Pettway Apologizes In Court, But Carlina White's Dad Says Sentence Too Lenient

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The woman who snatched a newborn baby from a Manhattan hospital more than two decades ago and raised the child as her own was sentenced to 12 years in prison on Monday.

Ann Pettway, 51, learned her fate after pleading guilty to a kidnapping charge in February. Pettway confessed to taking 3-week-old Carlina White from Harlem Hospital’s emergency room in 1987.

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At Manhattan Federal Court, the judge said that what Pettway did was “not a crime of greed or vengeance, but was a crime of selfishness.”

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“She lied to Carlina, to law enforcement and state authorities for 23 years,” the prosecutor said.

Pettway offered an emotional apology in court, saying it was understandable if the family didn’t accept it.

“I would like to apologize to the family. It may be rejected, but I am deeply sorry for what I’ve done. If they don’t accept it, it’s understandable. I’m here to right my wrong,” she said in court.

The defense pointed to Pettway’s suffering, including miscarriages and three still births. But the judge said they did not serve as an excuse for her actions, saying Pettway’s actions created one couple’s worst nightmare and made countless other parents fearful.

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Carlina White’s father, Carl Tyson, insinuated the punishment was too lenient and felt as though Pettway should receive prison time equivalent to the years his daughter was kept away from him.

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“I’m not really satisfied with the sentence because I figure Ann Pettway should have received 23 years in jail because Ann took 23 from me,” Tyson told reporters.

Tyson also went on to talk about all the things he never got to experience with his daughter.

“I wasn’t able to take my daughter to school, take my daughter to day care, watch my daughter get on the bus and, you know, have birthday parties with my daughter,” he said.

“For 23 years, Ann, you had me suffering. You took something away from me,” Tyson said. “You hurt me so bad.”

In court, Carlina White’s mother, Joy White, said she cried for days after her child was kidnapped and “wondered if she was being fed, washed and loved.”

Pettway changed White’s name to “Nejdra Nance” and raised her in Bridgeport, Conn.

White said she had long suspected Pettway wasn’t her biological mother because they didn’t look anything alike and Pettway could never provide her with a birth certificate.

White solved the case herself 23 years later after finding her photo on a website with images of missing children. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children helped reunite White with her biological mother.

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