Local/State

Raleigh connection to baby kidnapping?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

According to a report in Thursday's New York Post, a woman who raised a baby snatched from a Harlem hospital 23 years ago lives in Raleigh.

The Post quotes a source who said the US Justice Department will pursue the case against the woman the newspaper identified as Ann Pettway - who is apparently known by several aliases.

The paper said under federal law, there is no statute of limitations for kidnapping charges if the victim was under 18 and is still alive.

Pettway has not been charged with kidnapping Carlina White. She told a Post reporter she would travel to New York to "straighten this all out."

ABC11 has attempted to contact 44-year-old Pettway - who White knew as Agnotta Pettway - for comment on this story, but she has not returned phone messages.

A search of North Carolina records shows Pettway is currently serving probation in Wake County for an attempted embezzlement conviction in June 2010.

According to ABC News, White was taken from Harlem Hospital's emergency room by a woman wearing a nurse's uniform on August 4, 1987.

White's parents - Joy White and Carl Tyson - took their feverish baby daughter to the hospital when she was just 9 days old.

The family says a mystery woman who had been hanging around the hospital for weeks disguised as a nurse was responsible for the kidnapping.

A $10,000 reward was offered for the safe return of the baby girl, but years passed without her return. The parents never gave up hope. They took the money won in a lawsuit from the city and established a trust fund for their daughter in the event of her return.

Carlina was taken to Bridgeport, Conn., and, later, Atlanta where she was given a new name, Nejdra Nance, and was raised by a new family, unaware for 23 years that her biological family was actually in New York City.

Click here to watch the Post's interview with Carlina White

"Nejdra Nance was very suspicious of who she was and what family raised her," Lt. Christopher Zimmerman of the New York Police Department said. "There was no paperwork to follow her such as a birth certificate or social security card. In her late teens she became suspicious of who she was."

When Carlina White was unable to get a driver's license and saw no biological resemblance to the people she was living with, she grew suspicious.

"She said she just had a feeling, she felt different from the people raising her," Carlina White's maternal grandmother, Elizabeth White, told the Associated Press.

Carlina White decided to take matters into her own hands.

She began looking at web sites for missing children, including the National Center For Missing and Exploited Children. Searching for her birth year, she spotted a photo of a baby along with a composite of how the child would look at 19.

The photos looked eerily similar to the baby photos Carlina White had at the house where she was living in Georgia.

Carlina White called the center's hotline and said, "I don't know who I am."

The photo connected her to Joy White.

Lisa White said that her sister, Joy White, knew from the photo that Carlina was the baby that was snatched from her so many years ago.

"My sister Joy called me and it made me so happy, she said, 'Lisa guess what, they may have found Carlina.' I was like, 'Are you kidding me?' She said, 'yes I'm going to send you these pictures of Carlina.' And I said, 'send them to me,' and she sent them and she said, 'Lisa, that is mini-me. That is me, I know that's my daughter,'" Lisa White said.

Carlina White, who is now a mother of her a 5-year-old little girl named Samani, met with her biological family last weekend.

"It was wonderful, she didn't even seem like a stranger, she just fit right in," Elizabeth White told the Associated Press. "We all went up there, we had dinner together, her aunts were there. She brought her beautiful daughter. It was magic."

After returning to Georgia, Carlina White flew back to New York late last night.

"I'm just so happy she's back. I said, 'you're going to get so many hugs! You're going to be sick of us.' She said, 'you know what, I never had hugs like that.' I'm just happy she's back. Thank you God thank you Jesus. I don't want her to ever go back I want her to stay here," Lisa White said.

(With information from The New York Post and ABC News. ABC News writers Andrea Canning and Jessica Hopper contributed to this article)

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wake county, kidnapping, local/state
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