US kidnap case solved by stolen baby, 23 years on

New York

A woman who snatched a baby from a New York City hospital in 1987, then raised the child as her own for more than two decades, has pleaded guilty to a kidnapping charge at a federal courthouse in Manhattan.

Ann Pettway, 51, recounted how she took a train from her home in Connecticut to Harlem Hospital, where she scooped up Carlina White, a three-week-old baby who had been brought to the emergency room by her parents.

Prosecutors agreed to recommend between 10 and 12 years in prison, but Carlina's natural mother, Joy White, later said she felt a decade in jail would be too light a punishment. "I've lost 23 years of being with my daughter," she said. Ms White said she remembers meeting Pettway, who was dressed as a nurse, at the hospital. "She came up to me and said, 'Don't cry. Your daughter is going to be OK'."

The kidnapping puzzled police. Finally, the case was solved by Carlina herself. As she grew up in Connecticut, as Nejdra Nance, she became suspicious of her identity, and matched a photo of herself to one on the website of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. She tracked down her true mother and they were reunited in January last year. A DNA test confirmed they were mother and child.

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