Tom Joyner Morning Show commentator Jacque Reid went “Inside her Story” with Dr. Noelle Hunter, a mother who is asking for people to sign a petition to get her daughter Maayimuna ‘Muna’ N’Diaye home. Muna was illegally kidnapped by her father and taken to Mali, West Africa on December 27, 2011. Hunter has not seen her daughter in person in 434 days.
Read the full interview below and find out more about this sad story. To help in Dr. Hunter’s fight, please sign the petition here.
TOM JOYNER : And from our New York studios let’s go Inside Her Story with Jacque Reid. Good morning, Jacque.
JACQUE REID : Good morning, Tom. Listen, a heartbreaking story for you this morning. In 2011 Doctor Noelle Hunter went to meet her ex-husband at a local McDonald’s in Kentucky to pick up their five year old daughter, Muna. Now the two parents have court ordered joint custody, but when she went to meet her ex on that day he never showed up, Tom. Doctor Hunter soon found out that her ex had kidnapped her daughter and taken her to Mali, a nation in West Africa where her ex has plenty of family, that’s where he’s from, a family that is very wealthy by Mali standards. Now she’s had no contact with her daughter since then. Now I’m going Inside Her Story with Noelle Hunter who is hoping to get President Obama’s attention with a White House petition that requires, Tom, 100,000 signatures. And she has to have those signatures by next week. Good morning, Noelle.
NOELLE HUNTER: Good morning. Good morning, and thank you for having me.
JACQUE REID : Now listen, the last time you saw your husband you say you had a feeling he was going to try to take your daughter. How did you know that?
NOELLE HUNTER: I did. It was just the way that he behaved when I dropped Muna off at the McDonald’s. He asked me for her U.S. passport, which the judge ordered that I keep because we thought that he would be a flight risk with her. He was very rude to me and very brusque. And when I refused to give him the passport he just sped off and at that moment I knew that he was going to find some other way to take her out of the country without my permission.
JACQUE REID : And there was nothing you could do at that moment?
SYBIL WILKES : Could you alert authorities or anything at that point?
NOELLE HUNTER: Well, there was nothing I could do at that moment because he still had a full week with her, so by the court standards nothing was wrong. Even when she didn’t show up I immediately called my attorney, I immediately called the local police and they basically said there’s nothing that we can do until he doesn’t show up with her on New Year’s Day.
TOM JOYNER : Didn’t she have to have a Visa to get to Mali?
NOELLE HUNTER: She should have. Either, one of two things happened, either – the United States has no exit controls, and so she very well could have left the country without alerting anybody to the fact that she was being abducted illegally. Or because she is a dual citizen of both the United States and of Mali, she probably, as the Mali Embassy later told me, she didn’t need a passport or a Visa to enter her own country.
TOM JOYNER : Now I know you’re trying to get the President to get involved, but that’s domestic. Domestic affairs. Or personal affairs.
JACQUE REID : Well, what can the President do, Tom? Noelle?
TOM JOYNER : Yeah, what can the President do?
NOELLE HUNTER: Well, I mean that’s a very good question, and that’s one of the problems that we are trying to overcome with the petition. The President is still the most powerful, you know, executive officer here and widely regarded abroad. He has the power to delegate, in this case, to Secretary of State John Kerry to employ all diplomatic means possible. He also has the power to delegate to Attorney General Eric Holder the responsibility to issue a parental kidnapping warrant which will allow us to monitor any potential exits in and out of this country of him or his family.
SYBIL WILKES : Now I know in the past …
JACQUE REID : Now in Mali right now there’s some dangerous activity going on with Al Qaeda and other things. Are you concerned about her safety?
NOELLE HUNTER: I am. I was driving home from work one day and I was listening to NPR and I heard them say that France had launched a bombardment in Mali to try do drive back Al Qaeda who were steadily encroaching up on the capital where my daughter is in Monaco. So every day I worry about that. Now the French have with Mali, and with U.S. support, which is why the President can’t get involved, they have pushed back some of Al Qaeda going through Mali, but it’s still a very real fear and a very real possibility. And I don’t know. I don’t know whether if Muna knows if her mom is alive or dead. And that I have to fight. And the President can do things about it. That’s why he has the petition online.
SYBIL WILKES : And what about your ex-husband? Does he have any affiliations with any of the groups that might be fighting?
NOELLE HUNTER: You know, I do not know that. And there’s so much uncertainty here, and that’s why it has been 434 days since I have seen her, 14 months. And aside from three photos that the Embassy in Monaco, our U.S. Embassy has sent to me, I have no idea how she is. And I’m committed with every fiber of my being to bringing her home. And the President is a part of that. I didn’t just start with the President. We started at the local level with law enforcement and a warrant. At the State level I now have a full custody. At the Federal level the FBI have been involved to identify when and where they exited. And Congress, my Kentucky delegation, has been pressuring the Mali embassy here to act. The only place to go is at the top, and the President does, I love him very much, but he does have the power to act here.
JACQUE REID : So you’re saying the Embassy has met with her, and they sent you pictures of her recently?
NOELLE HUNTER: They have. They have. Yeah.
JACQUE REID : How recent?
NOELLE HUNTER: The most recent one I got was February 24th. And one of the things that the report said that came along with it is she’s now taking pills for Malaria. So she was abducted from the United States to a country where Malaria is endemic and kills lots of children before the age of five. She’s there. And that’s why I need the people, you know, I need Tom Joyner listeners to please help me bring her home by signing the petition.
TOM JOYNER : Okay.
JACQUE REID : Now the petition is where, Noelle?
NOELLE HUNTER: You can find a link to it at her website. It’s mission4muna, M-I-S-S-I-O-N, the number 4, M-U-N-A; mission4muna.com. And also blackandmissing, bamifi.org. They have a link to the petition. We need the help so badly.
JACQUE REID : And it does take a little bit of effort, you guys, to fill out the petition.
NOELLE HUNTER: It does.
JACQUE REID : But, you know, don’t be discouraged by the process.
NOELLE HUNTER: Thank you. And I’m not discouraged. I am fully committed. And people always ask, you know; how do you go on? It is the strength of the Lord that keeps me, and a lot of good people who are helping us.
JACQUE REID : Good bless you. All right. Noelle Hunter, we wish you all the best, we’ll be watching to find out what happens next.
NOELLE HUNTER: Thank you. Thank you so much.
JACQUE REID : Thank you.
(Photo courtesy of mission4muna.com )