Alert issued for woman who raised stolen child

January 21, 2011 8:31:29 PM PST
The woman who raised a child kidnapped from a New York hospital two decades ago has violated her probation and is believed to be on the run from authorities, North Carolina officials said Friday. A warrant was issued for her arrest.

Corrections officials tried repeatedly to contact Ann Pettway after finding out that investigators want to question her in the 1987 abduction of the infant, who's now grown and was recently reunited with her long-lost family. Pettway is on probation because of a conviction for attempted embezzlement and is not allowed to leave the state.

Authorities declared Pettway a probation absconder Friday, resulting in the arrest warrant. Her name has been put into a national law enforcement database.

"We definitely believe she is willfully fleeing supervision," said Pam Walker, a spokeswoman for the North Carolina Department of Correction.

Carlina White had long suspected that Pettway wasn't her birth mother. She is now 23 years old and recently reunited with her biological family.

On Friday, her family told Eyewitness News that they believe the woman who raised her was the woman who kidnapped her.

Carlina White's mother believes she remembers the face that she saw on television this week as the same woman who she saw in Harlem Hospital 23 years ago.

White's grandmother showed us the yellowed and worn newspaper articles that she's carefully kept tucked away all these years. It was a sensational case in 1987 - A newborn baby, Carlina was snatched from Harlem hospital by a phony nurse.

The case is now making headlines again after Carlina tracked down her birth mother. Carlina long suspected the woman who had raised her in Bridgeport, Connecticut, had something to hide.

Ann Pettway is currently on probation in North Carolina for theft, and authorities are trying to find her. She has a lengthy criminal record for petty crimes. The question is whether law enforcement authorities will soon add federal kidnapping charges to that list.

Lisa White, Carlina's aunt, says the family believes the woman who raised Carlina is the same one who took her.

"That's what my sister thinks.... when she saw the mug shot," White said.

Twenty-three years ago, after bringing a feverish Carlina into Harlem hospital, Joy White told police she'd been comforted by a woman dressed as a nurse.

"She gave my sister tissues and told her Carlina is going to be alright," Lisa White explained. "I think she should go to jail. I think she should be prosecuted because you took that child's life away from her mother. Her first walk. The first teeth coming in. Her first words, saying mommy. She missed all of that."

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