UPDATE: Gloria Williams will be testifying at 10:30 a.m. Friday and will be live streamed on firstcoastnews.com
Shanara Mobley, mother of Kamiyah Mobley, who was kidnapped in 1998, gave an emotion-filled statement during the sentencing of her child's kidnapper, Gloria Williams. Mobley said she would recommend the death penalty if she could.
Immediately, she was tearful as she recounted what happened to her and her firstborn all those years ago. Mobley was just 16 when Kamiyah was born.
Sentencing Hearing Still underway: click here for the live video.
"It was like God was giving me another chance to straight up, and I had a reason to," said Mobley. She said that as a teenager she was running away from home and was having fun but one day she woke up and she just didn't want to do those things anymore.
It wasn't until a couple of weeks later that she found out she was pregnant, she said.
"They say people don't change overnight, but that's not true," she said. "I just wanted to do better, I wanted to stop running."
When Kamiyah was born and handed to her mother two decades ago, Mobley remembers how she looked. "She was so beautiful. I just couldn't wait to take her home, to dress her up and show her off."
But she never got the chance as Gloria Williams, dressed as a nurse, came into the room and took Kamiyah to have her temperature taken, according to Mobley. She said Williams spent hours with her and the baby.
"She was real nice, I trusted her," she said, "Oh my god, that woman touched me."
Mobley said when Williams picked up Kamiyah, she smiled at her,
"She preyed on a child because I was young, she preyed on a child and took my child," said Mobley.
She recounted the moments of panic she felt when she realized that Kamiyah was not supposed to be taken from the room. She said she threw herself to the ground in an attempt to try and find Williams and her newborn. She said she crawled along the floor, "I'm screaming and I'm hollering and cussing."
The days and months that followed the incident were hard on Mobley mentally. She said she had nightmares and was self-medicating.
"Thinking about suicide every day, people watching me all day every day, no one was leaving me unattended." She said.
Even after almost 20 years, Mobley said the wounds feel fresh. "It doesn't heal now, I am still hurting. When you're reaching out to my child -- I am your mother Kamiyah," she shouted into the courtroom. "I am your mother!"
Mobley said it hurts her to see that Kamiyah has Williams' number in her phone as 'mommy.'
"I always thought about my baby every day, every day, every day. I would catch myself in my car crying, in bed crying, taking a bath crying, doing something with her siblings and crying." Mobley said those around her always knew where her sadness came from.
Mobley never forgot about Kamiyah. She said every year she would celebrate her birthday and buy her a cake which she would store in the freezer for months, sometimes a whole year.
She saved it because she was hoping Kamiyah would come home. "I could show it to her."
Mobley said all her kids have a special place in her heart, but she could never replace her missing child.
“Having kids to me was like a drug like, you always try to go back and reach that high but when I was having my babies -- when you hold your babies in your arms, oh my god, I was just so happy to bring them home," Mobley said. "I just got to the point where nothing was going to replace her."
As a mother, Mobley said she always knew Kamiyah was alive.
"I’m a real mother and you can always feel -- when those mothers get those calls in the middle of the night or they get a knock on the door they already know, I never got that feeling.” And when she was told Kamiyah was alive and safe, Mobley said it was one of the happiest days of her life.
"I seen me, like I walked into a room and it was just mirrors, I just seen me, I mean she don’t look like me, but everything about her is me. Everything. Everything about her is me, she look at me she was like," Mobley looks at her arm, back up at her lawyer then back down, "She kept looking at me like 'ma, that’s where I get all that hair from,' yeah your mama, the tone in her voice is me, her walk, everything just me.”
Mobley said she would recommend the death penalty if she could, but she recommends the full 22 years that Williams is facing. “Because I need her away from my child. I need her far away, where she can’t contact my baby. Where my baby can’t even get to her.”
The years Kamiyah was gone were taken from Mobley but she said she is looking to the future.
“I missed the first walk, the first word, graduating, prom, I missed all that, but I always try to look at it like life is a positive to a negative. When she get pregnant, I get to be the grandma, when she graduates college I get to be there. The future has so much to offer us now.”
Williams was mostly expressionless through Mobley's testimony though she did wipe her eyes a few times with a tissue.
When Williams' attorney began to question her, Mobley's attitude shifted noticeably. She answered carefully and with attitude. "I just don't understand why he is trying to attack the victim," she said.
Mobley said she cannot get those 18 years back that were taken from her and her daughter.
“I’m still drained from this. She tarnished my character. People are going to think what they’re going to think because she done that," she said. "She’s not sorry, so why should we have mercy on her soul?”