The family of Ann Pettway, the woman who confessed to kidnapping Carlina White 23 years ago, has asked for compassion following Pettway's arraignment.
"We say listen, the Whites, we're sorry this happened, but at the same time too, have some compassion for our relative," Brian Pettway, a cousin of Ann Pettway, said.
That sounded like a bold request for the biological family of Carlina White.
"You didn't take a bike. You took somebody's child, so this ain't no remorse. I can take your bike and give it back to you the next day, you are okay, but not a child," Shannon Tyson, the uncle of Carlina White, told the Associated Press.
Pettway, 49, was arraigned on one federal kidnapping charge in Manhattan federal court Monday. She is being held without bail. Pettway told officials that she is "truly sorry," according to the criminal complaint filed Monday.
Carlina White's biological father, Carl Tyson, doesn't believe that Pettway is sorry.
"She took [Carlina] for 23 years. Let her get the same amount of time," Carl Tyson told the New York Post.
If convicted, Pettway faces a maximum sentence of life in prison and a minimum sentence of 20 years in prison.
Pettway confessed to the FBI that she kidnapped Carlina White on Aug. 4, 1987 from Harlem Hospital after enduring several miscarriages.
"Pettway was dealing with the stress of trying to be a mom and had had several miscarriages. She did not believe she would ever be able to be a parent," according to a court document filed by FBI Special Agent Maria Johnson who interviewed Pettway. Johnson is a member of the FBI's Crimes Against Children Squad.
Pettway's attorney, Robert Baum, plans to obtain her hospital records and review her medical history.
"She's concerned about the impact this has on all the members of her family, but she is trusting that all the true facts will come out and when they do, she will be looked at in a very different light," Baum said.
The woman who raised White told authorities that she tried to create a fake birth certificate for her, renaming her Nejdra Nance, but was unable to create a fake document that appeared real, according to court documents.
The lack of a birth certificate was one of the things that made Carlina White suspicious that something was not right. According to court documents, when White asked Pettway for her birth certificate, the woman lied, saying she didn't have one because White had been given to her by a woman who used drugs.
White ultimately discovered that she had been kidnapped as a baby by searching missing children web sites, and earlier this year was finally reunited with her real family.
White's parents, Joy White and Carl Tyson, had taken their feverish daughter to the hospital 23 years ago. Pettway posed as a nurse, took the baby from the couple and pretended to take her for treatment. The couple didn't see their daughter until earlier this month when White's true identity was established.
"Pettway took the victim from the victim's family and this was totally unacceptable. Pettway is truly sorry," according to Johnson's court document.