NEW YORK – A North Carolina woman who raised a child snatched from a New York hospital more than two decades ago was scheduled to appear Monday in federal court to face kidnapping charges.
Ann Pettway surrendered Sunday morning to the FBI and Bridgeport, Conn., police on a warrant from North Carolina, where she's on probation because of a conviction for attempted embezzlement, FBI supervisory special agent William Reiner said. She turned herself in days after a widely publicized reunion between the child she raised, now an adult, and her biological mother.
Carlina White was just 19 days old when her parents took her to Harlem Hospital in the middle of the night with a high fever. Joy White and Carl Tyson said a woman who looked like a nurse had comforted them. The couple left the hospital to rest, but their baby was missing when they went back. No suspects were identified.
In an appearance on NBC's "Today" show on Monday, Tyson said he was very happy to have found his daughter, now a 23-year-old adult.
"I have my whole puzzle. I have all my four kids now," he said. But he admitted he didn't know what he was supposed to be doing with a 23-year old.
"Should I be feeding her baby food?" he joked.
Tyson said he would like to ask Pettway "why she did this to me for 23 years."
Carlina White has been living under the name Nejdra Nance in Connecticut and in the Atlanta area. She said she had long suspected Pettway wasn't her biological mother because she could never provide her with a birth certificate and because she didn't look like anyone else in Pettway's family.
She periodically checked the website of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and while looking through New York photos early this month found one that looked nearly identical to her own baby picture. She contacted Joy White through the center.
White and Nance met in New York before DNA tests were complete, confident they were mother and daughter. After the test results confirmed it Wednesday, Nance returned from Atlanta to be with White again.
Pettway remained in custody Sunday and couldn't be reached for comment. A woman who answered the phone at a Pettway relative's home in Bridgeport on Sunday refused to comment on her surrender.
Pettway received two years of probation last June after she took items from a store where she worked, which is considered embezzlement under North Carolina law, state correction spokeswoman Pamela Walker said. Under terms of her probation, she wasn't allowed to leave the state.
Department of Correction officials there tried repeatedly to contact her after finding out investigators wanted to question her in Carlina's 1987 abduction.
North Carolina officials said Friday they believed Pettway was on the run from authorities. They said Sunday they would seek her extradition.
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