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Raleigh woman sentenced in NY baby-snatching

Posted July 30, 2012
Updated August 6, 2012

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— A Raleigh woman was sentenced Monday to 12 years in federal prison for snatching a newborn from a New York City hospital more than two decades ago, according to federal court records.

As part of an agreement, Ann Pettway admitted in February that she kidnapped Carlina White from Harlem Hospital in 1987.

"I went to the hospital. I took a child. It was wrong," Pettway said during a court hearing.

Defense attorneys had asked that Pettway be sentenced to the minimum of 10 years stipulated in the plea agreement. They contend that Pettway suffered from depression after several miscarriages and stillbirths and that she was a good mother to White.

"It was an offense that was motivated not by greed or desire to do harm but by a desperate desire to have a child," Pettway's lawyers stated in court documents. "She replaced the dead infant with a live baby and persisted in the delusion that it was her baby."

Prosecutors asked for a sentence of at least 20 years, saying in court that she would have faced a lengthy sentence for kidnapping if she had been caught in 1987 and that the passage of time only aggravated the situation.

They also noted that Pettway was convicted five times while White was in her care and admitted to routinely using drugs.

White's mother, Joy White, said she was angry with the plea deal.

"I've lost 23 years of being with my daughter," Joy White said after the court hearing.

Carlina White, now 25, was 19 days old when her parents took her to the hospital on Aug. 4, 1987, with a high fever.

Joy White and Carl Tyson said a woman who looked like a nurse comforted them, and the couple left the hospital to rest. Their baby was missing when they went back the following day.

White, who had been living under the name Nejdra Nance in Connecticut and in the Atlanta area, 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.


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  • cj Aug 3, 2012

    Who gets the money from the movie deal?

  • NCworkingwoman Jul 31, 2012

    She should have gotten 23 years at a MINIMUM.

  • freeadvice Jul 31, 2012


  • not my real name Jul 31, 2012

    You can not be a good mother while routinely using drugs and being convicted 5 times....just saying. Plus, this is the most selfish thing I have heard of in a while.

  • carolinagal78 Jul 31, 2012

    I guess we're supposed to feel sorry for her cause she had some miscarriages?? That makes it ok for her to go and steal someone else's baby?? Attorney's make me sick! This family lost time that they can never get back. Now I think Pettway should lose time in her life and in my opinion 12yrs isn't enough.

  • lisa4 Jul 31, 2012

    Not enough time!!!!!!!!!! Should have put her away for much longer!!

  • halfpint1552 Jul 31, 2012

    She should be in jail for every year that she took that little girl away from her parents. 10 years is not good enough.

  • autismawareness Jul 30, 2012

    not enough punishment

  • djofraleigh Jul 30, 2012

    No one could make this stuff up! Wish she had been a better mother and wish the child had had her father, and natural mother, of course.

  • IceCreamMan Jul 30, 2012

    Wait....that's illegal?!