*18-year-old Alexis Manigo, born Kamiya Mobley, made headlines this week when it was revealed that she was abducted as a newborn from a Florida hospital and raised by the woman who snatched her.
Now, Manigo has spoken out in her first interview since news of her being located made global headlines, and she’s defending Gloria Williams, the woman who posed as a health care worker and took her from a Jacksonville, Florida hospital in the summer of 1998.
Alexis told ABC news:
“She loved me for 18 years. She raised me for 18 years… I will always love her… From that one mistake, I was given the best life. I was. I had everything I ever needed, wanted. I had love especially. I understand what she did was wrong but just don’t lock her up and throw away the key like everything she did was just awful.”
Watch the video clip below:
Officials said at a news conference last week that she was found living in South Carolina under the identity of Alexis. Williams was arrested and charged with first-degree kidnapping and third-degree interference with custody.
Mobley’s biological father, Craig Aiken, was overjoyed that she had finally been found, and said that he and her biological mother celebrated their daughter’s birthday every year and imagine “how it would be if she were here” and “what we would do if she came back,” he said Friday, after officials announced that the girl was now returned to her birth parents.
Meanwhile, Charles Manigo, the man who raised 18-year-old Kamiyah Mobley since birth, is now dealing with the aftermath of finding out he is not her biological father.
Manigo said he previously dated Williams and said she lied to him as well, telling him that she had given birth to his baby while he was away.
“I named her — a name I had for a year: Alexis Kelly,” Manigo told ABC. “She was the love of my life. The person she called dad for 18 years isn’t her dad.”
Manigo and Williams raised Alexis from the time she was a newborn, sharing custody after they split up in 2003, according to reports.
Alexis said all the attention she’s receiving is overwhelming. She also explained why she decided to meet her biological parents for the first time.
“I feel like I do owe them that, to give them a chance, you know? Get to know them. I’m not saying they weren’t going to be good parents. I’m not saying that at all. But it would have been a different life. When you find out you’ve got another family out there, it’s just more love,” she said.
Alexis now finds herself defending the woman she’s always known as mom.
“I will always love her,” Alexis said of Williams.