The "how" and "why" behind the 1987 kidnapping of Carlina White have begun to take shape, as a Manhattan federal court hears the case of Ann Pettway. Pettway admitted to abducting White from the hospital while dressed as a nurse because, after suffering multiple miscarriages, "she did not believe she would ever be able to be a parent," said an FBI agent. White's parents had brought the 19-day-old infant to the hospital to be treated for a fever; it’s unclear how long Pettway meandered the building before taking her.
Witnesses recalled seeing Pettway around the hospital for weeks, or even months; she told staff members she was a nurse on another floor, or visiting relatives. She even went so far as to offer a tissue to Carlina's mother, who was worried about her sick child, reports the New York Times. “When no one stopped her” after taking the baby, she headed to her Bridgeport, Conn., home by train. She told her own family the infant was her baby. “Pettway is sorry and knows that she has caused a lot of pain,” said the criminal complaint. But her family, said a defender, believes she “has been and may continue to be for many years a good mother.”