A runaway 15-year-old Texas girl who was deported to South America after claiming to be an illegal immigrant could soon return home.
Government officials in Colombia said the U.S. Embassy on Thursday submitted the necessary documents for Jakadrien Lorece Turner to return to the U.S.
Jakadrien Lorece Turner, a Texas teen was deported to Colombia after providing a false identity.
The Colombian government said the girl had been working in a local call center before her grandmother tracked her down using Facebook and alerted U.S. and Colombian officials.
The Dallas Morning News reported that the teen, who didn’t speak Spanish, was pregnant.
A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement official said the teen gave authorities a fake name when she was arrested in Houston last year for theft. The name was of a Colombian woman born in 1990, and Turner maintained the name through deportation proceedings.
It’s unclear if she’ll be charged upon her return for falsifying her identity.
Jakadrien’s grandmother, Dallas hairstylist Lorene Turner, told the Associated Press that U.S. officials should have done more to identify the girl after she gave a fake name and claimed to be an adult.
“She looks like a kid, she acts like a kid. How could they think she wasn’t a kid?” she asked.
Jakadrien’s family says she left home in November 2010. Her details were posted – and still remain – on the website of the National Center for Missing or Exploited Children.
Houston police said the girl was arrested on April 2, 2011, for misdemeanor theft in that city and claimed to be Tika Lanay Cortez, a Colombian woman born in 1990.
An Immigration and Customs Enforcement official said the teen claimed to be Cortez throughout the criminal proceedings in Houston and the ensuing deportation process in which an immigration judge ultimately ordered her back to Colombia.
The ICE official, speaking on condition of anonymity due to not being authorized to discuss additional details of the case, said the teenager was interviewed by a representative from the Colombian consulate and that country’s government issued her a travel document to enter Colombia.
The ICE official said standard procedure before any deportation is to coordinate with the other country in order to establish that the person is from there.
The girl was given Colombian citizenship upon arriving there, the ICE official said.
The Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Jakadrien was issued travel documents at the request of the U.S. National Security Agency and with information submitted by U.S. officials. Colombian officials are investigating what kind of verification was conducted by its Houston consulate to issue the temporary passport.
Dallas Police detective C’mon (pronounced Simone) Wingo, the detective in charge of the case, explained that in August she was contacted by the girl’s grandmother, who said Jakadrien had posted “kind of disturbing” messages on a Facebook account where she goes by yet another name, TiKa SoloToolonq.
Relatives were then put into contact with the U.S. Embassy in Bogota to provide pictures and documents to prove Jakadrien’s identity.
Lorene Turner said she has spent a lot of time tracking down Jakadrien, whose family nickname is Kay-Kay.
“In between customers I’d get on the computer looking for Kay-Kay, I was obsessed.”
She and the teen’s mother, Johnisa Turner, say they did not contact Jakadrien through Facebook and plead for her to come home because they were afraid.
“I didn’t want to scare her or get her in trouble with those who had her,” Lorene Turner said, adding that she feared the girl might have been caught up in human trafficking. “I don’t know. I’m just going crazy. She didn’t have any reason to leave. She lived in a nice home (with her mother and stepfather). We were very close. I don’t know why she left.”
Johnisa Turner was reluctant to go into any details about the deportation, saying she didn’t know anything. She referred calls to her attorney, Ray Jackson, but he could not be immediately reached.
“I was devastated,” she said. “When your child doesn’t come home from school, of course you go to the worst end of the spectrum. I was just hoping that she was alive and well.”
Johnisa Turner said her daughter, a freshman at a new Dallas high school, was experimenting with different hairstyles and clothes but “wasn’t a problem kid.” She said the teen was a good student but when her grades began to slip, her parents took away some of her privileges, including closing down her Facebook account and limiting the time she could listen to music.
Johnisa Turner said she was relieved that Jakadrien has been found and wants her back in Dallas.
“Whatever it is, the past is in the past. I want her home so we can move from this day forward.”
According to the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the girl was enrolled in the country’s “Welcome Home” program after she arrived there. She was given shelter, psychological assistance and a job at a call center, a statement from the agency said.