Local News

Raleigh woman who raised stolen baby surrenders to FBI

Posted January 23, 2011 2:39 p.m. EST
Updated January 23, 2011 11:24 p.m. EST

— A Raleigh woman who raised a child kidnapped from a New York hospital two decades ago surrendered to Federal Bureau of Investigation agents in Connecticut Sunday.

Suspected kidnapper Ann Pettway, 44, surrendered Sunday morning at the FBI office in Bridgeport, Conn., said Pamela Walker, a spokeswoman for the North Carolina Department of Correction.

Pettway was wanted for questioning in the 1987 abduction of Carlina White, who at age 23, discovered that she had been kidnapped and tracked down her birth family.

White had been living in Connecticut under the name Nejdra Nance. Her aunts and uncles live in Bertie County. As years have passed since White's abduction, they never believed they would see her again.

"We could have walked right by her and didn't know her because when you're a baby, your looks change over the years," said White's biological uncle, Kermit Wynn.

White's aunt Dorothy White described the pain the family felt when White disappeared.

"Heartbreaking. Sad. (We were) wondering who had her or what happened," she said. "Was she still living or was she hurt?"

They hope Pettway's arrest will bring them some answers.

"You can't do bad and get away with it," Wynn said. "It's going to get you back."

After several days of looking for Pettway, investigators said she was spotted at a pawnshop in Bridgeport on Saturday.

"They were able to obtain some video surveillance from the store," said Bridgeport Det. Keith Bryant. "Based on what they observed and the photographs we had of her, they confirmed the fact that it was her."

Pettway was arrested on the basis of a warrant issued Friday by the North Carolina DOC for a violation of her probation for a 2010 embezzlement conviction in Wake County.

Pettway's neighbors in Raleigh said she told them that she had a daughter in Connecticut but had moved to Raleigh with her son. 

Neighbor Sonova Smith said Pettway moved into a town home in the Villages about a year ago.

"She's very kind. She's very friendly," Smith said. "Her son comes over and plays with our boys on a regular basis. As far as I know, she's a good person. I would call her a friend."

Pettway is scheduled to appear in Manhattan Federal Court Monday to face federal kidnapping charges, said U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.

"I commend the swift and efficient work of the FBI and the NYPD in this important case, and also extend my thanks to law enforcement authorities in North Carolina and Bridgeport, Connecticut, for their assistance," Bharara said. 

Authorities will try to extradite Pettway to North Carolina, according to Walker.