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Teen meets her biological parents for first time since she was snatched at birth from hospital 18 years ago by woman who she grew up with and called 'mom'
The South Carolina teenager who was snatched from a Florida hospital when she was just a newborn broke her silence on Wednesday morning, saying that she does not want to see the woman who allegedly abducted her sent to prison.
'I understand what she did was wrong, but just don’t lock her up and throw away the key,' said Alexis Manigo, who appeared remarkably poised in a sit-down that aired on Good Morning America.
She was referring to Gloria Williams, the woman she believed to be her mother for the past 18 years who is now accused of kidnapping her just hours after she was born.
'She loved me for 18 years, she cared about me for 18 years. I just want people to realize that.'
Manigo then added: 'She made one mistake, but I was loved. From that one mistake I was given the best life.
'I had everything I ever needed, wanted, I had love especially. There is no price you can put on the love that was given to me.'
Later in the interview she said of Williams: 'I still think of her as mom, she will always be "Mom."'
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Difficult times: Alexis Manigo (above) gave her first interview since it was revealed that she had been abducted from a Jacksonville, Florida hospital hours after she was born
Behind bars: The teenager said that she does not want to see Gloria Williams (above), the woman who raised her for the past 18 years, sent to prison
Manigo was born Kamiyah Mobley, and only eight hours old when she was taken from her young mother by a woman posing as a nurse at University Medical Center in Jacksonville.
A massive search ensued, with helicopters circling the hospital and the city on high alert, but the child was never found.
Then, just a few months ago, Manigo 'had an inclination' that she may have been kidnapped, authorities said, though they did not reveal why she suspected this at the time.
Around that same time, a tip that had been received by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that led authorities to finding the teenager and arrested Williams, though it remains unclear who the tip came from.
Manigo said in the interview that she speaks to Williams every day, but has not been able to see the woman since their tearful meeting in South Carolina when she spoke to her though the metal grates of her holding cell, just before the woman she called 'mom' was extradited to Florida.
The teenager said she is now struggling with the fact that the woman she loves is facing kidnapping charges, and the fact that some are questioning how she can defend the woman.
'They want me to hate her, and it's not in me to,' said Manigo, who also noted how much it hurt to see Williams in cuffs.
'I will always love her.'
She also spoke about getting to meet her biological parents, Craig Aiken and Shanara Mobley, last week.
'I feel like I do owe them that, to give them a chance, get to know them,' said Manigo.
'When you find out you got another family out there, it's just more love.'
She went on to say: 'For some it's a victory, but at the same time you do take a loss when someone so dear to you is just snatched like that.'
First time: Manigo met with her birth parents, Craig Aiken and Shanara Mobley (above), for the first time last week
Happy times: 'She made one mistake, but I was loved. From that one mistake I was given the best life,' said Manigo (above with Williams)
There is also now the issue of how to refer to the teenager, and the young woman said that people are free to call her whatever name they feel comfortable with at this time.
'It's all a bit much for me, but if you know me by "Alexis" continue to call me "Alexis," if you know me as "Kamiyah," then you can call me that too. I'm not really specific right now. I haven't even thought about that, I'm just taking it one step at a time,' said Manigo.
'I don't want any malice with anybody.'
Manigo then added: 'Regardless of what you refer to me to, I know who I am, I’ve never questioned myself.
'I know who I am as a person.'
In an interview with People, Manigo's friend and 'half-sister' Arika Williams said that she learned that she had been abducted two years ago when she went to apply for a job.
'She was upset about it. She even stayed home from school the next day,' said Arika.
Arika went on to explain that after Manigo got a job at local seafood restaurant, she ran into problems when she was unable to provide a birth certificate and social security card for her new employer.
Keppiung quiet: Manigo (left after her birth) will not reveal when she learned that she had been kidnapped for fear of incriminating Williams (right in mugshot)
Kidnapped: Arika Williams, a friend and 'half-sister' to Manigo, said in an interview on Wednesday that the teenager learned the truth two years ago (Manigo on right speaking with Williams in her holding cell above)
'Lexy didn’t have that so she asked Miss Gloria for it and Miss Gloria kept brushing it off,” said Arika.
'Lexy kept being hard on her mother, like "Momma, where is my stuff? I want to get this job." Then Miss Gloria just broke down and told her this is why right here, you can’t do this. I kidnapped you.'
Arika claimed in the interview that Williams told her daughter then that she made the decision to kidnap her after suffering a miscarriage.
'Gloria was pregnant at the baby shower and had people there bringing homemade quilts saying Alexis’ name on it,' claimed Arika.
'Alexis Kelli Manigo was going to be spoiled regardless but I guess she said she lost Alexis Kelli Manigo. She was going to find Alexis Kelli Manigo and went and got Kamiyah.'
Arika said that after this, Manigo called her birth mother, and after getting through to the woman hung up when she heard her voice.
'Gloria is all she knows. That is Momma to her,' Arika said of Manigo.
'That is who raised her to who she is now. And no matter what that will always be momma to her.'
Nurse Kidnaps Baby 18 Years Ago . . . Raised The Child AS HER OWN . . . And Police FINALLY CAUGHT HER!! (The ‘STOLEN’ Child Supports Her ‘FAKE’ Mom)
This is the extraordinary moment an 18-year-old girl who was abducted from a Florida hospital as a baby was finally reunited with her biological parents.
Kamiyah Mobley has spent her entire life living as Alexis Manigo and had no idea her real parents were Shanara Mobley and Craig Aiken.
But days after learning the shocking secret of how she was snatched at birth and raised by another woman, Kamiyah was finally able to meet her birth parents on Saturday in South Carolina.
The trio posed for their first ever heart-melting family photo, breaking into broad smiles with Shanara looking close to tears as her long-lost daughter reached out to capture the shot.
Kamiyah Mobley, 18, posed for a selfie with her biological parents Shanara Mobley and Craig Aiken in an emotional family reunion on Saturday in South Carolina
Kamiyah Mobley, pictured with her birth mother Shanara Mobley on Saturday, was snatched from her mom's arms in a Florida hospital in July 1998 when she was a newborn
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.'
The emotion-charged meeting took place behind closed doors at a police station in Walterboro, South Carolina, where the woman who raised Kamiyah, 51-year-old Gloria Williams, is currently in custody awaiting extradition to Florida to face kidnapping charges.
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 told Dailymail.com
'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.'
Kamiyah Mobley, now 18, was found living in South Carolina on Friday living under the name Alexis Manigo. Gloria Williams, 51, has been arrested for kidnapping the girl from Florida