Update: Sentencing set for May in baby abduction case | News | The Press and Standard
by The Press and Standard | February 15, 2018 5:00 am
Last Updated: February 14, 2018 at 1:41 pm
In May, Walterboro resident Gloria Williams will find out the cost of living a lie.
Williams, accused by Jacksonville, Fla., Sheriff’s Office investigators of entering a Jacksonville hospital room dressed as a nurse and taking an 8-hour-old infant on July 10, 1998, pled guilty to charges of kidnapping and interference with custody when she appeared in a Jacksonville court the morning of Feb. 12.
After hearing the plea, the judge set Williams’ sentencing date for May.
If Williams had gone to trial and been found guilty, she could have faced life in prison.
Based on the agreement between Williams’ defense attorney and the prosecution, she could be sentenced to up to 22 years behind bars on the kidnapping charge and up to five years on the interference with custody charge. The defense attorney is also asking that the prison time on the two charges be served concurrently.
At the sentencing hearing, court officials expect to hear from Kamiyah Mobley, the infant girl Williams raised in Walterboro as Alexis Manigo, as well as Mobley’s biological parents, Shanara Mobley and Craig Aiken.
Kamiyah Mobley, in recent interviews, has expressed hope that the woman who raised her will not spend more than 10 years behind bars.
On Jan. 15, 2017, Alexis Manigo watched as the woman who was the only mother she had ever known waived extradition to Florida during a bond hearing. She also met her biological parents via a video chat. On Jan. 16, she met her parents in person at the council chambers of Walterboro City Hall.
Williams was arrested at her North Lemacks Street residence on the morning of Jan. 13 and taken to Colleton County Detention Center.
A search warrant, secured the same time as the arrest warrants, enabled investigators from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and Walterboro Police to search the Williams home. Family photos and other material seized from the home were moved to Jacksonville and were to be used as part of the evidence in Williams’ trial, which was scheduled to begin this week. Hints of a possible plea began circulating in Jacksonville last week when the judge informed prospective jurors they would not have to appear at the courthouse.
The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, late in 2016, began receiving information from the National Center of Missing and Exploited Children about the 1998 abduction, including tips to look in Walterboro.
Cold case detectives from the sheriff’s office began working with the Walterboro Police Department to follow the leads.
One lead identified Alexis Manigo, an 18-year-old with the same date of birth as the missing child.
In the Colleton County School District and other locations, invetigators began finding documents that, on further examination, proved to be fraudulent.
That information led to obtaining a DNA sample from the young woman. The sample, along with DNA trace evidence collected at the Jacksonville Medical Center in the early stage of the abduction investigation, went to the Federal Bureau of Investigation crime lab for comparison testing.
On the evening of Jan. 12, 2017, the FBI confirmed Manigo was indeed Mobley.
The next day, Williams was taken into custody.
The DNA evidence, along with statements collected by investigators, formed the backbone of the case against Williams.