Ann Pettway turned herself in to agents in Connecticut after her "daughter" Carlina White tracked down her real birth parents and was reunited with them last week, Bridgeport, Conn., police Detective Keith Bryant tells PEOPLE.
Pettway was scheduled to appear in federal court in New York City on Monday to face federal kidnapping charges.
White's biological father, Carl Tyson, tells PEOPLE the arrest of Pettway is "really emotional for me."
"I would just love to speak to her, to see her and talk to her and ask her, 'Why?' That's all I want," he says. "Whatever the state or the feds, however they prosecute her, that's up to them. I would just like to ask her, 'Why?'"
An arrest warrant had been issued on Friday in North Carolina for Pettway and she was spotted the next day at a pawnshop in Bridgeport by employees who recognized her from news reports.
Pettway was wanted in the 1987 kidnapping of 19-day-old Carlina from a New York City hospital. Carlina was abducted by a phony nurse, and then raised in Bridgeport, under the name Nejdra Nance, by Pettway, according to authorities.
Around her 16th birthday, Carlina began to believe she wasn't Pettway's daughter – which Pettway then allegedly admitted. Carlina found her birth mother with the help of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children Web site, and DNA tests confirmed she was indeed the baby abducted in 1987.