The Real Kamiyah Mobley – The Story Behind The Kamiyah Mobley Story

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On Friday, January 18th, Lifetime is revisiting the story of Kamiyah Mobley, one of the most brazen kidnapping stories this country has ever seen.  The movie premieres almost 3 years to the date of Kamiyah’s kidnapper, Gloria Williams being arrested, 18 years after baby Kamiyah is born.  The movie does an amazing job at portraying Kamiyah, Gloria and Kamiyah’s birth mother, Shanara Mobley.  But the story is so much deeper than the film  The real Kamiyah Mobley, who grew up with the name, Alexis Kelly Manigo, has been dealing with so much since she found out about the kidnapping and she has had to deal with this in the public eye.

At the time of the kidnapping, Gloria Willams was 33, and Shanara Mobley was 16 years old.  Gloria told Alexis when she was 16 years old that she had been kidnapped.  Gloria was truthful in explaining to Alexis that her real name was Kamiyah and because of that she could not get a social security number or get a job or ever have a normal life. The secret remained between Gloria and Alexis for 2 more years before the case cracked open.

On January 13, 2017, Gloria Williams was arrested.  Alexis was officially Kamiyah again and was introduced to world.  Shanara Mobley and her family learned that her first born child was in fact alive and well, living in South Carolina. Interestingly enough, to those on the outside looking in at least, Alexis wasn’t as eager to become Kamiyah.  And bigger than that she wasn’t ready to condemn the woman that she had known as her mother for 18 years.

the real Kamiyah Mobley - real Gloria Williams
courtesy: Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office

As you watch the film you probably have more questions about the real Kamiyah Mobley. We’ll try to answer those here:

Was Kamiyah involved in creating the movie?  Was she paid for this?

The Kamiyah Mobley story is told from the point of view of Kamiyah, but she wasn’t involved in the actual storytelling of the film or in the production.  The actress who plays Kamiyah, Rayven Ferrell was able to speak with Kamiyah and get some questions answered, but much of the role was perfected by watching video of Kamiyah from other sources.

I would suspect that Kamiyah was compensated in some way for the film.  Lifetime is also doing a documentary to go along with the movie where Kamiyah goes to see Gloria Williams in the penitentiary for the first time since she has been there.  All that to say that Lifetime is invested in her in some way so she has to be compensated in some way.

The picture below was posted on the Alexis Manigo Facebook page from that prison visit, in December 2019.

the real gloria williams and the real kamiyah mobley

Wasn’t there a movie about Kamiyah Mobley already???

The movie everyone is thinking about is Abducted: The Carlina White Story.  That movie stars Keke Palmer, Sherri Shepherd and Aunjanue Ellis, and looks at the real life 1987 kidnapping of baby Carlina  from Harlem Hospital in New York City.  The movies are completely unrelated besides the fact that a baby was taken.

Didn’t she share her story with Iyanla: Fix My life:
Yes, and it wasn’t pretty.

She later apologized for this outburst.



the real Kamiyah mobley shanara mobley and craig aiken
Kamiyah Mobley with mother Shanara Mobley and father Craig Aiken. (Facebook)

The movie almost portrays Shanara as a villain towards the end because she is at odds with Alexis’s decision to stand by Gloria.  Was she really that combative?
I didn’t necessarily agree with the portrayal when I watched the movie.  It felt unnecessary to the overall story, BUT, there may be some truth to it.

In a 2018 exclusive interview with The Florida Times-Union, Shanara was pretty straight up with how she felt about the whole situation.

The story explains:

“On Mother’s Day 2017, four months after Mobley learned her daughter was alive, her daughter sent two Mother’s Days cards to a Duval County jail where Williams was being held pending the outcome of her case. She didn’t send one to Mobley.

Same thing this year. No card. No call. Not even a text message.

Mobley has now blocked her daughter from contacting her by cell phone. “I don’t deal with disrespect,” she said through tears. “I wish they never would have found her.””

The Real Shanara Mobley
Shanara Mobley (Facebook)

The understanding is that there is a bit of a happy medium between Kamiyah and Shanara, but her daughter still chooses to go by the name Alexis Manigo, even on social media.  When she is with Shanara they use the name Kamiyah, but when she is around her South Carolina family, she continues to go by the name Alexis.  She continues to live out of Gloria Williams’ home as well.

Shanara did sue the hospital for oversight and lax security after the kidnapping. She was awarded $1.2 million, a small amount for the all the years of pain and suffering.


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