How Sad! The man who raised Kamiyah Mobley as his own daughter for 18 years was devastated to learn his ex-girlfriend had actually abducted her from a Florida hospital when she was a baby.
Charles Manigo says he only found out he was not Kamiyah’s biological father last week when his former partner Gloria Williams, 51, was arrested in South Carolina over the girl’s abduction back in 1998.
Manigo told ABC News the couple had named the girl Alexis Kelly Manigo after Williams led him to believe she had given birth to her while he was away.
They raised her in Walterboro, South Carolina as Alexis Kelly and even shared custody of her when they split in 2003. He said he was there for all of his daughter’s milestones, including her prom.
‘She was the love of my life,’ Manigo said.
‘One of the hardest things she said on Friday was, ‘Dad I love you,’ even though she knows what’s going on.
‘She’s still my child. I understand what’s going on, but she’s still my child.’
Kamiyah was reunited with her biological parents Shanara Mobley and Craig Aiken on Saturday just days after learning the shocking secret of how she was snatched at birth by the woman who raised her.
Williams is thought to have suffered a miscarriage about a week before she drove the three hours from South Carolina to Florida and abducted baby Kamiyah in 1998.
It is believed she then passed off Kamiyah as her own daughter to family and friends, who said they never suspected a thing.
Williams was arrested on Friday at her home and will be extradited to Florida to face charges of kidnapping.
Kamiyah posed with her biological parents for their first-ever family photo on Saturday when they met behind closed doors at the Colleton County Jail where Williams is currently in custody.
After spending nearly an hour with his daughter, Aiken, 41, said of seeing her for the very first time: ‘It was the best day of my life. It was a beautiful, beautiful day. We are so happy. I hope the world is rejoicing with us.’
Aiken, whose wife Shannon was also present, said they chose not to discuss the alleged kidnapping, instead focusing on getting to know the daughter he and Shanara feared they would never see.
‘We laughed, we chatted, we didn’t allow any negative thoughts. We didn’t talk about the kidnapping,’ he said.
‘It’s going to be hard for her to turn this into a positive. She’s got very mixed emotions about the woman who raised her.
‘But we are going to be there for her, this is just the start of a wonderful future.’
‘But then it’s right there staring you in the face. So you don’t know what to say or do.’
Boatright said Kamiyah was a well-mannered teen who was ‘very well read’ and ‘disciplined’.
He said his opinion of Williams hasn’t changed, despite the news.
‘She did that 18 years ago,’ he said. ‘Eighteen years ago she was a young lady and you don’t know what her emotional state was then.’
Boatright said the surprising news has spread like wildfire in the small community.
‘At the fish market, the hair dresser, the gas station, they’re all talking about it,’ he said.
Investigators are currently speaking with Williams’ family to learn more about the abduction. Authorities have not yet determined Williams’ links to Jacksonville.
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