Case dismissed against man who triggered Amber Alert

James David Dickson
The Detroit News

Charges were dropped Tuesday against a 21-year-old man accused of kidnapping his estranged girlfriend’s 5-month-old daughter, triggering an Amber Alert earlier this month.

The kidnapping/child enticement charge against Michael Hunter was dismissed by 36th District Judge Shannon Holmes, whose office confirmed that the dismissal happened during Hunter’s preliminary examination.

Maria Miller, spokeswoman for the Wayne County’s Prosecutor’s office, said in a statement the case was dismissed because the mother of toddler Tonya Smith failed to appear for the hearing. Miller said Holmes dismissed the case without prejudice, meaning prosecutor’s could refile the charges at a later time.

The Amber Alert was triggered just before 11 p.m. on June 14. Hunter arrived at his girlfriend’s home in the 19100 block of Hoover near East Seven Mile after she had been ignoring his phone calls and text messages. Police said he was told that she didn’t want to be with him anymore. Sometime during their argument, Hunter picked up the baby and walked out the front door.

Tonya’s mother tried to give chase, but was unable to keep up.

The child’s mother alerted authorities who soon issued an Amber Alert. It was only after seeing himself on the alert early the next morning, police say, that Hunter arranged a meeting with the woman. When he arrived, police were waiting and he was arrested without incident. Hunter was arraigned and given a $1 million bond.

Michigan State Police Sgt. Sarah Krebs, the Amber Alert coordinator for Michigan, who learned of the dismissal Tuesday afternoon, said “a lot of people don’t understand the consequences of starting an Amber Alert.

“Amber Alerts bring law enforcement out of the woodwork to assist; it’s unfortunate in the aftermath (of the incident) that someone wouldn’t be willing to move forward with prosecution,” Krebs said.

Detroit Police could not immediately be reached for comment.