Nearly a week after after she was sent to jail on federal kidnapping charges, Cherie Amoore was released after posting bail.
Amoore is accused of abducting a 7-week-old baby from the King of Prussia Mall on March 31 after befriending the child's mother, Malika Hunter.
Hunter told NBC10 the ordeal began Thursday when she took her children, including 7-week-old Ahsir, to the King of Prussia Mall. She says she met 32-year-old Cherie Amoore at a jewelry store and the two quickly bonded.
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"She was so polite," Hunter said. "Nice, calm and energetic. Like the normal, average person."
Hunter says Amoore asked her about Ahsir and the two bonded over being mothers.
"She was just stressed and she just had a new baby and the father is in the military so that puts all the work on her," Hunter said. "It was relatable. She ain't been out in a while."
The two continued talking as they headed to the food court. During their conversation, Amoore asked Hunter if she could hold Ahsir. While police initially said Hunter let Amoore hold him, they later said Hunter told her "no" and never handed him to her. Hunter told NBC10 she began tending to her 2-year-old son who was growing irritable. That's when Amoore took Ahsir from his stroller and walked away, according to police.
"When I realized it was really happening it was like my heart could just bust open at any moment," Hunter said. "At any moment I could just hit that floor. It was the worst feeling I ever felt in my life."
Police said Amoore walked up a set of stairs and then walked by the Bonefish Grill before exiting the mall. Surveillance video shows Amoore with Ahsir in her arms leaving the mall around 5:30 p.m., according to investigators.
Hunter alerted police and an extensive search began.
Police stopped cars as they left the mall as well as SEPTA buses. The FBI assisted with the search and an Amber Alert was issued both on television and through push notifications Thursday night. Police searched for the baby in Montgomery and Chester counties.
Around 10:30 p.m., police announced the good news that the boy had been found safe and Amoore was in custody. Police said they found Amoore and the baby inside a home on the 900 block of Upper Gulph Road in Tredyffrin Township. Friends say the man who lives at the home had a relationship with Amoore. While the man declined to comment, his mother spoke to NBC10, telling us her son had no idea about the kidnapping.
"All he knew is when he got home from work," said Gladys Biggers. "She was there too."
The baby's family dealt with a roller coaster of emotions throughout the ordeal.
"I was like hysterical I was going through it," said Burdette Lewis, the boy's grandfather. "We all prayed in there together."
Their prayers were answered as they had him back in their arms at the Upper Merion Police headquarters late Thursday night.
"I'm glad he's in my arms at this moment," said Malika Hunter. "I didn't know what the outcome of this situation would be."
Amoore is the daughter of Republican Party of Pennsylvania Deputy Chairman Renee Amoore, a longtime GOP advocate.
Amoore is charged with felony kidnapping, unlawful restraint, false imprisonment and other related offenses following a formal arraignment Friday afternoon where her bail was set at $500,000.