US & Canada

Ann Pettway admits infamous kidnapping of Carlina White

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Media captionCarlina White's real mother, Joy White, and her father, Carl Tyson, describe their feelings about Ann Pettway

A US woman who stole a baby from a New York City hospital in 1987 and raised the child as her own has pleaded guilty to kidnapping.

As the stolen infant's real mother wept in the federal court in Manhattan, Ann Pettway offered no explanation for the abduction.

Pettway, 51, was arrested last year after the victim, Carlina White, solved her own kidnapping.

She was raised as Nejdra Nance in Connecticut and later in Georgia.

Pettway told the court on Friday how she had caught a train from her home in Bridgeport, Connecticut, to New York, where she snatched the 19-day-old from Harlem Hospital, after the baby was brought there with a fever by her parents.

DNA tests

"I went to the hospital," said Pettway, who initially pleaded not guilty last year. "I took a child. It was wrong.''

As part of her plea bargain, prosecutors are to recommend she receives between 10 and 12 years in prison.

Image caption Ann Pettway surrendered to FBI agents last year after a warrant was issued for her arrest

Ms White's birth mother, Joy White, told reporters afterwards that Pettway should serve 23 years in jail, one for every year she had been separated from her daughter.

Joy White said she remembers Pettway, posing as a nurse, consoling her before picking up the baby and waking away.

After being unable to shake off a sense that she did not belong to the family that raised her, Carlina White began her own inquiries.

Pettway then admitted that she was someone else's daughter, but claimed she had been abandoned by a drug addict.

Ms White traced her true mother after finding a photo of herself on the website of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

DNA tests last year confirmed her as the daughter of Joy White and Carl Tyson.

The case made headlines internationally and solved a mystery that had baffled police for more than two decades.

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