LIFE

Woman Sees Her Baby Photo Online, Then Discovers Mom Is Really Her Kidnapper

by Emerald Pellot
Emerald Pellot graduated summa cum laude from New York University with a degree in Writing & Popular Culture. She worked as Senior Editor of College Candy for 2 years, covering feminism, popular culture, and college life before joining LittleThings in 2015. Based in New York City, Emerald covers a wide range of topics from human interest pieces to celebrity news.

In 1987, Joy White brought her 3-week-old feverish daughter, Carlina, to Harlem Hospital in New York City.

Then, every mother’s nightmare happened.

Carlina was separated from her mother to receive nourishment through an IV. During that time, a woman dressed in a nurse’s uniform snuck into the hospital.

She removed the IV from Carlina’s arm and kidnapped her. The kidnapper, Ann Petty, took Carlina to Connecticut and then Georgia, miles away from her family.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time something like this has happened to someone. Another family’s baby was kidnapped from the hospital and they were only able to find her through a freak coincidence 17 years later.

The case gained national attention for being New York City’s first known infant abduction case in a hospital. A $10,000 award was offered for Carlina’s safe return. Flyers of the infant were posted all over.

However, there wasn’t a word or a lead. Carlina was gone and, for 23 years, Joy and her husband Carl would pray for their daughter to come back to them.

Then one day, she did… See how Carlina solved her own kidnapping below.

New York Magazine

In 1987, Joy White brought her 3-week-old daughter to the hospital when she had a fever. Then the unthinkable happened…

A woman dressed as a nurse snuck into the hospital and kidnapped her baby girl, Carlina.

The story captured national attention as Joy and her husband Carl appeared on television begging the kidnapper to return her baby.

Years went by, then decades; Joy never gave up hope that she would see her daughter again, but the situation did appear to be hopeless.

The “nurse” who took Carlina was Ann Netty. After having difficulty conceiving, Ann kidnapped Carlina and raised her as her own daughter, who she called “Netty.”

Ann took Carlina from New York City to Connecticut and then to Georgia — miles away from her real family.

But Carlina became suspicious of her birth origins on her 16th birthday when she realized she didn’t resemble anyone in her family.

That same year, when Carlina became pregnant, she needed her own birth certificate to receive prenatal care. She asked her “mom” for her birth certificate, but she refused.

Carlina, already suspicious, went through Ann’s things and retrieved what she believed to be her birth certificate. When she brought the document to a government official, they all but accused her of stealing someone’s identity.

The birth certificate was fake…

When Carlina confronted Ann about the birth certificate, Ann admitted she wasn’t her biological mother, but told her an even more heartbreaking lie.

“Your mom left you,” Ann Pettway said, “and she never came back.”

That’s when Carlina decided to do some investigating of her own without many leads. Seven years later, Carlina went on the website of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Then she saw this photograph. It was a photograph of the missing Carlina White and a sketch of what she might look like today.

Carlina — still then Netty — believed her baby pictures resembled the photo and that she looked just like the sketch.

So she made a phone call that would forever change her life.

Carlina called Joy White, who notified police officers. They conducted a DNA test that concluded that Joy was in fact her biological mother.

In 2010, after 23 years of waiting, Joy was reunited with her daughter, and it’s all because Carlina used her wits to crack her own case.

Ann Petty pleaded guilty to federal kidnapping charges and is serving a 12-year sentence in prison.

See more of this incredible story in the video below…

Please SHARE if you’re glad Carlina and Joy were able to find justice and the unbreakable bond between mother and daughter.