JACKSONVILLE, Fla.- A baby girl kidnapped from a Jacksonville hospital hours after her birth has been found alive and well, 18 years later, in South Carolina.
The case of missing baby Kamiyah Mobley captivated the city and drew national attention in 1998 after she was kidnapped from University Medical Center, now UF Health-Jacksonville, just eight hours after she was born.
On Friday, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office arrested the suspect, Gloria Williams, 51, in Walterboro, S.C., about four hours north of Jacksonville. Police say Williams allegedly took Kamiyah and raised her as her own daughter under a different name that they didn't release.
"She was abducted as a newborn and needs time to process this... we want to respect her privacy and we ask that you do too," Sheriff Mike Williams said at a press conference Friday.
On July 10, 1998, a woman posed as a nurse and entered Kamiyah's mother, Shanara Mobley's hospital room. She told Mobley that Kamiyah had a fever and it needed to be checked. The woman then left the room and exited the hospital with the child. They both disappeared without a trace.
An intense investigation was launched after Kamiyah disappeared. Nurses told authorities that they thought the woman was a family member of Mobley's. They said they saw her interact with Mobley just hours before the abduction.
Police searched every inch of the hospital. The FBI and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) were also called to assist.
Surveillance video proved too grainy to identify the kidnapper and the camera in the nursery was broken, so law enforcement circulated a sketch of the suspect. There were also no photos of baby Kamiyah, so investigators told the public to look for a baby with an umbilical hernia, like a raised belly button, and bruising on her buttocks.
After Kamiyah went missing, JSO said authorities had more than 2,500 leads. They offered a $250,000 reward and the case was also featured on America's Most Wanted. But, all leads ran dry.
Mobley sued the hospital and later got a $1.5 million settlement.
It wasn't until late 2015 when local authorities received two tips that led them to South Carolina. JSO Cold Case detectives teamed up with the Walterboro Police Department and managed to locate an 18-year-old girl with the same birth date, but different name. They also discovered fake documents had been used to establish the girl's identity. Police interviewed several people in the area, who helped create more suspicion that the teen was Kamiyah.
JSO managed to obtain a DNA sample from the teen earlier this week and submitted it to the FDLE Crime Lab for testing. They received the results Thursday night and discovered that it was a match to Kamiyah's DNA taken shortly after she was born.
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