Nan-Hui Jo, third from the left, enjoys a few minutes of freedom, after being sentenced to time served on April 28, and released from prison. She was detained by immigration enforcement, shortly after and taken into custody.
It was 15 minutes that Nan-Hui Jo will cherish for a lifetime.
The mother and alleged abuse victim convicted of kidnapping her own daughter talked to the 6-year old for the first time in a year last week, reports the Sacramento Bee.
She has been held in detention since April when a judge released her from jail after reducing her conviction to a misdemeanor and time served.
Shortly after that, immigration detained the undocumented immigrant and will determine whether she will be deported.
“I’m so sorry about this whole situation, and I’m so thankful my daughter’s staying strong – she’s wonderful,” Jo said
Jo took her daughter Hwi to South Korea to escape who she said was an abusive boyfriend, Jesse Charlton. Charlton admitted during Hwi’s trial that he pushed her against the wall and choked her. He has never been charged.
Jo was arrested when she returned to the United States after five years with her daughter. She is now in the custody of Charlton.
Hwi gave her mother a drawing that proclaimed “I love you Mom. When I sleep, I dream of you.”
The two have not been able to see each other in person, but for the first time they are allowed to talk by phone and exchange letters.
“She said she dreams about me, knows I love her and she misses me, too,” Jo said, her eyes crinkling. “She’s a really friendly girl. She told me her new friend’s name. … A couple of days ago I got my baby’s first report card – all ‘excellent.’ ”
Charlton and Jo now both agree their daughter should have the both of them in her life. Jo’s attorney is going to the State Supreme Court to overturn the conviction. If successful, he would also stop immigration from using the conviction in her deportation hearing.
You can read more about the efforts to reunite Jo with her daughter Hwi in the Sacramento Bee