HARTFORD, Conn. -- A North Carolina woman who raised a child kidnapped 23 years ago from a New York hospital surrendered to authorities on a parole violation charge Sunday, days after a widely publicized reunion between the biological mother and the daughter taken from her as a baby.
Ann Pettway surrendered Sunday morning to the FBI and
Bridgeport, Conn., police on a warrant from North Carolina, FBI
supervisory special agent William Reiner said.
North Carolina officials said Friday they believed Pettway was
on the run from authorities. Correction officials had tried
repeatedly to contact Pettway after finding out investigators
wanted to question her in the 1987 abduction of the infant, Carlina
White, who's now grown and has reunited with her long-lost family.
The Department of Correction said Sunday it will seek Pettway's
extradition to North Carolina.
White had long suspected Pettway wasn't her biological mother
because she could never provide her with a birth certificate. No
suspects were ever identified in White's disappearance from Harlem
Hospital in New York. White is now 23 years old and has been living
under the name Nejdra Nance in Bridgeport and in the Atlanta area.
Her biological family says it believes Pettway was the
Her parents, Joy White and Carl Tyson, said a woman who looked
like a nurse had comforted them at the hospital. The girl was just
19 days old and had been admitted in the middle of the night with a
high fever. Her parents left the hospital to rest and found she was
missing when they came back.
Nance would periodically check the website of the National
Center for Missing and Exploited Children, looking through photos
of missing infants in Connecticut, she told the New York Post. She
left Connecticut for Atlanta years ago and has a 5-year-old
daughter of her own, her family said. Her family said she worked as
a dispatcher and hoped to have a modeling career.
On Jan. 4, Nance checked the website again, but this time she
searched through New York's missing children and saw a baby photo
that looked nearly identical to hers, police said. She contacted
the site, which contacted Joy White. The two exchanged photos and
talked. After a DNA test, it was all confirmed.
White and her family met Nance before the DNA test was confirmed
because she was sure Nance was her child. Nance was in New York
recently with her daughter but returned to Atlanta.
After the DNA test results came back Wednesday, Nance returned
to New York and was with her mother at a hotel.
Authorities are considering whether federal investigators should
take the case because the statute of limitations may have expired
in New York, New York Police Department chief spokesman Paul Browne
said. There is no limitation in federal missing-children cases.
A woman who lives near Pettway in North Carolina, Sonova Smith,
said Pettway mentioned that she had a daughter in Connecticut but
had moved to Raleigh with her son. Smith and Pettway both had
teenage sons who would often play together, and Smith said her
neighbor seemed to be a good mother.
"She was friendly. She was kind. She loved her son," Smith
said. "We talked about our boys often. She talked about family.
So, it's just really been surprising."
Suspect in 1987 Kidnapping Turns Herself In
Ann Pettway is accused of taking the young girl when she was 19 days old.
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