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Ann Pettway Pleads Guilty In Decades-Old Harlem Kidnapping Case

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Ann Pettway (L), Carlina White (R) (credit: CBS 2)

Ann Pettway (L), Carlina White (R) (credit: CBS 2)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A North Carolina woman charged with kidnapping a newborn baby from a Manhattan hospital nearly 25 years ago pleaded guilty in federal court Friday afternoon.

Ann Pettway turned herself in to the FBI last January and was charged with felony kidnapping after admitting to abducting Carlina White in 1987.

Joy White, the biological mother of Carlina White, had angry words for Pettway stemming from the traumatic loss of her daughter.

“It was cruel. She was so mean,” said Joy White on Friday. “This is really too much for me right now.”

White was just 16 when her daughter Carlina was kidnapped from Harlem Hospital.  Baby Carlina was taken by Pettway who raised the girl in Bridgeport, Conn. and gave her the name “Nedjra Nance.”

Joy White said she would never forget Pettway’s face. She saw her when she was posing a nurse, telling her that her sick baby would be alright, even as she plotted to run off with the child.

“She knew what she was doing at the time, and she preyed on me,” said Joy White.

Carlina White had suspicions of her mom since they didn’t look anything alike, and Pettway couldn’t produce any of White’s birth records when she became pregnant as a teen.

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White’s fears were confirmed when she found her own baby picture next to a computer generated image from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

The center tracked down her real mother, and White, having solved her own cold case, found her way home.

Prosecutors said Pettway admitted to the kidnapping after suffering several miscarriages, and was desperate to be a mother. Pettway said she was sorry and acknowledged she caused a lot of pain.

“I went to the hospital.  I took the child and raised her as my own.  It was wrong,” Pettway said in court.

As part of her plea bargain, prosecutors agreed to recommend between 10 and 12 1/2 years in prison for the 51-year-old, though she faced up to 20 years.

But White’s family said she should serve 23 years, the same amount of time their girl was missing.

Pettway will be sentenced on May 14.

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