JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – There are so many dynamics in the case of Kamiyah Mobley; from what prompted her kidnapping 18 years ago, to the family dynamics that now affect her and more.
News4Jax spoke with forensic psychologist Dr. Stephen Bloomfield about what would lead someone to take a baby from a hospital, and also discussed the unprecedented family dynamics Mobley now finds herself in the middle of -- all while under the media microscope.
Bloomfield has dealt with numerous criminal cases throughout his career, but says Mobley’s case may be the most unique.
That case started in 1998, when investigators said Gloria Williams posed as a nurse in what is now UF Health Jacksonville.
“I remember the news coverage of it at that time,” Bloomfield said. “People wondering what happened. There’s a lot of speculation that she couldn’t have a baby herself. There is actually some literature on women who are unable or are unsuccessful in becoming pregnant kidnapping, abducting.”
Bloomfield said it’s almost impossible to know what was going through Williams’ mind at that point, but he believes that Mobley’s birth mother, Shanara Mobley, who was only a teenager at the time, was targeted.
“It seems pretty clear, although I have not investigated, that she chose a vulnerable mother,” Bloomfield said. “Mother was 15 and a half years (old), 16, very young, and maybe didn’t have a lot of support people around her while she had just given birth. So there seemed to be a certain amount of intentionality.”
Now, 18 years later, a young adult is caught between a biological family who wants to know her and a woman who until just days ago she knew as her mother.
“There are two families. The family that lost the child and the family that raised the child with the woman who abducted her,” Bloomfield said. “So the first thing we need to remember about Kamiyah, (and) everyone around her has to keep thinking about, is her incredible resilience. She has to be resilient.”
Bloomfield said that becoming an instant celebrity in the middle of this adds to the need for resilience, and said that Mobley will need an advocate of some sort to help her navigate the criminal case, family drama and media spotlight all at the same time.
“People are going to be wanting her to do a lot of things,” Bloomfield said. “Both her family as well as the general public, as well as everyone else, that wants to know what was going on. She needs somebody, not a therapist. She needs someone, whether it’s the clergy, or the center for missing and exploited children, or a therapist.”
Bloomfield reminds us that since Mobley, or Alexis Manigo, which she’s been known as since she was taken to South Carolina, is an adult and that there are no custody issues in the case. She will eventually be the one to decide how much of the family roles play out.