Video: Aunt of girl taken in ’87 wants to help find suspect

  1. Transcript of: Aunt of girl taken in ’87 wants to help find suspect

    LESTER HOLT, co-host: Now to the incredible story of a woman abducted as an infant more than 23 years ago. Carlina White was just 19 days old when she was kidnapped from a Harlem hospital . That was 1987 . Carlina suspected the person who raised her wasn't her mother. And after years of investigating, she tracked down her real parents. Here's the woman who allegedly kidnapped her. Her name is Ann Pettway . Officials in North Carolina say a warrant has been issued for her arrest. As for Carlina , she's now back with the family that hasn't seen her in nearly 24 years. Lisa White-Heatley and Regina Tyson are Carolyn's -- Carlina 's aunts. And Dr. Janet Taylor 's a psychiatrist. Good morning to all of you. Thanks so much for coming on.

    Group: Good morning.

    HOLT: Ladies, let me start with you first off. Can you tell me how she's doing, how she's coping with her new family ?

    Ms. LISA WHITE-HEATLEY (Aunt of Woman Kidnapped as an Infant): Well, I think she's coping good with the family , but she's having, you know, a -- I think a little difficult time just adjusting to it.

    HOLT: And, Regina , has she embraced you all as family ?

    Ms. REGINA TYSON (Aunt of Woman Kidnapped as an Infant): Yes.

    HOLT: You're not strangers to her?

    Ms. TYSON: No.

    Ms. WHITE-HEATLEY: No.

    HOLT: What was the first interaction?

    Ms. TYSON: Well, I had spoken to her before it aired and we were speaking for like a good two weeks. So when I did meet up with her at the Essence House , and I walked in, she looked at me. I looked at her. And she was like, 'Auntie.'

    HOLT: So she -- immediately the...

    Ms. TYSON: Yes.

    HOLT: ...connection was made more than just a...

    Ms. TYSON: Yes.

    HOLT: ...just a friend, that she's accepted you all as family .

    Ms. TYSON: Yes.

    HOLT: Has she talked much about Ann Pettway , the woman who's accused of taking her?

    Ms. TYSON: No, not to me.

    Ms. WHITE-HEATLEY: I never had the discussion.

    HOLT: And have you followed the developments now?

    Ms. WHITE-HEATLEY: Yes.

    HOLT: She's a fugitive.

    Ms. WHITE-HEATLEY: Yes, I've followed it. And I would like to go and find her myself.

    HOLT: And let me turn to you, Regina . Your brother is now estranged. But tell me his first reaction in finding out that his daughter was alive.

    Ms. TYSON: Well, my brother never gave up hope at all whatsoever. My brother always talked about Carlina . And until today, it's still like a mystery to Carl . Carl see her, he talks to her all the time, but he act like it's a movie to him. He -- I think the biggest part that -- the problem that Carl is having now is that she's not here. She's in Atlanta . She's all grown up. And he want her to be here.

    HOLT: Yeah. I know the whole family would like her to be here.

    Ms. TYSON: Yeah, I would love for her to be here.

    HOLT: And, Lisa , your sister, Joy ; talk about how she's bonding with her daughter.

    Ms. WHITE-HEATLEY: Well, she bond with her while she was here. But my sister's -- she miss -- she's missing like -- she met up with her. She met her daughter. And now her daughter's -- it's like bittersweet. She's here. Now she's -- now she's gone. You know? I think my sister wants her...

    HOLT: But she's part of her life now?

    Ms. WHITE-HEATLEY: Yeah, she's part of her life.

    HOLT: Yeah.

    Ms. WHITE-HEATLEY: But I know my sister want her right here with her.

    HOLT: Yeah.

    Ms. WHITE-HEATLEY: But you know she has her own life.

    HOLT: Let me -- let me bring in Dr. Taylor into the discussion. I mean, things sound good here. This young woman -- young woman has started to bond with her family . What are the challenges though in a situation like this? Twenty-three years.

    Dr. JANET TAYLOR (Psychiatrist): I think they are good. But as they said, I mean, it's the adjustment of you have two separate lives and now you have to rebuild the pieces, which they will. And just like it's taken 24 years to find her, there's -- it's going to take time to rebuild the family again. And so the point is, you know, to take advantage of it. Take it day by day , understand you are a family . There are going to be conflicts. There's going to be disappointment, blame and guilt. Why isn't she here? You know? Why aren't we there? But just to be patient with it and just use the love, use communication, and also if they need outside help, some counseling, a neutral party, to help put things together, don't be afraid to do that.

