Detroit mother on daughter's kidnapping: 'She was snatched out of my arms'

Tonya Smith safe after being taken Tuesday night

DETROIT – Detroit mother Juanita Smith has gone through a wave of emotions in the last 24 hours.

“It’s been hell, especially having your baby kidnapped by someone you trusted, who’s supposed to be a friend of yours,” Smith told Local 4 Wednesday morning.

Her 5-month-old daughter, Tonya, was kidnapped the night before right out of her arms. 

Smith said a former friend, Michael Hunter, showed up unannounced at her home on Hoover.

I was holding her when she was snatched out of my arms. She was snatched out of my arms with just her T-shirt on,” Smith said. “He grabs her and takes off running down 7 Mile.”

Smith said she ran after Hunter for as long as she could before calling 911 and then police.

An Amber Alert was issued for the infant at about 3 a.m. Wednesday.

Smith said she was at the police station when Hunter called her. He told her he had seen his and the infant’s photos on the news.

“He said, ‘Can you just please call them off?’” Smith said.

An arrangement was made to meet him in the parking lot of an area CVS Pharmacy.  He surrendered the baby, and was arrested.

Sgt. Michael Woody said Tonya was checked over by medical professionals and was found to be in “perfect” health.


Hunter does not have a car, which is why a smartphone notification was not sent. 

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