Kidnapped as an infant from a Bronx hospital and raised in Connecticut, Carlina tracked down her birth parents and joyfully reunited with them last month after a 23-year separation. Only now, says Joy White, she is again estranged from her daughter, as was revealed in a teary interview on Tuesday's Today show.
"It's been pretty tough," said White. "I wanted to have a relationship with my daughter." She now feels like she has lost her daughter twice, and Carlina has, according to her birth mother, grown distant and mercenary. Carlina White would not comment to Today and will only speak for money, it was reported.
Once the discovery of Carlina's true background was made – she had contacted the hotline of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children – Carlina, who was going by the name Nejdra Nance, came to the Bronx to meet her birth parents. After a four-day reunion, Carlina returned to Atlanta, where she lives, then came back to the Bronx a day later to be photographed and tell her story to the New York Post, Today's Meredith Vieira reported.
"I was on such a high when I was reunited with my daughter," said Joy White "I was floating on air. Everything seemed so great."
But on the second visit it could be detected that Carlina acted distant, according to Joy, who also admitted there may have been a loyalty conflict brought on by pressure from the other family of Carlina – who has gone back to using the name Nejdra Nance.
"It really hurts," said Joy White, who described herself as "heartbroken, but I do understand that is her family. She was brought up by them. She's with that family. That's all she knows. [But] I'm her mother. It hurts not to have my daughter. I want her back."
There are also questions about a $750,000 settlement Joy White and Carl Tyson received from the hospital after the kidnapping. White said a major portion of that money was put into trust for Carlina until the time she turned 21. As she is now 23, the money is "gone," said White. "We both had to live." She also has two other children.
"I'm disappointed, because this was a miracle that happened. It's mind-blowing," said White. "It hurts me that it's about money."
Presenting a conflicting view on CBS's The Early Show on Tuesday, Carl Tyson, birth father of Carlina, said, "I speak to my daughter every morning and text her." He made no mention of any problems, except for the distance between him and Atlanta. "I just wish she were close to me," he said.
In other developments surrounding the case, NBC News reported that FBI and law authorities were tipped off six years ago about Carlina's situation but failed to follow through. In addition, alleged kidnapper Ann Pettway is facing a delay of at least two more weeks in a grand jury's decision in her case.