The teenager snatched from a hospital when she was a newborn 18 years ago says she still loves the woman who allegedly took her when she was just hours old.
“I love her,” 18-year-old Alexis Manigo told Inside Edition.
She came to the defense of the accused kidnapper, Gloria Williams, who appeared in court in Jacksonville, Florida, Wednesday. They speak by phone every day, despite Williams being in jail.
“She did raise me, she did love me; for that I see now fault in her,” the teenager said. “She loves me. She loved me for 18 years. She took care of me for 18 years. I am just not going to let that go down the drain.”
When asked what it is like to see her mom in custody, she said: "It hurts, but I am dealing with it.”
She added: "I don’t think she should be thrown away like some animal."
Manigo said she had a “fantastic” and “normal” life while living with Williams, who she believed to be her mother.
“She was loving, she was gentle,” the teenager said. "It is so many ways to describe her, you can’t even think of one word. She is fantastic."
“We are getting to know each other," Manigo said of her birth parents, with whom she reunited over the weekend. "We are moving forward."
While she is learning about her biological family, Manigo says she will still recognize Williams as her mother.
“I have two moms. It will have its challenges, but I am learning how to balance it out,” she declared.