JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The recent discovery of her true identity will undoubtedly have an enormous impact on the teenager who was taken from a Jacksonville hospital as a newborn in 1998 and raised by a woman who she believed to be her biological mother, a forensic psychologist said Friday.
But the psychology behind what happened and why in the unprecedented case is much less certain, according to Dr. Stephen Bloomfield.
Bloomfield said that Kamiyah Mobley, who grew up under the name Alexis Manigo, will need a lot of help to process the last 18 years of her life after learning that Gloria Williams, who she thought was her mother, has been charged with her kidnapping.
"She's going to wonder why it happened to her. Was it something she did? Which is not true. She was just an infant," Bloomfield said.
Even highly trained professionals will have a hard time helping the young woman, who had no idea that she had been abducted as a baby, Bloomfield said.
"There’s no model," he said. "Even her name, she had a name when she was abducted."
And it's not just Mobley who is impacted. Bloomfield said her biological family will also need help.
"You have a family that experienced loss and now this person comes back into their life."
Bloomfield added that Williams' family may also need help understanding why police say she took the baby and passed her as her own.
He said the case is so unprecedented that even the normal rules of engaging it from a psychological standpoint don't even apply.
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What might Mobley be experiencing? It’s hard to even fathom.
Although the case is unique, crime victims often have some similar and serious needs, said Cam Brown, the communications director for the Justice Coalition, which is one of the leading victims’ advocate groups in Northeast Florida.
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“I was dumbfounded,” said Brown, of Friday’s big news. “I saw it on your (site) and I was dumbfounded, because I do remember it.”
Brown said she felt surprised and relieved.
When victims’ advocates work with people affected by crime, Brown said, they need things to do and action to take.
Brown also believes work to keep a missing person’s case alive helps the victims as well as investigators.
“You don’t forget those kind of things,” Brown said. “So what we do is, we help the public remember these children are still missing, so it just takes a few tips sometimes.”
Mobley is now trying to understand the new reality of her upbringing. Brown said victims' advocates all over will cheer Friday's news.
“We really have the time and heart and compassion to hold their hand and to grieve with (them),” Brown said. “(And) to celebrate with them. So if this were the case, we would be celebrating today for sure.”