    HOLT: But the truth of the matter is that -- we're all -- these are all adults here who have had separate lives , separate friendships and relationships. Is there a tendency in a case like this to force the relationship -- and I don't want to talk around you guys.

    Ms. TYSON: Sure.

    HOLT: I mean, I want you to talk about this as well.

    Dr. TAYLOR: Well, it's probably no more of a tendency to force a relationship than it would be if you have different personalities. But in this case there's an intensity because there -- you want to make up for all the lost time . But what I'm hearing is that that's still going to take time and that everybody has to come together, which they are.

    Ms. TYSON: Well, Carl and Joy , they never had any problems. And as a family , we always -- we -- I mean, like, family , they -- everyone argues.

    HOLT: Sure.

    Ms. TYSON: But Carl and Joy always had a great relationship. When the baby was kidnapped, Carl and Joy was together. They was together as one. I was with Carl and Joy two days ago at the hotel. They have a great understanding. They have separate lives . And you're supposed to be civil. And that's how Carl and Joy is dealing with it. They have both been highly affected. But at the same time, you know, we all want her to come home.

    HOLT: Of course. Yeah.

    Ms. TYSON: Lisa wanted to be with her.

    Ms. WHITE-HEATLEY: Yes.

    Ms. TYSON: I want her to be with me. But Lisa and I, we get along. We can do it all together.

    Ms. WHITE-HEATLEY: Yeah.

    HOLT: Sure. And, Lisa , how often would you talk about her? I mean, you know, over the 23 years?

    Ms. WHITE-HEATLEY: Like if her birthday comes, my sister say, 'Oh, it's Carlina 's birthday.' Yeah.

    HOLT: And knowing she's out there somewhere?

    Ms. TYSON: Yeah, right.

    Ms. WHITE-HEATLEY: And I used to go to the beauty shop, you know, like years ago. I used to say, ah, you know my sister's daughter was missing, and I just come out of the blue . I don't know. It just comes out.

    Ms. TYSON: Yeah, that's me.

    Ms. WHITE-HEATLEY: Because I know that I think -- I think about her. And I 'm glad she's back.

    HOLT: Well, and we're all glad she's back.

    Ms. WHITE-HEATLEY: I'm glad she's back.

    HOLT: And this is -- this is a terrific story. And we wish you all the time and the space you need to connect as a family and to be happy. And we appreciate you sharing your story with us.

    Ms. WHITE-HEATLEY: Thank you.

By
updated 1/22/2011 4:39:33 AM ET 2011-01-22T09:39:33

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.

Video: Aunt of girl taken in ’87 wants to help find suspect (on this page)

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

Image: Ann Pettway
AP
Ann Pettway shown in this May 24, 2010 photo provided by the Wake County (N.C.) Bureau of Identification.

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

Nobody answered when a reporter knocked on the door of a house where Pettway lived in Raleigh, N.C.

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Carlina White had long suspected Pettway wasn't her biological mother because she could never provide her with a birth certificate.

No suspects were ever identified in White's 1987 disappearance from Harlem Hospital in New York. White is now 23 years old and has been living under the name Nejdra Nance in Connecticut.

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White recently reunited with her biological family. The family believes Pettway was the kidnapper.

'Friendly ... kind'
Sonova Smith, who lives near Pettway in The Villages neighborhood, said Pettway mentioned that she had a daughter in Connecticut but had moved to Raleigh with her son.

Smith and Pettway both had teenage sons who would often play together, and Smith said her neighbor seemed to be a good mother.

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"She was friendly. She was kind. She loved her son," Smith said. "We talked about our boys often. She talked about family. So, it's just really been surprising."

Smith said she last spoke to Pettway on Sunday.

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Authorities are considering whether federal investigators should take the case because the statute of limitations may have expired in New York, said chief New York Police Department spokesman Paul Browne. There is no limitation in federal missing children cases.

Carlina White's parents, Joy White and Carl Tyson, said a woman who looked like a nurse had comforted them at the hospital.

Carlina White was just 19 days old and had been admitted in the middle of the night with a high fever. Her parents left the hospital to rest and found she was missing when they came back.

Nance told the New York Post in an interview posted Thursday that reuniting with her family was like a dream.

"I'm so happy. At the same time, it's a funny feeling because everything's brand-new. It's like being born again," she said.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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