Aug. 31, 2012 — Nearly 30 people walked by candlelight Monday night in honor of five-year-old Maayimuna N’Diaye’s birthday.
The event, “A Little Walk to Light Her Way Home,” also marked the eight-month anniversary of the little girl’s abduction.
“My daughter, Rysa, and I were deeply moved by the turnout for Muna's birthday vigil,” said Noelle Hunter. “As car after car pulled into the parking lot, we knew that it was going to be a special night and it was.”
Participants walked around the block where Maayimuna once lived with her mother.
Hunter says her daughter enjoyed the daily walks after preschool.
Now, Hunter spends her spare time raising awareness about her daughter’s situation, and trying to bring Muna back home.
Hunter says N’Diaye left the country with their daughter against a judge’s order.
N’Diaye has U.S. permanent residency status and Maayimuna is a dual citizen of the U.S. and the West African nation of Mali.
According to Hunter, Rowan Circuit Judge William Lane ordered N’Diaye and Hunter to share joint custody.
Lane ordered Hunter to retain her daughter’s U.S. passport. N’Diaye flew the girl to Bamako, the capital of Mali, on Dec. 27 and has not returned.
N’Diaye is charged with a Class D felony that carries a one-to-five year prison sentence. A warrant has been issued charging him with custodial interference.
Hunter says her ex-husband and their daughter are in the National Crime Information Computer (NCIC) and Interpol. Notices have been issued for both.
The Center for Missing and Exploited Children is circulating posters with information about the abduction.
“Our church family, county officials, friends, neighbors and even a few strangers helped us lift a song in the night for her return home and I know we are one step closer to that day,” Hunter said.
Nicole Sturgill can be reached at email@example.com or by telephone at 784-4116.