From the Lindbergh baby to Adam Walsh and Amber Hagerman, child abductions don’t often have happy endings. The headlines are heartbreaking, and even parents with no connection to the cases feel their hearts break, as they inevitably imagine what would happen if someone snatched their child.
Carlina White, sick with a fever, was taken from the maternity wing of a New York hospital when she was just nine days old in 1987. A mystery woman who had been hanging around the hospital for weeks disguised as a nurse was ultimately believed to be responsible for snatching the newborn. A reward was offered for the baby’s safe return, but it never came to pass.
As it turns out, Carlina was taken to Connecticut and then Atlanta, where she was given a new name — Nejdra — and raised by a new family. Nejdra always suspected she wasn’t who her family said she was, and had never seen her birth certificate or social security card, which meant she was unable to obtain a driver’s license. So she started looking on websites for missing children, and found some that looked like her. And after a few phone calls and a DNA test, Carlina was reunited with her biological family last weekend.
Jaycee Lee Duggard, Elizabeth Smart, and now Carlina White are among those whose tragic kidnapping stories have happy endings. Most kidnappings in the United States are at the hands of parents taking their own children, often as a result of a divorce or separation. A study by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention in 1999 reported that 53 percent of family abducted children were gone less than one week, and 21 percent were gone one month or more.
Only a very small number of kidnappings are like Carlina White’s, in which a stranger snatches a baby to raise as their own. Those particular crimes are often premeditated.
While Carlina White obviously missed out on being with her real family for the first 23 years of her life, at least she’ll have the rest of her life to spend with them. Here’s hoping other similar stories end just as happily.
Source: ABC News and Wikipedia