Woman Kidnapped As Infant In ’87 Tracks Down Birth Parents

Carlina's Story Was One Of NYPD's Most Perplexing Cold Cases

NEW YORK (CBS 2) — It sounds like something out of a movie — a baby kidnapped from a hospital ward more than two decades ago.

Kidnapped as an infant, she’s now 23. She tracked down her birth parents after being raised by another family. As CBS 2’s Don Dahler reports, it was a miracle reunion.

Once she was lost, now she is found. Carlina White was 19 days old when was admitted to Harlem Hospital with a 104-degree fever.

The next morning, her teenaged mother discovered her baby was gone.

But on Wednesday, one of the NYPD’s most vexing cold cases has a very happy ending.

Carlina White

Carlina White as an adult, more than two decades after she was kidnapped. (Photo: CBS 2)

Joy White was only 16 years old when her newborn daughter was kidnapped. She spoke to CBS 2 that day back in 1987, pleading with the kidnapper.

“Just give me my baby back, please! I want her back now, just want her back,” Joy White said.

The young parents were devastated.

Police immediately suspected a woman who’d been hanging around the hospital, acting like a nurse, who’d suggested to Joy White she should go home.

“She was trying to get rid of me so she could take it, take my baby away from me, but I didn’t realize it,” Joy White said.

Over the years, Carlina’s photo was circulated by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, alongside an estimation of what she would look like as an older child.

When the now 23-year-old Carlina, who was raised in Bridgeport, Conn., under a different name and who always suspected she wasn’t related to the family that raised her, did an Internet search, she found a stunning image. She immediately called the Center, and on Jan. 4, the Center called Joy White, who had never taken her daughter’s photo off her dresser.

The NYPD confirmed that their DNA matched, and mother and daughter, kept apart for over two decades, were reunited this past weekend.

When Joy White got the phone call, she said she screamed and cried. She said she missed the last 23 years of her daughter’s life, and she has to take it all in now, day by day.

Carlina’s relieved grandmother told CBS 2’s Derricke Dennis that all of the family’s prayers have been answered.

“I had thought I was dreaming at first, you know, I couldn’t wake up – I thought it was a good dream,” Carlina’s grandmother, Elizabeth White, said. “We never gave up hope. We always thought one day she would come back.”

Police are now searching for the woman who kidnapped Carlina. There is no statute of limitations for kidnapping.

  • The Good Samaritan

    The father now has to repaid the back child support due the other family that raised the child.

    The Good Samaritan has spoken.

    • el jefe

      “The Good Samaritan has spoken”, but not in English!

  • Hawk

    Awesome for the Real Mom, the Birth Mom. If the “other mother” is the culprit, Alcatraz for her, and all other child thieves and abusers. Just send em there. Stanky punks. But what if the abducter is one who died, went to jail, gave her up, or for some other reason is not the one who raised the baby? Perhaps I watch too much tv. It will be interesting to know the rest of the story. I hope the proof is real and there is no rush to judgment, but if they figure it out for sure, then Alcatraz her, and any stanky punks who may have helped her! But it sounds like for the Real Mom, she wont the prize of a life, so wonderful. Yeah, there might be rocky times, but the greatest joy of right now is beyond anything else. Very touching. I lost a lot of what was mine in a bad divorce bc of a hateful mother, but now have a lot more involvement with my daughter, but she is grown. The amount of hurt and loss is astounding, but nothing to compare with this story. I now have great joy interacting with mine, and hope she has many times greater than that with hers…and I know she will.

  • queen1

    this family is blessed! i am going to pray for them and hope that with GODS help they can start to bond and start to get to know each other ! BUT, to the woman that took her i hope she gets what she deserves……. And to the family that raised her if you this adoption wasnt real or something didnt seem right than they she be prosecuted to ! the courts need to protect the children if nothing else! Be blessed family and may GOD keep his around you!

  • mc

    someone needs to go to jail

  • Sly50

    All these comments sound as if, now that the young women is home, all is fixed and everything is just fine again…as if it never happened. This woman lost her baby…not for 23 years, but FOREVER. She got a grown woman back, not her baby. This is such a sad story. What seems a happy ending is actually a painful beginning of building a relationship that should be natural and normal,. I am so sorry for this mother and her child. I hope that this “other mother”…the kidnapper or the accessory to the crime (because there couldn’t have been a legal adoption or legal birth certificate) gets the maximum punishment allowable!

  • Nelly

    God is good, Bless them to become the family they should of been 23 years ago

  • Trish

    Finally! news with a hsppy ending..

    • Mrs. Kravitz

      OMG, I read the story of this mother on a few websites, congratulations! I’m elated for you! What a wonderful, wonderful happy ending. Carlina, you are so beautiful, I am sure your spirit radiates in your face. Your mother must be over the moon with happiness. She never stopped thinking about you, even for an instant. And I am sure that your “other” mother, the one who raised you and loved you every day since childhood, has enough love in her heart to share you. Bless you all, wishing your “blended” family all the best from this day forward.

      • Gypsy

        @Mrs. Kravitz…””And I am sure that your “other” mother, the one who raised you and loved you every day since childhood, has enough love in her heart to share you. Bless you all, wishing your “blended” family all the best from this day forward””
        You got to be freakin’ kidding me!! The ‘other mother’…committed a heinous crime..she KIDNAPPED someone’s child!! “Blended” family…are you for real?!?

    • Rstrong

      There is no happy ending, It is not over, its just begun. Do you know how many years they have to catch up on? or what kind of life style they have grown up to apart? There are going to be years of conflict before resolve. It is almost like two different personalities that are forced to co-exist.

  • Lissa M

    How could a human being inflict 23 years of HURT on others.. A very cruel selfish act!!!! Much happiness to the biological parents. Praise the Lord for CLOSURE!!!!

  • gloria

    god bless u ms joy u and your family the lord our god is awsome ,so so sweet he heard your cry that awful day when your baby was taken but has sent her back to u glory to god bless u my sister.

  • your mom

    wait, searching for the persopn who kidbnapped her, ummmm how about trying the people who raised her????????????

    • Tania

      That was my first thought!

    • Sara

      She can’t remember if the people who raised her are the ones who took her, or if she was with another family before that one, according to another article. Makes sense, if she was taken as a baby.

      • john smith

        there are 2 things here that i don,t underrstand.

        1)why can,t the police interogate the last family that took care of her?plus

        2)if she suspected that the family that raised her were not her real parents why didn,t she contact the police?

        something here sounds very fishy.

  • Keisean Marshall

    Great story!

  • happy mom


    i am so happy to hear such awesome news today!


  • darsden

    Wow, that is totally awesome! Always Hope!!! Now let’s get the one that kidnapped her,

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