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Ann Pettway, Pleads Guilty in Manhattan Federal Court to the 1987 Kidnapping of an Infant from Harlem Hospital

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Ann Pettway, Pleads Guilty in Manhattan Federal Court to the 1987 Kidnapping of an Infant from Harlem Hospital

Post  Gary Dee on Mon 9 Jul - 11:13




Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that ANNUGETTA PETTWAY, a/k/a “Ann Pettway,” pled guilty today to one count of kidnapping in connection with the 1987 abduction of a 19-day-old infant from Harlem Hospital. PETTWAY pled guilty in Manhattan federal court before U.S. District Judge P. Kevin Castel.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara stated: “There are few things more devastating than the loss of a child. The parents of Carlina White had their lives shattered when their baby girl was stolen from them. The kidnapping began a 24-year nightmare during every day of which they were denied the love, hopes, and dreams parents share with their children. With today’s guilty plea, Ann Pettway will be punished for her egregious crime and this family can begin to piece together this part of their lives.”

According to the complaint, plea agreement, and Information to which PETTWAY pled:

On August 4, 1987, a mother and father (the “Mother” and the “Father”) brought their infant daughter to Harlem Hospital, where she was admitted with a fever. In the early hours of the following day, hospital personnel discovered that the baby girl was missing. In January 2010, the victim of the kidnapping (the “Victim”), who is now 24 years old, told a New York City Police Department detective (the “NYPD Detective”) that when she sought to obtain prenatal care for her own child, she asked PETTWAY for identification documents, such as a birth certificate. PETTWAY told the Victim that she did not have identification documents for her because she had been given to PETTWAY by a woman who used drugs.

The Victim also told the NYPD Detective that in January 2011 she contacted the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (“NCMEC”) to inquire about missing children from the late 1980s. NCMEC directed the Victim to a picture of a missing child from 1987. The Victim believed that the picture resembled her baby pictures. NCMEC put the Victim in touch with the Mother and Father who had brought their daughter to Harlem Hospital on August 4, 1987.

Between January 4 and January 7, 2011, NYPD detectives obtained DNA samples from the Mother, the Father, and the Victim. On January 18, 2011, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner concluded that the DNA samples matched.

On January 23, 2011, PETTWAY surrendered to authorities in Bridgeport, Connecticut. At that time, agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”) interviewed PETTWAY who told them that she had difficulty having her own children and had several miscarriages. PETTWAY admitted going to Harlem Hospital, taking the Victim with her by train to Bridgeport, and raising her there as her own. PETTWAY also admitted to trying to create a fake birth certificate for the Victim.

***

PETTWAY, 50, of Raleigh, North Carolina, faces a maximum sentence of life in prison. She is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Castel on May 14, 2012, at 11:00 a.m.

Mr. Bharara praised the work of the FBI and the NYPD in this case. He also extended his thanks to law enforcement authorities in North Carolina and Connecticut for their assistance.

This prosecution is being handled by the Office’s General Crimes Unit. Assistant United States Attorney Andrea L. Surratt is in charge of the prosecution.


http://www.fbi.gov/newyork/press-releases/2012/ann-pettway-pleads-guilty-in-manhattan-federal-court-to-the-1987-kidnapping-of-an-infant-from-harlem-hospital



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The details of that summer day in 1987 remind New Yorkers of what a different place the city was then. Murders were trending toward a historic high, with street crime ingrained as a fact of life.

Amid that chaos, a woman dressed in the white dress of a nurse took a stranger’s baby, hot with a fever; descended from the 17th floor of Harlem Hospital to the streets below; and walked away.

For all these years, only the woman knew what happened to the child, and what possessed her to commit such an act.

On Monday, some explanations were offered. A criminal complaint unsealed in Federal District Court in Manhattan charged a 44-year-old woman, Ann Pettway, with kidnapping the baby girl, Carlina White, now 23.

Ms. Pettway had surrendered to federal authorities on Sunday, and under questioning, admitted to taking the baby, telling friends and family that the girl was her own, an F.B.I. agent said. Ms. Pettway also provided insight into her state of mind, explaining that she was despondent after having had several miscarriages, according to the complaint.

“She did not believe she would ever be able to be a parent,” Special Agent Maria Johnson of the Crimes Against Children Squad of the F.B.I. said in the complaint.

Ms. White was not present in court for Ms. Pettway’s hearing on Monday, and nothing was said about her childhood or her second family. She was referred to only as “the victim.”

The crime as described in the complaint was chilling in its ease. Little Carlina, 19 days old, had a fever, and her distraught parents took her in a sleeveless shirt to Harlem Hospital.

