JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Alexis Manigo, who was born Kamiyah Mobley, is preparing to make some major personal decisions as she rebuilds her life.
Manigo was kidnapped from a Jacksonville hospital when she was a newborn.
The 19-year-old recently spoke to a newspaper reporter in Walterboro, South Carolina, where she was raised by the woman charged in her kidnapping.
“To me, (Manigo) was remarkably together and thoughtful (in) what she's facing,” said Jennifer Hawes, who writes for the daily newspaper, The Post and Courier.
Hawes told News4Jax on FaceTime Monday night that it took a while to catch up with Manigo and interview her, but that’s because Manigo is constantly traveling, alternately spending time with her family in South Carolina and her family in Jacksonville.
“She's trying to juggle a lot of people, who, I think, she wants to spend time with and is excited to, but (she) also feels torn because she doesn't want to be abandoning the people who love her here, but she's also excited to know her family there,” Hawes said.
Manigo spent Thanksgiving with her birth parents and family in Jacksonville, Hawes said.
During her stay, the woman who police said kidnapped Manigo at birth, Gloria Williams, appeared in court. Hawes said Manigo didn't go to the hearing.
“She and Gloria talk on the phone frequently and I got the impression that that was really more where their connection was, rather than seeing each other across the courtroom for a couple of minutes,” Hawes said.
While Manigo is enjoying time with both families, a legal mess has been following her everywhere.
Right now, she can't get a job, go to college or drive, since she does not have a valid identification card or Social Security number.
“She said that she would definitely consider moving down there and going to college down there, if she can get a job,” Hawes said. “I think what she really wants is to be independent and to be able to support herself and have her own place.”
Perhaps one of the biggest decisions looms ahead: which name she will choose.
“Having to pick between two choices is going to make someone disappointed,” Hawes said. “And she doesn't want that. … It's not that she doesn't want to be either one of those people. It's just (hard determining) how to pick or how to find a way to combine them, and I think she's pretty torn on which one she wants to do.”
Hawes said Manigo is well aware that the woman who raised her did something wrong when she kidnapped her at birth.
It appeared to cause Manigo a lot of pain to talk about or even think about any of that, because, as she told Hawes, she loves the woman who raised her and doesn't want to see Williams suffer, or not be part of her life.
Click here to read Hawes' entire story for The Post and Courier.