Carlina White reunites with birth family after kidnapping

Photo of children sitting on a park bench, parents nearby.

Carlina White's story has inspired other families with missing children. (Photo Credit: CC BY-SA/Nikolai/The Siberian city Omsk)

When Carlina White was an infant, a woman posing as a nurse snatched her from Harlem Hospital in New York City. That was Aug. 4, 1987. On Jan. 4, 2011, White, who believed her name was Nejdra Nance, reunited with her birth family, reports the Associated Press. White’s kidnapping investigation had gone cold years ago because authorities weren’t able to collect enough evidence to charge any suspects.

Carlina White saw her photos on a missing children website

Carlina White, 23, who had been raised in Bridgeport, Conn., and was living in Atlanta, contacted biological mother Joy White after noticing that her baby pictures looked almost identical to the photos Joy White had posted on a national missing children website. Carlina had felt that something wasn’t right, and seeing the photos prompted her to act.

“She said she just had a feeling; she felt different from the people raising her,” said said Carlina White’s maternal grandmother, Elizabeth White, 71.

Joy White immediately contacted the New York Police Department, and the investigation resumed after years of inactivity. DNA tests performed on Carlina White, Joy White and ex-husband Carl Tyson proved the match. Retired detectives who had worked the Carlina White case from the beginning were also interviewed.

As Carlina White was so young at the time of her kidnapping, she is uncertain whether she lived with the same family the entire time she was gone. White’s biological family haven’t pushed her to remember, as she is still in process of dealing with the shock of discovery.

The long road to recovery

Carlina White and family will face a long, hard road to recovery, said a father named Anthony Russini whose biological son, Matthew Propp, was abducted as a toddler and was missing for decades before resurfacing. Propp, now a 30-year-old firefighter in Albuquerque, N.M., was born in 1979 to Russini and his teen girlfriend. The young couple put Propp up for adoption. Barry and Judith Smiley were interested in adopting the boy, but Russini objected to the couple. This led to the Smileys abducting Matthew Propp from Long Island, N.Y.

Despite what happened, Matthew Propp has remained supportive of the Smileys. Judith died in 2009, and Barry currently lives with Propp and his family. Barry Smiley still holds out hope that Propp will bond with his biological parents, as Carolina White is trying to do now.



New York Daily News

Today Show coverage of Carlina White’s recovery

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