A DAD has been left heartbroken after learning the girl he raised as his own child for 18 years had actually been abducted as a baby by his ex.
Charles Manigo found out Kamiyah, 18, was not his biological daughter when former girlfriend Gloria Williams, 51, was arrested last week over the 1998 abduction.
It is believed Williams suffered a miscarriage a week before she drove from her home in Walterboro, South Carolina over the border to Florida where she kidnapped the girl from a hospital.
She and Charles raised Kamiyah, who they called Alexis Kelly Manigo, together form a child into adulthood, even sharing custody after they split in 2003.
"She was the love of my life," Manigo said.
"One of the hardest things she said on Friday was, 'Dad I love you,' even though she knows what's going on.
"She's still my child. I understand what's going on, but she's still my child."
Kamiyah was reunited with her blood parents for the first time last Saturday, ABC News reported, posing with them at Colleton County Jail where Williams is being held on kidnap charges.
Real parents Shanara Mobley and Craig Aiken, who are no longer a couple, smiled with their daughter in a touching selfie after chatting for over an hour.
Aiken, 41, said: "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."
Aiken, whose wife Shannon was at the reunion, said they decided to gloss over the kidnapping for now and focus on getting to know each other.
"We laughed, we chatted, we didn't allow any negative thoughts. We didn't talk about the kidnapping," he told Dailymail.com.
The 1998 kidnapping from the University Medical Centre in Jacksonville, Florida sparked public outcry in the US.
Last Friday Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams said DNA analysis identified confirmed an 18-year-old living in South Carolina under the name Alexis Manigo was the kidnapped youngster.
Cops arrested 51-year-old Gloria Williams of Walterboro, South Carolina, on charges of kidnapping and interference with custody.
In court Kamiyah shared an emotional goodbye with the woman who raised her saying "I love you mum!"
In a Facebook post she added: "My mother raised me with everything I needed and most of all everything I wanted.
"The ignorant ones won't understand it. My mother is no felon."
Williams, who has two biological children, is accused of posing as a nurse and stealing the baby girl, wrapped in a pink and blue blanket.
Kamiyah's grandmother, Velma Aiken, 66, told Associated Press: "She looks just like her daddy.
"She acts like she been talking to us all the time. She told us she'd be here soon to see us."
Neighbours were reportedly shocked to discover Kamiyah's true identity, never having suspected she was not Williams' daughter.
Joseph Jenkins said: "She wasn't an abused child or a child who got in trouble. But she grew up with a lie for 18 years."
One year after Kamiyah vanished, police had more than 2,000 leads and offered a $250,000 (£204,000) reward.
The case was even featured on America's Most Wanted, but until now all leads ran dry.
The break came from a tip to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Cops found an 18-year-old with Kamiyah's birth date but a different name – established using fraudulent documents.
A DNA test confirmed that the teenager was Kamiyah.
The Sheriff said she is in "good health".
Williams could face up to life in prison if convicted.
Source: Read Full Article