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A woman has been sent to prison for 12 years for stealing a child out of the hospital way back in 1987. Ann Pettway is going to spend some time behind bars for committing an unthinkable crime that has every mother shuddering in fear. The baby was stolen from the Harlem Hospital, where 3 week old Carlina White was led to believe that the woman who kidnapped her was her biological mom.
The baby had been brought to the emergency room for a high fever. Prosecutors also alleged that Pettway wanted the baby “and constructed a web of lies that denied the child the truth about her family for 23 years.”
Authorities recommended 10 – 12 years in prison for Pettway. They tried to get a longer sentence after finding out more things about the case that they believed called for a longer sentence. But the judge gave Pettway 12 years and left it at that.
Prosecutors claimed that the wannabe mother “brazenly took the daughter from a hospital crib and, when no one stopped her, brought the baby home with her to Connecticut. If the offense had ended there, in 1987, a lengthy sentence of imprisonment would have been warranted for kidnapping alone. But the offense did not end there. Instead it continued for 23 years.”
Carlina found her real parents by searching on the Internet. She grew up feeling that something wasn’t right and found out that it was all wrong all along. She then located her real family and reunited with them in New York.
Joy White, Carlina’s biological mother, was livid over the shortened sentence and felt that Pettway deserved more time in prison.
“I’ve lost 23 years of being with my daughter,” she said.
Pettway said this in court to try to explain her behavior.
“I went to the hospital. I took a child. It was wrong.”
“Because of my actions so many lives were hurt,” she said in a handwritten letter.
“All I can do now is ask forgiveness from her and her parents. It may not sound correct on paper but I am hopelessly SORRY,” she wrote. “My action led to such a huge loss for her parents, but there is nothing I can do to right this wrong that I committed.”
She says that she failed to seek counseling for her own trauma due to failed pregnancies in the past.