Family demands answers after Texas teen mistakenly deported to Colombia
- Colombian authorities confirm she’s in their custody and is pregnant
- The family tracked the teenage runaway through Facebook pages
- She is a U.S. citizen but gave authorities a fake name
- Her family had been looking for her since the fall of 2010
(CNN) — A Dallas teenager who ran away from home more than a year ago somehow wound up deported to Colombia after U.S. authorities mistook the girl, who lacked identification, for a Colombian national.
Now her family is demanding to know why immigration authorities deported the now-15-year-old teen — a U.S. citizen with no knowledge of Spanish — and why they simply took her at her word when she gave them a fake name.
The family of Jakadrien Turner had been searching for her since she ran away in the fall of 2010. Her grandmother scoured Facebook looking for the girl, viewing Jakadrien’s friends’ pages for any information.
“There’s no words,” her mother, Johnisa Turner, told CNN of the ordeal. “It hasn’t been easy at all.”
The Colombian Institute for Family Welfare confirmed Thursday that Turner is in its custody, is pregnant, and entered the country as an adult. The institute said Colombian authorities learned about the case a month ago and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is working on her return to the United States.
The U.S. State Department is also aware of the case, spokesman Ken Chavez said.
After Jakadrien went missing, the family managed to track Jakadrien to Houston, where she worked at a DJ club under a different name. They tried to get help from authorities there, to no avail.
Then, to the family’s surprise, they learned their teenage daughter was in Colombia, partying with men and smoking marijuana. They later learned from a detective that Jakadrien is pregnant.
How Jakadrien got to Colombia is a mystery to the family. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency maintains she was arrested in Houston for theft and told them she was an adult from Colombia.
The agency says authorities believed her story because she maintained her false identity throughout the process. They handed her over to an immigration judge, who ordered her removed from the country.
“At no time during these criminal proceedings was her identity determined to be false,” the agency says.
It says criminal database searches and biometric verification revealed no information to invalidate Jakadrien’s claims.
The family’s attorney, Ray Jackson, says it doesn’t make sense.
“They dropped the ball,” he said.
He says the immigration agency took Jakadrien’s fingerprints but failed to match them to the name she gave. The name matched a woman wanted by Interpol, Jackson says, so they “shipped her on through.”
The agency says it is taking the allegations very seriously and is “fully and immediately investigating the matter in order to expeditiously determine the facts of the case.”
Jakadrien had run away once before, two weeks earlier, her mother said, and Jakadrien told her the family didn’t give her enough freedom. Her good grades at school had dropped off, something Turner blamed on the normal problems of teenagers. In addition, Jakadrien’s grandfather, her mother’s father, had recently died.
Turner said she contacted Dallas police, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and Dallas transportation authorities. Nothing ever came of it, she said.
Grandmother Lorene Turner said she then started following Jakadrien’s best friend on Facebook. She eventually tracked her granddaughter to Houston, where she worked at a club under the name Tika Cortez. Johnisa Turner said she saw Jakadrien’s face on the marquee on her birthday.
“Oh my god,” the mother said when she saw it. “Is this really happening? Is that my child?”
A picture on Cortez’s Facebook page further confirmed for the family that the girl with the different name was their daughter. The picture had been taken of Jakadrien with her grandmother. Though her grandmother had been cut out of the picture, her hair still showed on the edge.
Her mother said she told Dallas authorities what she had found.
Then, Jakadrien’s Facebook page suddenly said she was in Colombia. The family later learned she had been arrested in Houston for shoplifting, but they say they had no idea how she wound up in the South American country after the arrest.
Jakadrien later was taken to the U.S. consulate, and later moved to the government-run Colombian Institute for Family Welfare. The institute said Thursday it has custody of Jadadrien and that authorities are working on her return home.
The U.S. embassy provided the Colombian Foreign Ministry with documentation to confirm she is an American and requested her return to the United States, according to an official at the Foreign Ministry who is not authorized to speak to the media.
The family’s concerns grew when the detective told them that Jakadrien is pregnant, her mother said.
Johnisa Turner said she believes her daughter was coerced along the way, with someone promising her something that led her to maintain a fake story about who she is.
Jackson says he believes something more sinister is going on.
“There has to be something behind this 15-year-old girl ending up in Colombia, besides the fact that ICE dropped the ball,” he said. “Of all the nicknames … to pick one that’s of Latino descent, for that to be a name that sticks and gets you deported, that doesn’t make sense.”
Pictures of Jakadrien in Colombia showed her sitting on men’s laps smoking marijuana, her grandmother said. But Jakadrien, she said, seemed to be reaching out for help, listing on Facebook the names of everyone at parties perhaps so she could be traced.
Jackson says he doesn’t believe Jakadrien was trying to fake her way out of the country by using the false name throughout the process.
“I don’t buy that she had the wherewithal to be able to bamboozle the government,” Jackson says. “You know, kids are scared when they get around authorities. … To think that you could bamboozle them to create a new identity, it just doesn’t make sense.”
Jorge Asfrubal Farcia Romero and Luis Carlos Velez contributed to this report for CNN.
Would ICE have broken their necks to send a White child minor to a foreign country without turning over every stone to establish her identity?
I seriously doubt it.
They would not have committed such a hateful act if the child had been White.
What is so sickening is that ICE sent this child out of the country as a felon and an undocumented alien, even after doing fingerprints, which they obviously lost, or threw away, because they didn’t give a damn, by their actions. They were also lazy in their sloppiness in not checking out any story she may have given them on family, nor did they see that she was a 15-year-old and not a 22-year-old. She gave them a fake name, and ICE was too incompetent to verify and background check further on the name she gave them? What, ICE has no access to any local/state/international law enforcement organizations to throughly find concrete evidence on the name this child gave them? Did they even sit and listen to what this child was saying to them and check for any holes in whatever story she gave them?
Not to mention, they could not have conversed with this child in Spanish. If she is not bilingual, there is no way she could have spoken Spanish if an interpreter was put in the room with her to establish her supposed fluency in Spanish. And who the hell ever heard of a child being sent, by herself, back to her so-called native country? Is there not a requirement that an adult in the so-called native country to be waiting to pick up the child upon arrival? What the hell is up with sending a child, period, out of the country, by themselves? No, just deport her out of the country of her birth as if she is some piece of throw-away trash.
To deport this child from her home country is beyond sickening. No telling what else has happened to this child since her landing in Columbia since April, 2011.
Now she is pregnant, and any men she has come into contact with have had access to her, thereby raping and impregnating her. She is after all a 15-year-old child.
The fact that she was detained and deported to Columbia as if she is some criminal shows the vicious contempt for black life.
The ICE tongs and the immigration judge that sent this child to the hell she is in should be prosecuted for child endangerment, child abuse, reckless endangerment, abuse of her Fourth Amendment rights, and a hate crime.
All of the above fits the actions of the dictatorial regime known as ICE.