News: NYC Infant Reunited With Family After 23 Years
(Long Island, N.Y.)On Jan. 4th, 2011 twenty-three year old Nejdra Nance discovered what she had long suspected: that she was not the biological daughter of the family who raised her. DNA tests confirmed that Nance was the daughter of NYC resident Joy White and her ex-husband. The couple had been separated from their infant, Carolina White, twenty-three years ago.
On Aug. 4th, 1987, when White was just nineteen days old, she was brought to the pediatric ward of Harlem Hospital Center to be treated for a high fever. It’s believed that while her family settled to rest, a conspicuous woman posed as a nurse kidnapped the infant. The family later discovered that the woman was never employed at the hospital, but had previously lost a baby.
At the time, police had no concrete suspects or sufficient leads. The hospital had no surveillance tapes; there was nothing left behind but an empty crib.
White was brought to Bridgeport, Connecticut and raised in an abusive environment. She grew to resemble none of the people she considered family. She claims to have never believed she belonged with the family who raised her, and periodically searched the Internet for cases of missing persons.
Pregnant at sixteen, White questioned her fraudulent mother in order to obtain a birth certificate so she could receive the benefits of prenatal care. That’s when the woman-in-question allegedly told White that she wasn’t her real mother, inducing White to carry out a more extensive search.
Though she had previously searched the Internet for missing children in Connecticut, something prompted White to search for missing children in New York. She stumbled across a baby photo that bore a remarkable resemblance to her own daughter. She later compared her baby photos with those on the website, only to discover that the faces were identical. She then contacted Joy White, who she believed to be her mother.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children assisted in the reunion. White’s biological father had previously submitted contact information to their offices, and along with White’s mother, never gave up searching for the missing newborn. Ernie Allen, president of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, says White’s case sends a message of hope to all of the families that have undergone the agony the Whites had suffered prior to the miraculous discovery.
The FBI is considering taking White’s case in order to prosecute the woman responsible for her kidnapping. A federal case will insure that no statute of limitations be applied. Federal missing person’s cases can be charged, even if the child is found past the age of eighteen and alive.
Friends and relatives of White claim to want justice for what they say tore their family apart for twenty-three years. Though police don’t have enough for an arrest, they know that the woman in question has residences in both Connecticut and North Carolina. The family maintains that though their priority is in the reunion with their long-lost daughter, they will cooperate in doing whatever they can to send the woman to jail for the full extent of her crimes.
After White traveled to NYC to reunite with her family, she returned with her five-year-old daughter, Samani, to Atlanta, Georgia where she works as a dispatcher. Police are crediting White with all of the circumstances involved in her own rediscovery. Everyone involved with the case agrees that the miracle of the story came directly from White’s persistence and will to be reunited with the family she always believed in.