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U.S. Attorney Expects Guilty Plea From Ann Pettway, Charged With Kidnapping Baby 24 Years Ago

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Ann Pettway, charged with kidnapping a newborn baby from a Manhattan hospital more than 20 years ago, is expected to plead guilty when she appears in federal court Friday, CBS 2's Sean Hennessey reports.

On a summer day in 1987, the lives of two Bronx parents were shattered. Joy White, just at the time, told CBS 2 then that her baby, Carlina, was kidnapped from Harlem Hospital by a woman posing as a nurse.

"Just give me my baby back. Please, I just want her back," she said soon after the kidnapping. "She was trying to get rid of me so she could take my baby away from me, but I didn't realize it."

As the parents and police searched, the little girl was raised 50 miles away in Bridgeport, Conn., by Pettway, who gave the infant a new name. But Carlina had suspicions of her mom as they didn't look anything alike, and Pettway couldn't produce any of Carlina's birth records when she became pregnant as a teen.

Carlina's fears were confirmed when she found her own baby picture next to a computer generated image from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

The Center tracked down her real mother, and Carlina, having solved her own cold case, found her way home.

"I could tell it was Carlina before even they did the DNA. I said 'that's Carlina because she has her father's eyes,'" said Elizabeth White, Carlina's grandmother.

While there was joy, there was also sadness over the lost years that can never be replaced.

"She was broken. She was broken for so long," said Carl Tyson, Carlina's father.

Last January, Pettway turned herself in to the FBI and was charged with felony kidnapping. The missing child's parents saw her in court.

"Why? I just want to know why? That's all I want to know," Tyson said.

Prosecutors said Pettway admitted to the kidnapping after suffering several miscarriages, and was desperate to be a mother. Pettway said she was sorry and acknowledged she caused a lot of pain.

Pettway faces up to 20 years in prison, but White's family said she should serve 23 years, the same amount of time their girl was missing.

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