press conference. "A case like we have not seen in this country for a long time."
Investigators followed more than 2,500 tips over the years. Investigators said several of those leads — including the South Carolina teen’s own suspicions that she was involved in the case — led them to the suspect.
"She had an inclination beginning a couple of months ago that she may have been involved in this in some way," Mike Williams said. He did not provide further details.
Police told First Coast News that they discovered fake documents used to establish a new identity.
Little Kamiyah vanished on July 10, 1998. Her mom, Shanara Mobley, said a woman she believed was a nurse entered her hospital room, examined the newborn and claimed the little girl had a fever, First Coast News reported.
The scrub-clad imposter said she needed to take the baby for a more thorough exam — but she fled from the hospital after taking Kamiyah out of her mom's room.
Hospital staffers said they believed the woman was part of Mobley’s family.
Surveillance video showed the mysterious woman walking through the hospital, but it was so grainy no one could identify her. Police released sketches of the woman instead, but still, no suspect was ever named.
While investigators worked for years to solve the case, the Mobleys never forgot the child they lost.
Her grandmother Velma Aiken told the Daily News by phone that the family FaceTimed with the lost girl and that "She acts like she's been talking to us for a long time."
She plans to reunited with her biological parents sometime soon, though Aiken said that no exact date has been set because the family does not want to come on too strong.
In 2008, the 10th anniversary of the kidnapping, Shanara Mobley told the Florida Times-Union newspaper that on every one of Kamiyah's birthdays, she wrapped a piece of sheet cake in foil and stuck it in the freezer, saving it for her missing girl.
"It's stressful to wake up every day, knowing that your child is out there and you have no way to reach her or talk to her," she said.
Williams has a court appearance Friday afternoon, and is expected to be extradited from South Carolina to Florida.