This Baby Was Thought To Be Dead, Found Alive 18 Years Later
In the case of most child abductions, victims are either found dead or badly abused. For Kamiyah, her kidnapper named Gloria Williams actually treated her extremely well for 18 years. She raised her as her own–well enough for Kamiyah to not notice a thing growing up. Here’s how the story started.
Taken At Birth
On July 10, 1998, Gloria Williams posed as a nurse and walked right into Kamiyah’s Mother’s hospital room. Witnesses say she was wearing a purse with scrubs, which seemed very strange at the time. They didn’t know Gloria was about to pull off one of the most successful kidnappings in history.
Grainy Camera Footage
Since the parents thought Gloria was a nurse, she had no problem taking Kamiyah from the room to “run some tests.” She had a fever, apparently. That’s when she was taken. Camera footage from the incident proved too grainy for the authorities, and they had trouble going from there. Gloria proved particularly slippery to catch for YEARS.
Nurses involved in the investigation said they thought Gloria was a family member since they saw her interact with Kamiyah multiple times. The case grew so disturbing that it was featured on America’s Most Wanted! Authorities even offered up a $250,000 reward to those who could find the child.
The Trail Goes Cold
In the aftermath of the kidnapping, the police circulated a drawing of the suspect, but to no avail. Shanara Mobley, the mother of Kamiyah, sued the hospital and received a $1.5 million settlement. Meanwhile, Kamiyah was living a different life. “She took care of everything I ever needed,” Kamiyah later said. Let’s take a look at her life growing up.
An Alternate Reality
On the outside kidnapper Gloria Williams was a stand-up woman. That’s why she was so hard to catch. She worked at the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, volunteered at Habitat for Humanity, and led the Youth Program at Methodist church. Her act was incredibly deceiving. So deceiving, in fact, that Kamiyah was just one of twelve kidnapping cases since 1983 that had not been solved.
The Tips Come Pouring In
Since Kamiyah dissapeared, 2,500 tips were sent in to the JSO authorities, but all ran dry. That is until two came in 2015 that lead them to South Carolina. JSO detectives teamed up with the local police department and found an 18-year-old girl with the same birth date, but different name. What they did next would crack the case.
Retrieving The DNA Sample
Authorities managed to obtain a DNA sample, and it matched that of the kidnapped girl on July 10, 1998. Police arrested Gloria Williams at her Walterboro home in January of 2017, and she stood trial for numerous wrongdoings. You won’t expect how Kamiyah, the kidnapped baby, felt about all of this.
Kamiyah Prays For Her Kidnapper
Since Gloria never abused Kamiyah and raised her like a normal parent, she definitely had a weird feeling about everything. “I never had any ID or a driver’s license, but other than that, everything was totally normal,” Kamiyah said. She was present in the court room during Gloria’s appearance and even told her she was “praying for her” and that she “loved her.”
A Reunion To Remember
What about Kamiyah’s real parents? They reunited with her soon after everything happened. Her father, Craig Aiken, said the meeting was “beautiful.” He then elaborated, saying “It’s a feeling that you can’t explain.” Kamiyah said she could feel her real Mother’s love for her, and also that “they don’t feel like strangers. They feel like distant family.” But what about Kamiyah and Gloria? Where do they go from here?
Back in January Gloria was being held without bail before a pre-trial in February. It was there that she pleaded not guilty, and she did the same in April during another pre-trial. Kamiyah herself came into the courtroom and begged the judge not to “lock her up and throw away the key.” It was an emotional moment. It was also reported the two exchanged smiles when Gloria walked in. Let’s take a more in-depth look at her life growing up.
Life Growing Up
Kamiyah said Gloria did all the things a normal mother would. She took her to the zoo, aquariums, and even Sea World. “I feel like I was blessed,” she said. “I never had a reason to question a blessing like that, someone loving you so much.” It was later revealed Gloria had a miscarriage the week before Kamiyah was kidnapped. She never suspected her Mother wasn’t who she said she was. Here’s why it was so hard to find her.
Why It Was So Hard To Find Her
Kamiyah never had any forms of identification growing up. Driver’s Licenses and I.D.’s were a no-go. She even mentioned she couldn’t get a job because she didn’t have the proper Social Security Card. All of her documents were fraudulent, but she managed to stay under the radar enough that nobody questioned it. By all accounts, too, Gloria was an upstanding person and didn’t draw much attention to herself. This case was by far one of the most unique of all time.