A teenage girl from Texas who went missing two years ago has turned up in Colombia after being mistakenly deported by U.S. Immigration authorities.
At only 14-years old, Jakadrien Turner ran away from home in the fall of 2010 after the divorce of her parents and the death of the grandfather. She made her way from Dallas to Houston where she was arrested by police for theft.
Turner gave Houston police a false name, saying that she was an adult from Colombia with no legal status in the U.S. Throughout her criminal legal proceedings in Texas, the 14-year old non-Spanish speaker maintained her false identity and was convicted in a Texas state court., according to a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) statement provided to Fox News Latino.
ICE takes these allegations very seriously. At the direction of [Department of Homeland Security], ICE is fully and immediately investigating this matter in order to expeditiously determine the facts of this case.
At no time during these criminal proceedings was her identity determined to be false, the statement added.
Texas officials handed Turner over to ICE, where she allegedly continued to maintain that she was from Colombia throughout her immigration court proceedings. “As is standard protocol, criminal database searches and biometric verification were conducted and revealed no information to invalidate her claims,” said Barbara Gonzalez, ICE’s press secretary, in an email. “She was ultimately ordered removed from the U.S. by a Department of Justice immigration judge.”
With the help of the Dallas police, Turner’s grandmother, Lorene, found her on Facebook and learned that she was cleaning a large house in Colombia. U.S Federal authorities found the address and U.S. embassy officials asked Colombian police to pick her up.
However, now Colombian officials are holding Turner in a detention center and have not released her despite the family’s request. "I feel like she will come home," Lorene Turner said, according to WFAA.com. "I just need help and prayer.”
An official from the U.S. embassy in Bogotá said that the embassy is aware of Turner's case, but due to privacy issues is unable to provide any additional information. "The U.S. Embassy in Bogota works closely with the Colombian government on all matters pertaining to U.S. citizens in Colombia," the official said.
A Facebook page allegedly created by Turner under the name TiKa SoloToolonq claims that she worked for the Convergys corporation and attended Texas Southern University. It also states that she is in a relationship with a man named Alejandro Yoel Almeida Cisneros, who lives in Colombia but is originally from Cuba.
The alleged Facebook page claims that she is originally from Barbados.
While ICE acknowledged that it had run checks and that no information provided led authorities to believe that Turner had assumed a false identity, the agency said it was investigating the matter.
“ICE takes these allegations very seriously. At the direction of [Department of Homeland Security], ICE is fully and immediately investigating this matter in order to expeditiously determine the facts of this case,” according to the ICE statement.
ICE announced last week that it launched a hotline for people jailed on immigration charges who believe they are victims of crime or may be U.S. citizens. The hotline was set-up in order to answer questions from people held in local jails about whether they may face deportation proceedings.
The DHS also announced the creation of a new “detainer” form that gives law enforcement the authority to hold a person in custody for a time.