01/20/2011 09:32 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Carlina White, Kidnapped As Infant, Reunited With Family 24 Years Later

After more than two decades, Carlina White met her family members who she hadn't seen since she was kidnapped from a hospital as an infant.

"We ate and talked and got to know each other ... I feel great," her mother, Joy White, told the Daily News. "I can sleep! I can definitely sleep now because this has been on my mind for so many years."

Carlina was raised in Bridgeport, Conn., under an alias, Nejdra Nance. Her kidnapper, who was a drug user, once beat her with a shoe and is is still the target of a police search, according to Joy.

Ever since she was 16, Carlina suspected that her "family" were not her blood relatives, according to Joy.

From the Daily News:

Carlina contacted an organization for missing and exploited children to follow up on her suspicions.

The girl's mother learned her daughter was still alive Jan. 4, when she received photos of the missing girl. A DNA match last night confirmed their ties, she said.

"I was screaming, I was so excited," Joy said. "As soon as I saw those pictures I said, 'That's my daughter.' I saw myself in her."

In 1987, a woman dressed as a nurse approached a then 16-year-old Joy in Harlem Hospital and told her, "don't cry. Everything's going to be alright."

Then the woman snatched baby Carlina and disappeared. The case has baffled the NYPD for more than 20 years.

When Carl Tyson, Carlina's father saw Carlina all grown up, he said, the tears started to flow.

"I already knew in my heart that this was my daughter," Tyson said. "All I could do is shed tears."

The New York Post notes that the kidnappers could face federal prosecution, since there's no statute of limitations for the kidnapping of a child under 18 as long as that child is still alive. The kidnappers have not yet been identified.