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Baby stolen from hospital found alive and well 18 years later

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A newborn girl stolen from a Florida hospital 18 years ago has been found alive in South Carolina, where police accused the woman who raised her of kidnapping.

DNA analysis identified the young woman, who never knew that her birth name was Kamiyah Mobley, said Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams.

She is in good health but understandably overwhelmed, he said.

Police arrested 51-year-old Gloria Williams, of Walterboro, South Carolina, on charges of kidnapping and interference with custody.

The sheriff said the woman's birth family is rejoicing, but how and when to reconnect with them is up to the young woman.

She was only eight hours old when she was taken by a woman posing as a nurse from University Medical Centre in 1998.

"She's taking it as well as you can imagine. She has a lot to process," Mr Williams said. "I can't even begin to comprehend it."

A massive search ensued after she was taken as a baby, with helicopters circling the hospital and the city on high alert.

Thousands of tips came in over the years, but authorities apparently had no clue where she was.

All that time, police said, she was being raised under a different name in Walterboro.

Then, some months ago, the young woman "had an inclination" that she may have been kidnapped, the sheriff said.

The National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children contacted the cold case detectives at the sheriff's office.

Ms Mobley provided a swab of her cheek for DNA analysis that proved the match, the sheriff said.

Her birth family never forgot what had happened.

Her mother, Shanara Mobley, told the Florida Times-Union newspaper on the 10th anniversary of the kidnapping that on every one of Ms Mobley's birthdays, she wrapped a piece of cake in foil.

"It's stressful to wake up every day, knowing that your child is out there and you have no way to reach her or talk to her," she told the paper in 2008.

The sheriff said he does not know when Ms Mobley might contact her birth family.

She is only beginning a process of coming to terms with the fact that her true identity was stolen from her, he said.

"She's 18, an adult and clearly a victim in this case," Mr Williams said. "A case like we have not seen in this country for a long time."