As news broke that Carlina White reunited with her family 23 years after she had been kidnapped, federal investigators have been trying to determine if the woman who raised Carlina was also her kidnapper. Also, where to find her.
Newborn Carlina White disappeared from a Harlem hospital 23 years ago, and recently discovered her identity after being raised in Connecticut by the woman she believes kidnapped her. Her parents never gave up hope.
The New York Post says the woman known as Ann Pettway, among other aliases, "dropped out of sight yesterday with the law hot on her trail." That's bizarre given that the paper itself ran an interview with Pettway yesterday, saying they'd found her at her house in Raleigh N.C. and that she was en route to Connecticut. "I'm coming, I'm coming, I'm coming back to straighten this all out," she told The Post. "I raised her, and I was a good mom," she insisted.
The conditions of Pettway's parole mean she has to ask for permission to leave, but local authorities said she hadn't requested it. (She has a long rap sheet dating back from 1977, mostly larceny and embezzlement charges — for "stealing $130 in cash, a pair of men's pants and a scarf from her employer " — and one pot possession charge.) Pettway has not yet been named a suspect in the kidnapping, probably because feds haven't questioned her. (The statute of limitations has run out for the NYPD).
Carlina White's aunts were on Today this morning, describing the family reunion. Aside from the video the Post already used of the family together, the real heartbreak here is the vintage footage of Joy White, Carlina's mother, weeping after her baby was kidnapped.
There's also an interview with a cousin of the woman who raised Carlina, sounding bewildered. The Post interviewed neighbors yesterday who claimed that Pettway was a perfectly nice person.
Right now, the family's working assumption is that Pettway lost her pregnancy, went to a Harlem hospital, and pretended to be a nurse until someone handed her their baby. The former FBI profiler and special agent ABC had on to talk about the case said that it fit the profile of a baby-abductor:
"If you look at the profile of infant abductors, they tend to be women in their late twenties or early thirties. They can't have a child or they lost a child. They may have even faked pregnancies," Garrett said. "A child abductor is somebody that just wants a narcissistic, erotic gain from stealing a child, using a child and disposing of a child. They don't want a relationship with the child."
Pettway obviously appears to fall into the category of the former, but we won't know much more until the authorities pick her up.