Carlina White’s story is equal parts unusual and compelling, and Lifetime has capitalized on the real-life drama with a new television movie that brings the amazing story to life.
The network aired Abducted: The Carlina White Story, the tale of 19-day-old kidnapped from the hospital when her parents bring her in to treat a fever. After being raised by her abductors, Carlina White suffers several miscarriages,and, when she finally becomes pregnant, she starts to uncover the truth about her background.
After investigating where she came from, Carlina learns that the woman who raised her, Ann Pettway, is not her real mother. Carlina eventually finds her true birth parents, Joy White and Carl Tyson.
The television movie, which aired in conjunction with an hour-long documentary about Carlina White, has earned good reviews. Crushable noted:
“It tells a true, compelling story in a manner which avoids the network’s typical corniness. That’s due in part to the performances of stars Keke Palmerand Sherri Shepherd. While there are plenty of loose ends and clichéd moments, the movie doesn’t reek of Lifetime cheese.”
Sherri Shepherd, the star of Abducted: The Carlina White Story, said the she remembers hearing about the reunion between Carlina White and her birth parents.
Shepherd, who played Joy White in the movie, told the New York Daily News:
“I remember thinking, ‘How could that happen?’ And I was thinking from the perspective of Joy White, because I have a 7-year-old, oh my gosh, what would I do if somebody woke me up and said, ‘Somebody stole your son.’ And how did she cope year after year after year with her daughter not being with her.”
The movie also shows in detail the daring kidnapping of Carlina White, which took place on August 4, 1987, at Harlem Hospital Center. A woman dressed as a nurse comforted Joy White, but that woman turned out to be Ann Pettway, who snatched Carlina and raised her as her own child in Bridgeport, Connecticut under the name Nejdra Nance.
It goes on to show Carlina White cracking the case of her kidnapping herself by searching through pictures of kidnapped babies until she found one that looked like her. After a call to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and a DNA test, it was confirmed that Carlina White belonged to Joy and dad Carl Tyson.