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Carlina White Abduction: A Miracle Reunion Falls Apart in Beef Over Money

By Pete Kotz in cold cases, kidnapping
Monday, February 14, 2011 at 1:47 pm
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It promised to be the feel-good story of the year. But since this is America, it's now fallen apart in a dispute over our one true God: money. Last month, we brought you the tale of Carlina White. In 1987, when she was just 19 days old, she was abducted from the Harlem hospital...

Police say that over the next 23 years, her name was changed to Nejdra Nance, and she was raised by a woman named Cassandra Pettway. But Carlina always thought something was wrong with her relationship with Pettway, and that she may not be her real daughter.

It would take years of questioning and digging. But in December, she finally discovered that she'd been kidnapped as a child, and that her real parents were Joy White and Carl Tyson.

Their joyous reunion would be celebrated by the nation last month. Yet it wasn't to last. Joy says Carlina stayed just four days in New York before going back to Georgia. The problem, quite naturally, involves money.

In 1992, Joy and Carl reached a $750,000 settlement with the hospital over their baby's abduction. By then they were separated. So they each took $163,000 to use for their new families, and put the rest in the bank to save for Carlina when she reached the age of 21.

But that year came and went, so the parents naturally spent the rest of the money. Joy lives in an impoverished Bronx neighborhood and needed the money to raise her other two children, she says. Carl was raising a family as well. But it appears Carlina believed she was entitled to the loot.

Joy says she's spoken infrequently with Carlina since she moved back South. And the only time Carlina calls is to ask about money.

There may still be something left. There was a $10,000 reward for any clues leading to the capture of her kidnappers. But it's unclear whether that money will be paid, since the clues came directly from the victim.

Carlina's also stopped doing media interviews unless she gets paid.

"I'm disappointed because this was a miracle that happened," Joy told the Today show. "And it really hurts me that it's about money."

See our original story: Carlina White Reunites With Family 23 Years After She Was Kidnapped From Hospital.

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