MOREHEAD, Ky. (WKYT) - It's been 14 long months since Noelle Hunter last saw her daughter Maayimuna, who was kidnapped by her father and taken to his native Mali days after Christmas in 2011. Hunter has done all she can to get her five-year-old back to Morehead where she says she belongs, including filing a police report, speaking with state leaders, and making trips to Washington, D.C. to raise awareness.
"It's been this up and down action. We get interest from Congress and then nothing happens. We get cooperation from the Mali ambassador and then nothing," explained Hunter.
Hunter's ex-husband now has a warrant out for his arrest, but still the child remains in war-torn Mali. Hunter now realizes she must aim higher.
"There's only one level to go and that's the very top, the President himself!"
A tall order, she recognizes, but said, "That's what this petition is about."
Tuesday the petition Hunter formed became front and center, literally, landing in the headlines on the front page of the White House Petition Web Site.
"The count went from 36 to 54 to 117," described Hunter of the petitions growth.
Then it jumped to 173, passing the 150 signatures needed to make the petition public on the site.
"There's been some people that I'm like, 'I don't even know who these people are in this state!'"
The list of names kept growing, well beyond 200.
"I probably spend too much time checking it every two minutes or so," laughed Hunter.
As the number grows, the reality sinks in for Hunter, "Muna on the White House website. That's what I'm talking about!"
All with a simple signature, steps are being taken to put Muna in the spotlight.
"It's actually not a small part. It's a huge thing," said Hunter.
However, the job is far from complete. The petition needs 100,000 names by March 27th to be viewed by the White House administration.
Hunter admits it's a big number, "Daunting, maybe I should say, but all things are possible!"
Still, this mother says she won't stop until President Obama knows about this little girl from Kentucky that's half a world away from home.