By Debbie Emery – Radar Reporter
The 50-year-old from Raleigh, Durham pleaded guilty in February to kidnapping, saying she took a train from her Connecticut home to Harlem Hospital in 1987 where she stole three-week-old Carlina White, who had been brought to the emergency room with a fever.
As part of Pettway’s plea bargain, prosecutors recommended 10 to 12 1/2 years in prison. But they raised the suggested sentence to 20 years last week, saying the Probation Department had unearthed new facts about the case that made a stiffer sentence more appropriate, reported the New York Daily News.
RadarOnline.com previously reported that it was 24-year-old Carlina – who was raised under the name Nejdra Nance – who helped solve her own mystery after growing “very suspicious of who she was and what family raised her,” according to NYPD Lt. Christopher Zimmerman when the story first broke in January 2011.
She subsequently began researching her background online, and soon contacted the Center for Missing And Exploited Children.
Officials from the agency began working with New York police, around the same time Nance contacted Joy White to compare her baby photos to those White had posted on a missing children’s website. Upon seeing the photos, Nance told White she thought she was her long lost daughter – and DNA records proved her right!
After initially going on the run from the cops, Pettway turned herself in to the the police in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and pleaded “not guilty” to federal kidnapping.
Carlina’s biological father, Carl Tyson, was present in the Manhattan District Court on Monday, where he was disappointed with the sentencing.
“I’ve been suffering for the past 23 years. I wanted to reach over there and really strangle her to be honest with that’s the way I felt,” said Tyson, reported the New York Post.
“I’ll never get back what was taken from me. I’m not really going to get what I want because I can’t get back the time I lost.”
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