It’s been over a year since Kamiyah Mobley, who was kidnapped as a newborn, was found alive and well, living happily with the woman who kidnapped her. In that time the kidnapper, Gloria Williams, was tried and recently sentenced to 18 years in prison, and Kamiyah was reunited with her biological family.
But what may have seemed like a fairy-tale ending to a heartbreaking story is apparently not meant to be. Kamiyah openly acknowledges that she still loves her imposter “mom,” and speaks to the woman regularly, sending her biological mother into a despair that has created a gaping chasm between them.
“It’s like a tug of war between us. Whenever I feel I’m winning her back, boom, the other side pulls me down,” Shanara Mobley, Kamiyah’s biological mom, recently told the Daily Mail.
This frustration has led the older Mobley to issue a heart-wrenching ultimatum to her 19-year-old daughter.
“I shouldn’t have to compete with a kidnapper—she has to pick one of us,” Shanara said.
“Nobody acknowledges my pain. I feel like I’m being robbed all over again every time she reaches out to my daughter,” she added. “Every phone call they share, every Mother’s Day card Kamiyah sends her, it just makes the pain worse. I’m being rejected for a kidnapper; how do you think that feels?”
Currently, mother and daughter are not on speaking terms. The teen continues to call Williams behind bars, saving the number of the Duval County Jail in Jacksonville, Fla., in her phone under “Mommy,” the Daily Mail notes. The teen also continues to live in Williams’ home in South Carolina, saying that she looks forward to the day Wiliams is released. She also still goes by the name Williams gave her—Alexis Manigo—on Facebook and other social media.
“We actually talked today. I still do call her ‘Mom,’” Kamiyah told ABC News.
Williams is also not about to drop the mantle of mom, either.
“Oh yeah, she calls and still gets on me. Yes, she does,” the teen added.
Prosecutors acknowledge that there is nothing they can do about Kamiyah and Williams communicating. The older Mobley still feels betrayed.
“I don’t feel that she should still be able to contact Kamiyah, and I don’t feel that her family should be able to contact my child,” she said. “The first time ’round, Gloria stole my baby by herself. This time ’round, now you’ve got the legal system helping her to steal her all over again. She can reach out to my daughter every day—my sentence won’t stop until she’s dead.”
The last time Kamiyah and Shanara spoke was the night before Mother’s Day. The pair argued, and Shanara cut the visit short and drove home. She was tired, she said, of being “disrespected.”
“I didn’t know this kidnapper had such a hold on her. I can see that it’s my child, but I can also see traits from the kidnapper in her,” the mother said. “She would defend the kidnapper to me. She blames me for everything. I think she blames me that this woman is sitting in jail. She’s blocked now because I don’t want to argue with her. I’m tired of being hurt.”
But Shanara, who has four other children besides Kamiyah, hasn’t given up on making a connection with her firstborn.
“I’m not saying there’s not a time that we can get closer, but I really should not have to compete with that woman,” she explained.
As for Williams, Shanara—who readily acknowledges that she hates the kidnapper—is hoping that the woman will let her daughter go.
“I pray to God he changes my heart towards you, but I hate you and that hate is very, very, very strong,” Shanara said, addressing Williams directly. “Help me to forgive you. Just let my baby go. Please let my baby go. If you feel any sympathy for me, let her go, please.”