Gloria Williams, the woman who kidnapping a newborn baby from a Florida hospital in 1998 and raised the girl as her own for 18 years, pleaded guilty Monday to kidnapping and interference with custody, PEOPLE confirms.
Williams struck a plea deal on the day her trial was set to begin in the abduction of Kamiyah Mobley, and it calls for her to serve between zero and 22 years.
“The defendant felt it was in her best interest to plead guilty, as did the state of Florida,” Assistant State Attorney Alan Mizrahi told the judge Monday.
During the hearing, Williams, 52, said she acted alone when she posed as a health care worker and stole the eight-hours-old Mobley at University Medical Center in Jacksonville on July 10, 1998.
It wasn’t until 2017 that the truth about Mobley’s abduction came out thanks to two anonymous tips through the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.
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According to the first tip, sent to the center on Aug. 8, 2016, Mobley told a friend that she had been abducted as a baby. “The tip said that the victim is currently named Alexis Kelli Manigo,” an affidavit previously obtained by PEOPLE stated.
Three months later, on Nov. 8, the center received a second tip from an unnamed person who claimed Williams had allegedly admitted to the kidnapping, according to the affidavit. “The suspect stated that she renamed the victim as Alexis Kelli Manigo, and claims her as her daughter.”
Mobley had been living with Williams in Walterboro, South Carolina. Jacksonville sheriff’s detectives opened up an investigation and arrived in Walterboro last January, after which they obtained Mobley’s birth certificate and Social Security card from her high school. Investigators discovered that Mobley’s birth certificate was a fraud and her Social Security number was taken from a Virginia man who died in 1983, according to the affidavit.
When first interviewed by police, Mobley refused to acknowledge the possibility that Williams kidnapped her. In later interviews, she acknowledged that she had been abducted. She told investigators she was in high school when Williams told her she had been kidnapped as a baby.
“We knew this day was coming,” Mobley told the detectives of Williams’ arrest, according to court filings provided by prosecutors. “We just didn’t think this soon.”
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Mobley told police she tracked down her birth mother soon after learning the truth, and even called her, but hung up soon after it was answered. She also allegedly told police her birth mother once texted “Happy birthday” to her, but that that was the last communication they’d had.
Mobley, now 19, has continued to defend Williams.
In letters that Mobley and Williams exchanged with each other over the last year, Mobley wrote: “I just want everything to go back to normal,” she said. “I want you home, I need you home.”
Mobley also wrote that “I love you no matter what” and emphasized that “there is nothing or no one who can change that.”
Williams, who remains in Duval County jail, will be sentenced in early May.