Carlina White, Ann Pettway: Watch “Abducted The Carlina White Story’–Lifetime True Story Movie Revisited With Timeline


Carlina White, aka Nejdra Nance and Carlina Netty, is a black woman whose life story became a Lifetime movie. Abducted: The Carlina White Story is a true story movie based on the 1987 Carlina White abduction by kidnapper Ann Pettway. The movie, Abducted: The Carlina White Story, first-aired on Saturday, October 6, 2012, on the Lifetime Network, and it continues to air on that channel periodically. 
Abducted: The Carlina White Story Lifetime True-Story Movie Review Synopsis
Based on a true story, a woman on the hunt for information about her birth is shocked to see her baby photo on a website for missing children. A DNA test confirms her identity. And everything she thought she knew about the mother who raised her turns out to be wrong.

Carlina White-Ann Pettway True Story Timeline

July 15, 1987
Joy White and Carl Tyson welcome a baby girl named Carlina Renae White. They are living at 3150 Broadway in Manhattan, New York. Ann Pettway is in Harlem, New York. After failing several miscarriages with different lovers, she is depressed that she is unable to have a baby. She becomes desperate and decides to pose as a nurse at Harlem Hospital in New York.
  • Several nursing staff members and patients see the nurse walking around the hospital as she speaks to some of the patients’ families. At least two hospital employees ask who she is and what she is doing there.  Ann Pettway tells a nurse she has family there. But she tells patients and visitors she’s a nurse on the 4th floor.
August 4: Joy White, 16, and Carl Tyson rush their 20-day old baby girl, Carlina Renae White, to the ER at Harlem Hospital. She is running a 103-degree fever. Joy White is upset and frightened about her sick baby. A strange black woman dressed as a nurse appears on the 17th floor and consoles her, stating “Don’t cry. Everything’s going to be all right.”
  • At 3 a.m., when no one is watching, the fake nurse disconnects the tubes from baby Carlina’s body and leaves the 17th floor of Harlem hospital. Pandemonium sets in. The hospital staff frantically searches for the baby. Finally, a helicopter search is launched.
  • When she arrives at her home in Bridgeport, Connecticut, Annugetta Pettway changes Carlina’s name to Nejdra Nance and raises her as her own. Ann’s family suspect something strange. They ask questions, noting that Nejdra “Neddie” Nance looks nothing like Ann, they would recall later, the New York Daily News reported.
  • Police search for a woman who has been seen in the hospital for several months. She’s described as a heavyset female with hair under her chin. Thirty-one-year-old Lucy Brockington from Baltimore, Maryland, fits the description of the abductor and is questioned. It turns out to be a false lead.

August 27
The city offers a $10,000 reward for any information leading to the whereabouts of Carlina “Netty” White. Joy White is devastated. Her emotional condition is fragile. The disappearance causes a strain on her relationship with Carlina White’s biological father.
Elizabeth Joy White and Carl Tyson file a 100-million dollar civil suit in Manhattan District Court.
Joy White and Carl Tyson receive a $750,000 settlement.
Ann Pettway gives birth to a boy and raises him with Nejdra. Due to mental illness and substance abuse, Ann Pettway’s life is in chaos. She’s arrested several times while raising Nejdra “Netty” Carlina.
Nejdra “Netty” Nance (Neddie Nance) is around 17-years-old and is about to give birth to a child. She needs her birth certificate to apply for prenatal care. Again, she questions Ann Pettway about her birth certificate which she has never seen.
  • Ann tells Carlina White she was adopted. Immediately, Carlina knows something is not right. After giving birth to her daughter, they continue to live with Ann Pettway for the next two years.
    • Joy White and Carl Tyson haven’t forgotten about their precious baby Carlina. They are heavily disappointed to find out the Manhattan attorney who represented them in their civil suit has taken about $6000 from their daughter’s trust fund. The attorney, Richard Wertis, is disbarred. Over $160,000 is saved for Carlina in the event she is ever located.

Carlina White (Nejdra Nance) moves into her own apartment with her bundle of joy.

Spring of 2010
Ann Pettway works at Belk department store but is placed on probation for trying to embezzle money. Belk security accuses her of stealing clothes and cash.
January 2011
Carlina White is in Atlanta, Georgia. She reflects on her life and continues to battle strange feelings about the circumstances surrounding her birth. While surfing the web, she happens upon a website for missing and exploited children. Carlina is stunned when she finds a baby photo that looks just like her baby picture. The baby in the photo also looks like her daughter.
Placing a call to the center, Carlina White tells them she believes the baby in the photo is her. A DNA test is taken. Her biological parents are contacted. A while later, the DNA test comes back a match.
  • The case hits the news. Headlines read “Woman Missing for 23 Years Found!” This is a high profile case.

