Carlina White Biography
Carlina White is an American woman who solved her own kidnapping case and was reunited with her biological parents 23 years.
She had been abducted as an infant from the Harlem Hospital Center in New York City. The case represents the longest known gap in a non-parental abduction where the victim was reunited with the family in the United States. For years, Carlina was living with a woman she thought was her mother, who was in fact her kidnapper. She was portrayed by Keke Palmer in the Lifetime film Abducted: The Carlina White Story.
Carlina White Age
Carlina was born in July 15, 1987. She is 31 years as of 2018.
Carlina White Daughter
Carlina Whites daughter is called Samani White.
Carlina White Abduction
Carlina was 19 days old when her parents, Joy White and Carl Tyson, took her to the hospital with a fever of 104 °F (40.0 °C) on August 4, 1987. Carlina swallowed fluid during her delivery and had an infection. A woman reportedly dressed as a nurse had comforted the parents at the hospital, but was not a hospital employee. The kidnapper had been seen around the hospital for three weeks prior to the abduction.
The baby disappeared during the early morning, around 2 am when the shifts were changing. The hospital’s video surveillance at the time was not working. They had no way of knowing what the woman in white looked like except for the description given by Joy White and Carl Tyson. The baby had been receiving intravenous antibiotics when, between 2:30 am and 3:55 am, someone removed the IV line and abducted her.
A guard said a woman matching the suspect’s description left the hospital at 3:30 am and that no infant was visible, although the baby could have been concealed in the heavyset woman’s smock.
It was the first case of infant abduction from a New York hospital. A $10,000 reward was offered by the city of New York in 1987 for the return of Carlina. The flyers with the baby’s picture were distributed nationwide but ther was no success in locating her. Her parents filed a $100 million suit against the hospital in 1989 and obtained a $750,000 settlement in 1993. Carlina’s parents separated the year after the abduction and remarried.
Carlina White Life as Nejdra Nance
Carlina White was raised as Nejdra “Netty” Nance by Annugetta “Ann” Pettway in Bridgeport, Connecticut, just 45 miles from where her parents had lived. She attended Thomas Hooker School and graduated from Warren Harding High School in Bridgeport. Pettway and White later moved to Atlanta, Georgia. During her teens White grew suspicious that Pettway was not her birth mother, because of her inability to provide a birth certificate.
When White was pregnant with her daughter in 2005, she requested Pettway to obtain her birth certificate so she could get health insurance. Pettway acquired a forged Connecticut birth certificate, which White attempted to use as proof of identity so she could obtain the health insurance, but the officials told her the document was forged.
In a state of shock later that evening, White confronted Pettway, who broke down and confessed that she was not White’s biological mother. It was entirely surprising to reveal to White as she had begun to notice that she did not share physical traits with Pettway. The kidnapper lied and told White that she had been abandoned by a drug addict.
White turned to sites such as the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at age 23, where she found that the images of the kidnapped Carlina resembled infant pictures of herself as Nejdra and those of her daughter, Samani. White contacted the center’s hotline and was able to contact her birth family. Test of DNA confirmed in January 2011 that she was in fact the missing Carlina White.
Carlina White Investigation and legal proceedings
In 1987, New York City Police Department detectives questioned a woman in Baltimore, who witnesses had identified as having been seen in the hospital, without apparent result.
When Nejdra Nance was confirmed to really be Carlina White, the Federal Bureau of Investigation began a search for Ann Pettway. The statute of limitations for the state kidnapping law had expired in New York, but there is no statute of limitations for the federal law on kidnapping. They issued an arrest warrant for Ann Pettway was issued by the North Carolina Department of Correction on January 21, 2011, for violating her probation from a conviction for attempted embezzlement.
White stated, “I just hope that the officials be able to get her in their hands, so we can just hear her side of the story now.” On the morning of January 23, 2011, Pettway turned herself in to the FBI office at Bridgeport. She had driven from North Carolina to Connecticut to arrange for her biological son to be taken care of. Pettway told federal investigators that she kidnapped White after enduring several miscarriages because of the stress over whether “she would ever be able to be a parent.”
Pettway did not enter a plea at her arraignment at the U.S. District Court for Southern New York in Manhattan, where she faced between 20 years and life in prison for kidnapping. A federal grand jury indicted Pettway on the kidnapping charge on February 17, 2011.
Pettway pleaded guilty on February 10, 2012, to a federal kidnapping charge. Prosecutors agreed to recommend to the judge a prison sentence of 10 to 12½ years as part of a plea bargain. Judge P. Kevin Castel sentenced Pettway, who was then 50 years old, to 12 years in prison on July 30, 2012.
Carlina White Aftermath
After being reunited with her biological parents, Carlina White’s attorney advised her to ask them about the cash settlement from the hospital. Joy White and Carl Tyson both confirmed that most of this money had been spent during the years before their reunion. Also that a trust fund that had been established was only obtainable if Carlina had been found before the age of 21. The mother later stated that there had been a falling out over the issue of the money.
Robert Baum the Public defender said that he met Carlina White during preparations for Ann Pettway’s trial and that White agreed to testify on Pettway’s behalf in May 2011. White became estranged from her biological parents by the following July. However, several months later, she contacted both of her biological parents individually, having had a bit more time to process the situation; she later publicly stated that the issue over settlement funds was “just a misunderstanding.”
While “Carlina White” is her legal name, as it appears on official documents, she says that she will continue to go by “Netty” in public, since technically, it was neither the name her biological parents gave her, nor the name given to her by the woman who raised her, but rather is “[the name] I gave myself.”
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