Abducted Baby Reunited With Parents 23 Years Later
By David Lohr
January 20, 2011 / aolnews.com
A 23-year-old woman who was snatched from a New York City hospital as a 3-week-old infant has been reunited with her parents after tracking down baby pictures of herself on a missing children's website.
"This is somebody who knew something was wrong in her life and took the initiative," Ernie Allen, president of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, said on the "Today" show this morning.
Allen said Carlina Renae White "called us [and] she said things aren't the way I think they should be," Allen said. "We ... followed the information she gave us, put together the facts with the NYPD and today she has been reunited with her mom and her dad."
The woman's mother is ecstatic.
""It's a wonderful feeling. Now I can sleep," Joy White told the New York Post after meeting her grown-up daughter over the weekend. "I've been worried for all these years. I never took her picture off my dresser. I never gave up looking for her."
Carlina White was not yet a month old when she was kidnapped on Aug. 4, 1987. She had spiked a 104-degree fever, and her worried parents took her to Harlem Hospital, where she was admitted, the Post and the New York Daily News reported today.
Joy White, then 16, said a woman dressed as a nurse approached her in the emergency room and told her everything would be fine. Joy went home to rest. When she returned to the hospital, Carlina was gone. Authorities believed the "nurse" who had comforted Joy stole the baby, but they were unable to find any trace of the missing infant.
"The woman is some type of a hanger-on in the hospital, but I cannot characterize her as being mentally deranged," NYPD Assistant Chief Aaron Rosenthal told reporters in August 1977. "I would like the lady to bring the child back."
But that never happened, and authorities were unable to find any trace of the missing infant.
Meanwhile, a girl known as Nejdra Nance grew up in Bridgeport, Conn. As a teenager, she began to suspect that she wasn't related to the family who raised her. And she was puzzled that she was never able to get a copy of her birth certificate.
Finally, she began to do some research on the Internet and found the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children's website. On the site, she found a photo of a missing baby named Carlina Renae White.
"She sees a photo of Carlina White, and she says, 'Wow, that looks like me,'" Christopher Zimmerman, a detective with the NYPD missing person's squad, said on the "Today" show. "She takes out her own baby photo that she has possession of and [decides] it looks like the same person."
The center contacted Joy White on Jan. 4 and forwarded her a baby photo taken by the family who raised Nejdra Nance.
"I was screaming, I was so excited," Joy told the Daily News. "As soon as I saw those pictures, I said, 'That's my daughter.' I saw myself in her."
DNA tests confirmed that Nejdra, who now lives in Georgia, is Carlina -- the biological daughter of Joy White and Carl Tyson, who was 22 when his baby was kidnapped.
Tyson told the Daily News he wept tears of joy when a New York City police detective told him the DNA was a match.
"I already knew in my heart that this was my daughter," he said. "All I could do is shed tears."
Nejdra, now 23, traveled to New York this weekend with her 5-year-old daughter, Samani, to finally meet her family members.
Allen describes the call Nejdra Nance made as "one in a million" but also said it should also give hope to other families.
"There are lots of circumstances under which these children still could be out there [and] still could be alive," Allen said on the "Today" show. "So today Carlina White becomes a symbol that the search goes on for lots of others of America's missing children."
The Post said the people who took baby Carlina could still face federal prosecution. They have not been publicly identified, but the investigation is still open.
Peggy Ann White, a relative of Joy White's, has made no bones about her feelings in the case.
"Go to hell," she recently replied when a group of reporters asked if she had a message for the alleged kidnappers. "You will get your day. You'll get your day."