Kamiyah Mobley said she will "always" love the woman who is now charged with her abduction

By Char Adams
January 18, 2017 08:32 AM

Kamiyah Mobley, the 18-year-old who was abducted as a newborn from a Florida hospital, is defending the woman who raised her for nearly two decades.

“She loved me for 18 years. She raised me for 18 years … I will always love her,” Mobley said of her alleged abductor, Gloria Williams, during an interview with ABC News.

Mobley, who identified herself as “Alexis,” was just hours old when authorities say a woman posing as a health care worker took her from a Jacksonville, Florida, hospital in July 1998. On Friday, officials said at a news conference that Mobley had been found in Walterboro, South Carolina, living under a false identity apparently created for her following her abduction.

Jacksonville Sheriff's Office(2)

Williams was arrested Friday and charged with first-degree kidnapping and third-degree interference with custody, prosecutors said — a fate Mobley said may be too harsh.

• For more on Kamiyah Mobley’s abduction, pick up a copy of this week’s issue of PEOPLE magazine, on newsstands Friday

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“From that one mistake, I was given the best life. I was. I had everything I ever needed, wanted. I had love especially,” Mobley said of her life in South Carolina. “I understand what she did was wrong but just don’t lock her up and throw away the key like everything she did was just awful.”

The 18-year-old burst in to tears in court when she saw her mother behind bars.

“That did hurt that they had her in cuffs. She’s a gentle woman,” Mobley said.

Kamiyah Mobley

Mobley met her biological parents — father Craig Aiken and mother Shanara Mobley — for the first time on Saturday at the Walterboro Police Department, WCSC reported. It was a meeting Mobley says they deserved.

“I feel like I do owe them that, to give them a chance, you know? Get to know them,” Mobley said. “I’m not saying they weren’t going to be good parents. I’m not saying that at all. But it would have been a different life.”

She added: “When you find out you’ve got another family out there, it’s just more love.”

Kamiyah Mobley, Kidnapped at Birth, Discovered Her True Identity Two Years ago, Half Sister Reveals

Mobley’s disappearance made national headlines in 1998, and the unsolved hospital abduction continued to garnered attention over the years. Mobley said that being in the spotlight now has been “overwhelming.”

“Your whole life you’ve been known as ‘Alexis,’ ‘Lexi,’ you know?” she told ABC. “Now it’s like people are referring to you as someone else, nationally.”

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In the wake of Mobley’s discovery, Charles Manigo, who Mobley believed to be her father, opened up to ABC News about the harsh reality of the situation.

However, a Facebook post on a page that appears to be that of the abduction victim says Manigo “did nothing” as a father figure.