January 21, 2011
A warrant is issued for the arrest of Ann Pettway for violation of parole.
January 23, 2011
Ann Pettway, with the help of a friend and cop, turns herself into police after making arrangements for her family to care for her son.
February 17
Ann Pettway is indicted by a federal grand jury.
February 10, 2012
Ann Pettway pleads guilty to kidnapping.
July 30. 2012
Ann Pettway is sentenced to 12 years of incarceration.
    • Overwhelmed by the media attention, Carlina White distances herself from the case almost immediately. Later, a movie deal comes her way.

Ann Pettway’s Psychological Report indicates the following

    • *She was depressed and suffering from mental illness due to various miscarriages and two stillborn births.
    • *She was emotionally and physically abused as a child. The parents were described by Ann Pettway’s sister, Cassandra, as Southern parents who used belts and extension cords to spank them. There was also an instance of (S—Abuse).
    • The one thing that was most important to Ann Pettway was to become a mother. She was diagnosed as severely depressed with psychotic and delusional features.

Notes on Carlina White’s Childhood and whether or not Ann Pettway Abused her

  • By all accounts, Nejdra Nance aka Carlina White’s upbringing was fine. Ann Pettway was a loving and responsive parent who was not abusive. According to Ann’s then-fourteen-year-old son, she provided a loving home. Carlina White and Ann Pettway had a very close relationship.
  • However, when the case first broke, there were reports that Ann was abusive, according to Carlina. She later changed her statements. Those who followed the case from the very beginning will remember Carlina referring to Ann as “that lady.” The truth mostly like is—Ann Pettway was somewhat abusive in terms of spanking her children like many Southern parents used to do. But she also cared for them and raised them as a mother.
Carlina White Reunion with Biological Parents Joy White and Carl Tyson

Joy White and Carl Tyson reunited with Carlina in New York. According to the New York Daily News, there was a big family dinner, where they ate lasagna and curry chicken. Joy White and her family couldn’t contain their happiness. For a while, Carlina was communicating with her father, Carl, every day.

  • However, according to Joy White, once Carlina found out the money that had been set aside for her was gone, the happy reunion was short-lived. She became estranged from her biological parents. She continues to use the name Nejdra Nance and Carlina Netty. There was a lot of resentment, pain, and family drama going on behind the scene that did not play out in the media.

A family member made the following statement on a news site when the story broke. The comments have since been removed. We saved it.

“Carlina told Joy and Carl, ‘You guys abandoned me why should I come back to new york?’ She does not want to have nothing to do with her parent because there’s no money. Trust fund is gone. Carlina text her mother over and over asking about the money and the 10,000 reward money****** and she stated that Ann Pettway abuse her and mistreated her. Carlina have been so rude to the Tyson and Whites family as if we had kidnapped her …..she won’t even let them know she in town.”

UPDATE 2019: A follower of Carlina’s Instagram page says it appears she has made up with her bio mom, Joy White.



[Traciy Curry-Reyes captured this photo of Ann Pettway from Ann Pettway’s Facebook page, which shut down days after her arrest.


According to Carl Tyson, Carlina’s birth certificate reads “Carlina Renee Tyson.” Newspapers in 1987 sometimes printed the name as Carlina Renee White-Tyson.
Ann Pettway’s Facebook page has since been removed. It stayed up for a couple of months after her arrest.  
Carlina White’s Facebook fan page is here.
Abducted: The Carlina White Story—a true story movie, airs Friday, August 8, 2019, at 10 p.m. on Lifetime Movie Network.
[Image via Facebook]

Traciy Curry-Reyes

Traciy Curry-Reyes is the founder and editor-in-chief of TV Crime Sky. She began her career as a true crime & entertainment freelance writer in the 1990's for her website, The Movies Based on True Stories Database/Archives. She has contributed content to other websites, such as and Traciy also appears as a true-crime expert and commentator on TV One's Fatal Attraction, For My Man, and Justice by Any Means; Investigation Discovery's Murder Calls and Scorned; Oxygen's Snapped; FOX's Crime Watch Daily; and Lifetime Television's Killer Kids.