Nedjra Nance always had doubts about the abusive, drug-addicted woman she knew as her mother, and she was right. It turns out the woman, dressed as a nurse in a hospital, had kidnapped her from her parents as an infant.
The kidnapper, who lived in Connecticut, had evidently lost her own pregnancy when she showed up at a Harlem hospital in 1987 and hung around an emergency room until distraught parents handed her a baby they thought would receive care. (The parents, Carl Tyson and Joy White, eventually got a $750,000 settlement from the hospital for its negligence.)
Nance found out she was really Carlina White when she became pregnant at 16 and asked her "mother" for a birth certificate so she could apply for benefits. The story just didn't add up, so White confronted the woman, who lied and said she had been abandoned by a drug addict mother.
White started Googling children missing from around that time, and called the National Center For Missing And Exploited Children. The photo of the baby that they had on file looked uncannily like her own daughter.
Here's a heartbreaking photo of her parents in 1987 with her empty crib.
"I'm so happy," she told The New York Post. "At the same time, it's a funny feeling because everything's brand new. It's like being born again." The baby photo of Carlina was still on her mother's dresser, 23 years later, when they had a joyful reunion.
According to the Center For Missing And Exploited Children, Carlina "was missing longer than any kidnap victim not taken by a parent." The woman who kidnapped her is being questioned by authorities.
Images via NYPost