Doctors delivered antibiotics through an intravenous solution injected into her foot and waited. At some points, Carlina’s parents may have gone home to rest.

Later, people would recall a heavy-set woman walking the halls in a smock and the white clothes of a nurse for weeks or even months. When questioned by staff members, the woman told different stories: that she was a nurse on the fourth floor, or that she was visiting a family on the 17th. She even gave a tissue to Carlina’s mother while consoling her over her sick child.

That woman was apparently Ms. Pettway, although the complaint made no mention of how long she had roamed the hospital, stating only that in the 1980s she “had difficulty having her own children and had suffered several miscarriages.”

The crime itself, on Aug. 4, 1987, sounds as simple as a bodega shoplifting. “Pettway took the victim without consent and brought her outside the hospital,” the complaint states. “When no one stopped Pettway, Pettway took the victim with her on a train to Pettway’s home in Bridgeport, Connecticut.”

Even in 1987, the abduction drew citywide attention, with reporters questioning the police and hospital officials for updates and leads that never came.

Arriving in Connecticut, Ms. Pettway told her family that the baby was her own and called the child Nejdra Nance. At some point, she tried to create a fraudulent birth certificate but failed, the complaint said.

“Pettway is sorry and knows that she has caused a lot of pain,” the complaint said.

When Carlina White, about to become a mother herself, wanted to see birth records, Ms. Pettway had none to share, instead offering a reason: She had taken Carlina from a woman who used drugs.

To the layman, Ms. Pettway has been charged, simply, with kidnapping, but the language of the actual charge accuses her of “knowingly and willfully” abducting “a person” for “ransom and reward and otherwise.” It is that last word — the “otherwise” — that Ms. Pettway appeared prepared to use as her defense, based on the comments of one of her lawyers outside court.

“She’s trusting all the true facts will come out,” the lawyer, Robert M. Baum, with Office of the Federal Public Defender, told reporters. “She will be looked at in a different light.”

Ms. Pettway, who has not yet been indicted, appeared alert and calm in court, wearing spectacles and conferring with her lawyers, in part to ask that her medicine for high blood pressure be delivered to jail. Mr. Baum said they would consider requesting bail in two weeks.

Three members from each of the two families embroiled in the case were present in the crowded courtroom. Carlina White’s biological father, Carl Tyson, and two supporters stared long and hard at the two men and one woman who were there in support of Ms. Pettway, but no words were exchanged.

As for Ms. White, she has not abandoned the woman she thought was her mother, Mr. Baum said. “The person you’ve identified as the victim is in fact with Ms. Pettway’s family,” he said.

Members of that family, including a cousin who is a minister, stood silently behind the lawyer. “They believe she has been and may continue to be for many years a good mother,” Mr. Baum said. “She has expressed remorse for what happened. She surrendered herself because of the remorseful feelings she was having.”

However, in recent weeks, as Ms. White has reunited with her biological parents, she has described to her new-found family a difficult upbringing.

News that Ms. White had surfaced touched off a storm of national attention and a search for Ms. Pettway by federal authorities and the police in several states.

On Saturday, Ms. Pettway went to Joe Davis Pawnbroker in Bridgeport. When she left, the clerk in the shop, who had seen her picture on television, called the police, who conducted a fruitless search. Ms. Pettway had apparently walked about a mile and a half to Stratford.

But after she, too, saw herself on television, she contacted the Bridgeport police, a law enforcement official said.

Ms. White has told relatives that she has long suspected that the family that raised her was not her own. But it was only this month when Ms. White turned to a Web site of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, that she discovered a photograph that matched an infant photo of herself.

In the course of the investigation in recent weeks, a DNA test was conducted to compare Carlina’s genetic makeup with that of Mr. Tyson and her mother, Joy White.

While the story behind and the legacy of her parenting will be hashed out in the months to come, the mathematical assessment of her parents’ identities was overwhelming.


http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/25/nyregion/25kidnap.html
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Re: Ann Pettway, Pleads Guilty in Manhattan Federal Court to the 1987 Kidnapping of an Infant from Harlem Hospital

Post  AnnaEsse on Mon 9 Jul - 11:40



The first minute or so of this video shows a woman whose baby has really been abducted.

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Baby abducted from hospital

Post  Not Born Yesterday on Mon 9 Jul - 14:53

I haven't forgotten the case of baby Alexandra Griffiths who was abducted in London in 1990 - it was heart-breaking to see her mother and family appealing for help. I can't find any reports at the time but here's one from last year.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1377522/Britains-Got-Talent-Kidnap-girl-Alex-Griffiths-dances-21-years-on.html
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