National News

Dad of woman kidnapped as a baby feels double loss

Posted April 28, 2011

— It was a dream come true.

After 23 years of praying and never giving up hope that he would see his first-born child again, Carl Tyson got his wish.

In August 1987, Tyson and his girlfriend at the time took their 19-day-old daughter, Carlina, to Harlem Hospital in New York City because she had a high fever.

The two left the hospital for a couple of hours to rest. When they returned, they were told that their baby was missing. No suspects were ever identified in the disappearance.

Ann Pettway, kidnapping suspect FBI: Woman confessed to snatching NY baby in 1987

"I never had a doubt that I was going to see her," Tyson said from his home in New York City on Tuesday. "I knew she was going to come back. I just didn't know when. But she came back."

In January, he was reunited with Carlina White, now a 23-year-old mother herself, whom authorities say was kidnapped and raised by a Raleigh woman, Ann Pettway, 44, who now faces federal kidnapping charges.

"When I saw her, I was like, 'this has got to be a dream,'" Tyson said.

The reunion grabbed national headlines.

White had always thought she was at least adopted because Pettway could never provide her with a birth certificate.

While looking on the website of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, she saw a baby photo that she thought looked like hers.

She contacted the site, which put her in touch with her biological family. They exchanged photos and talked, and a DNA test confirmed their relationship.

Dad of woman kidnapped as a baby feels double loss Kidnapped woman's feels double loss

It was like a dream, Carlina White told the New York Post in a January 20 article.

"I'm so happy. At the same time, it's a funny feeling because everything's brand new,” she said. “It's like being born again.”

Months after that celebrated day, Tyson says he feels that he's lost his daughter all over again.

The two talked on the phone and sent text messages to one another after the reunion, he says. Slowly though, she cut off communication with Tyson and the rest of her biological family, he says.

"She looked for us, and then, (she's) gone again," Tyson said. "She's got me so confused right now, because she's not opening up to anyone."

Through her attorney, White, who now lives in Atlanta with her 6-year-old daughter, declined to comment about the situation.

Tyson says he is not sure what happened. He wonders if the estrangement could be related to money.

He and White's mother established a trust fund for their daughter, but he says they had to dissolve it when she was 21 because she had not been found.

Another possibility, he says, is that she still feels loyalty to the family who raised her and that she is confused.

"Sometimes, people say she is stuck in between two families, but you can be stuck in between two families, but you can still love both families."

Whatever the reason, Tyson says he is heartbroken. He has a message for his daughter.

"Me and your mother have been missing you for 23 years," he said. "All we want is a little attention from you, some love."

And he says he hopes she will find him again.

"I want things to get better," he said. "I got a lot of hope that it's going to get better, that she'll come around."


This story is closed for comments.

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  • texastransplant Apr 29, 2011

    I pray that this young woman is, indeed, confused about it all because, to me, her actions are very telling. When it came out that the trust was dissolved, she had promptly left and is now distancing herself from her parents. But, I freely admit that I am jaded and am consciously trying to rid myself of this flaw.

  • Godschild43 Apr 29, 2011

    My heart and prayers goes out to this dad that found his daughtr and lost her again.His daughter could be very confused and needs her space right now.

  • VAgirl Apr 29, 2011

    jackleg- it would not be unusual to leave your child at the hospital especially when they are inpatient. The hospital staff/ nurses assume some responsibility for watching children under their care. Parents are not expected to be there 24/7, what if you have other kids to care for? or the child is in the hospital for a long period of time? As for resting in the room, hospital rooms are sometimes shared by multiple patients, there probably would be no room for both parents to sleep/shower/rest.

  • kikinc Apr 29, 2011

    jackleg-the baby would have been brought to the NICU, which has very strict rules about who can be in there, how many people, and most likely, this wasn't a private room, but a nursery with other babies. Things are very different these days, and also, as much as I hate to say this, it was a hospital in Harlem, so they may not have had the amenities that we're used to seeing in hospitals.

  • jackleg Apr 29, 2011

    "The baby had been admitted to the hospital, and the parents were told to go home, shower, rest up, so that they were strong for the baby. Nothing wrong with that."

    I'm not sure how to formally quote a post, if someone could tell me I'd appreciate it...

    Anyways, back to your comment... I don't have kids, so I've never been in that situation. Is that really a common thing to happen? They'd say to leave the kid and go home and rest? I'd imagine if the kid was admitted, they could do that in the room... otherwise the kid would be in triage or the waiting room, with pretty much no supervision.

    not trying to be mean - but help me understand!

  • kikinc Apr 29, 2011

    The baby had been admitted to the hospital, and the parents were told to go home, shower, rest up, so that they were strong for the baby. Nothing wrong with that.

  • mjlt3 Apr 29, 2011

    My heart goes out to you all, just be patient and give each other some space. As far as the money the parents did what they had to do to survive (again) the three of them should go on varies talk shows and make more if that's the problem. Life to short and enough time has been wasted, may God once again touch the heart of them all!

  • jackleg Apr 29, 2011

    does anyone else wonder why these parents left their baby alone at the hospital for 2 hours???

  • robinson66 Apr 29, 2011

    Too many new emotions too fast. She's just overwhelmed and needs time. Have patience and keep faith. She'll come around. God bless this dad, the family and Carlina.

  • kikinc Apr 29, 2011

    The way I heard it, they dissolved the trust to help take care of their other children. Helped them pay bills and stay afloat when the economy crashed. I don't blame them for doing that. I find it sad that money seems to be coming between parents and their long lost child.