Carlina White Reunites With Her Family 23 Years After She Was Kidnapped From Hospital
Monday, January 24, 2011 at 10:32 am
|Carlina White was just 19 days old when she was kidnapped from a Harlem hospital|
But when she returned the next morning, Carlina had disappeared. Police believe someone posing as a nurse entered the hospital and snatched her away.
The case would soon go cold. All Joy had was a picture to remember her daughter by. But 16 years later, Carlina herself would begin to think that she might have been raised by the wrong family.
She grew up in Bridgeport, Connecticut under the name Nejdra Nance, and was raised by a woman named Cassandra Pettway. Her mom was dope addict and abusive, often leaving her alone to care for a little brother.
On her 16th birthday, she began having doubts about her mother. She wrote Oprah for help in finding her real family, but nothing came of it. She would have to wait until two years later, when she became pregnant, until she finally found the truth. When she asked for background paperwork, her fake mom confessed to not being her real mother.
Over the next few years, she would surf missing children websites for clues, and would eventually move to Atlanta. But it wasn't until December that she contacted a missing children site for help.
They were able to narrow her case down to three abductions -- one involving the 1987 Harlem kidnapping. She submitted a DNA sample, as did Joy and her former husband. Detectives came up with a match.
The family has already reunited. Police, meanwhile, are still investigating her abduction. A relative has already confessed that Pettway raised Carlina, but police are still uncertain who stole the baby from the hospital, or if someone else raised the girl in her younger years before she can remember. (Special thanks to Pennsylvania Bureau Chief Captain America for the tip.)
She decided to make it easy on detectives by violating probation in North Carolina. Pettway was serving a two-year-stint on probation for an attempted embezzlement, which meant she couldn't leave the state without permission. But when she bolted to Connecticut, it made it easy for cops to keep their prime suspect incarcerated.
On Saturday, a pawn shop employee identified her from pictures in the news. The woman had come into the store to ask about pawning jewelry. But by the time police arrived, Pettway was gone.
All of the coverage seemed to have subdued her instincts to flee, however. She turned herself in to Bridgeport police yesterday morning by contacting an officer through Facebook.
In the meantime, the daughter she apparently stole appears to be a replacement child after Pettway lost her own baby in 1987. Detectives now believe she stole Carlina and moved to Bridgeport to raise her. But as Carlina aged, she became suspicious when her mother could never provide her with a birth certificate.
She began searching missing children sites for kids who had disappeared in 1987. That's when she stumbled across the photo of the baby taken from a Harlem hospital. The picture of the child looked just like her own daughter.
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