Newborn baby stolen from hospital found alive after 18 years
A girl stolen at birth from a hospital in the US has been found alive after 18 years, police have confirmed.
DNA analysis identified the young woman, who never knew that her birth name was Kamiyah Mobley, said Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams.
She is in good health but understandably overwhelmed, he said.
Kamiyah was found alive and well in South Carolina after being kidnapped from a Jacksonville hospital as a newborn in 1998.
A woman posed as a nurse before snatching the 8-hour-old baby from her mother’s hospital room, brushing past the child’s grandmother and disappearing.
Recent tips, including Kamiyah’s own inclination, led authorities to Walterboro, S.C., where a DNA test was carried out, Sheriff Williams said.
At the conference police said that due to the stress and situation, her new identity is not being released. Williams said she appears to be a normal healthy 18-year-old woman.
"She is in good health but understandably overwhelmed," he said.
A 51-year-old woman, named as Gloria Williams, has been charged with kidnapping and interference with custody.
Williams said the Mobley family, who were not present at the news briefing, are elated. However he said there has been no decision made about a reunion. This will be up to the 18-year-old. But he said to try to imagine the gravity of what she’s dealing with right now, thinking all along that Williams was her mother.
Williams wouldn’t say how, but she had become aware that she may be linked to this case. It followed about 2,500 tips over the years.
There was no picture of Kamiyah, so best guesses were used for a composite of the child. A team of detectives led by Sgt. Don Schoenfeld took on the case as more than two dozen other Sheriff’s Office investigators joined in.
"We are speaking to as many people as we can to try to paint a picture of what may have happened 18 years ago," the sheriff said. "Lots of questions left unanswered."
Ms Williams will be extradited to Florida, authorities said, and she faces up to life in prison.
Ms Mobley's birth family never forgot what had happened.
Her mother, Shanara Mobley, told the Florida Times-Union newspaper on the 10th anniversary of the kidnapping that on every one of Ms Mobley's birthdays, she wrapped a piece of cake in foil.
"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 told the paper in 2008.
The sheriff said he does not know when Ms Mobley might contact her birth family.
She is only beginning a process of coming to terms with the fact that her true identity was stolen from her, he said.
"She's 18, an adult and clearly a victim in this case," Mr Williams said. "A case like we have not seen in this country for a long time."
Additional Reporting Press Association