Update: Mistakenly deported Dallas teen now on way home from Colombia
Earlier, we reported the story of Jakadrien Turner, a 15-year-old Texas girl mistakenly deported to Colombia after giving authorities a false name during a shoplifting arrest. Following her grandfather's death and her parent's divorce Turner had, at age 14, left her Dallas home for the Houston streets.
One month ago, after U.S. authorities were made aware of her situation, they requested that Colombian officials allow Jakadrien to return home. Instead, she was held in a detention facility — and several sources, including the Dallas Morning News, alleged the teen was pregnant.
Today, Turner's lawyer, Ray Jackson, told ABC News that she has been released and is on her way home to Texas. He also reveals that her family is already planning on filing lawsuits against those responsible for the mismanagement of Turner's case.
"We are exploring a civil rights law suit against ICE (Immigrantion and Customs Enforcement), Houston Police and Colombian government... There is an egregious injustice and the ball has been dropped. ICE is the main culprit, but there are many parts of it where there is negligence," he said.
The girl, who does not speak Spanish, had been maintaining a Facebook profile under the name TiKa SoloToolonq, where she posted updates about working as a maid as well as the fact that she was "in a relationship" — and while she mentioned missing friends and family back in the States, she seemed to be adjusting to her life and making no attempts to return home.
Turner's family, in particular her grandmother, Lenore Turner, who originally tracked her granddaughter down via her Facebook profile, feel that ICE are at fault for failing to recognize that the African-American teen was not actually an illegal Colombian immigrant. Now, ABC has revealed details about the girl's deportation.
[O]fficials said Turner gave the name Tika Lanay Cortez, a name Immigration and Customs Enforcement contends she simply made up, and told them she was a 21-year-old from Colombia with no identification... A number of database searches, which included checking her fingerprints, turned up nothing that contradicted her story, and according to ICE, they had no way of knowing that her story wasn't true. A missing persons report was filed with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, but an ICE spokesperson said that didn't show up in the course of the investigation.
They also note that Turner was held in Houston and questioned by authorities, ICE and the Colombian consulate, all the while insisting she was indeed an immigrant:
Once she was convicted, Turner was handed over to ICE, where she still said she was a Colombian citizen, even while being interview by a representative from the Colombian consulate. Eventually, the Colombian authorities agreed she was a Colombian citizen, and authorized her deportation, providing her with full Colombian citizenship upon arrival in the country.
Upon arrival in Colombia, Turner was enrolled in a government program called "Welcome Home," a counseling service that also provided shelter and work, according to the Colombian Institute for Family Welfare. Only in December, when US officials discovered her case, was she taken into custody by the same organization while her story was reviewed.