Detroit man charged in kidnapping of 5-month-old

Holly Fournier and James David Dickson
The Detroit News

A 21-year-old Detroit man has been charged in an east side kidnapping earlier this week that prompted an Amber Alert, according to the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office.

Michael Hunter was arraigned Friday in 36th District Court on felony kidnapping/child enticement charges, which carries a penalty of up to life in prison.

Hunter’s bond was set at $1 million cash.

Authorities contend Hunter went to his ex-girlfriend’s home around 10:50 p.m. Tuesday on the 19100 block of Hoover near East Seven Mile. During an argument, he snatched 5-month-old Tonya Smith from her mother’s arms and fled, authorities said.

Hunter previously dated the infant’s mother, but the woman had tried to break up with him, police said. When she wouldn’t answer phone calls or return messages, Hunter showed up at the home and took the baby, police said.

Hunter is not the child’s father, police said.

As the kidnapping unfolded, the baby’s mother tried to give chase but was unable to keep up, police said.

She had to turn back and get her phone to call police, who responded to the scene and issued an Amber Alert. No emergency message was issued to phones because there was no car associated with the alleged abduction, said Sgt. Sarah Krebs, Amber Alert coordinator for Michigan State Police.

Undercover police officers said they found Hunter the day after the kidnapping, walking with the baby on Goulburn just before 8 a.m.

Krebs said Hunter saw himself on the news and called the baby’s mother, asking her to call off the Amber Alert. She talked him into meeting her at a nearby CVS. Police arrested him en route to that meeting.

After the baby was recovered, Krebs said the way the case unfolded shows the value of the Amber Alert system.

“Not only do the citizens that help us see the alert and call in tips, but often the suspects themselves see it, too,” Krebs said.

Hunter is due back in court June 24 for a probable cause conference. His preliminary examination is set for June 29.

(313) 223-4616


Staff writer Nicquel Terry contributed