Teen kidnapped at birth speaks out: 'She will always be my mom'

ABC News Exclusive
The South Carolina teenager who learned she was kidnapped at birth shared her thoughts about the only mother she's ever known and what she thinks should happen to that woman.

"She will always be mom," Alexis Manigo said.

A bombshell secret turned 18-year-old Manigo's world upside down. DNA testing revealed Alexis was Baby Kamiyah, who was snatched from a Florida hospital in 1998 when she was just 8 hours old.

"Your whole life you have been known as, Alexis, Lexi you know and then now it's like people are referring to you as someone else, nationally," Manigo said.

The woman she calls mom, 51-year-old Gloria Williams, is facing charges for her kidnapping.

ABC's Eva Pilgrim: Have you even had a chance amidst all of that chaos to sit by yourself and think about what's really going on right now?
Manigo: It's not so much that I haven't want? You know what it is that I don't want to. But I know it's gonna come.
Pilgrim: Why do you think you're waiting?
Manigo: Stuff like this does not happen, it just doesn't.
Pilgrim: You're the one.
Manigo: I don't want to be.

After years of hoping and waiting, her biological parents made the trip to South Carolina and Alexis met them for the first time.

Manigo: I do feel like I owe them that to give them a chance. You know get to know them.
Pilgrim: Do you think about what your life could have been like?
Manigo: I'm not saying they weren't going to be good parents. I'm not saying that at all, it would have been a different life. When you find out you got another family out there, it's just more love.

Manigo openly sobbed in court seeing her mom, who is now behind bars.

"That hurt they had her in cuffs, she's a gentle woman," Manigo said.

"These things shouldn't happen and they should never happen and when they do everyone's life is turned upside down," said Justin Bamberg, Manigo's attorney.

Bamberg said they will look into what legal options she has going forward, but they also have to focus on the basics.

"Driver's license, social security number, birth certificate. The basic documents that someone needs to be an adult in America in 2017," Bamberg said.

But Manigo said she forgives her mom.

Manigo: From that one mistake I was given the best life. I was. I had everything I ever needed, wanted. I had love especially.
Pilgrim: If you could have it your way? What would you like to see happen?
Manigo: I understand what she did was wrong, but just don't lock her up and throw away the key like everything she did was just awful. She loved me for 18 years, she cared for me for 18 years

Manigo couldn't tell us how she found out, out of concern that anything she says could be used against her mother.

Pilgrim: Do you feel like you have to protect her?
Manigo: You feel obligated to protect them anyways possible. You can't just say oh they did something wrong... Let me just forget about them and move on, it's not that easy at all.
Pilgrim: Even though she did what she did?
Manigo: I will always love her.

Manigo said she stills talks to her mom daily. She's waiting to find out when she can see her again.
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