Texas teen missing since 2010 held in Colombian jail after accidentaldeportation
In the fall of 2010, 14-year old Jakadrien Turner ran away from her Dallas home. Distraught over her parents’ divorce and the recent death of her grandfather, the teen headed to Houston, reinventing herself in a new city.
For over a year, her grandmother, Lorene Turner, had been desperately searching for the missing girl; finally, with the help of Facebook, she was able to track Jakadrien down.
The story should end here, with a joyful reunion. Except Jakadrien, now 15, can’t come home to her grandmother — she’s being detained in a Colombian prison, after mistakenly being deported by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Jakadrien’s bizarre and shocking story began when she was arrested for shoplifting in Houston. Attempting to evade charges, she gave police a fake name — one that happened to belong to a 22-year old illegal immigrant from Colombia with multiple arrest warrants. Jakadrien’s case was immediately taken over by ICE, who deported her “back” to Colombia in April of 2011. Upon arrival, the young girl — who does not speak Spanish — was issued work papers. She was released from custody and has been living in Bogota.
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 is being held in a detention facility — and several sources, including the Dallas Morning News, allege that the teen is pregnant.
The Dallas Morning News also explored Jakadrien’s Facebook page, which the girl regularly maintained through November of 2011. Jakadrien’s updates often reference her high school and Houston friends, as well as family members. But there are also notes about her current living conditions, which confuse more than clarify the situation. The girl's online identity seems to be a patchwork of fact and fiction, and it's unclear whether references to her work and health are accurate:
June 23, 9:33 a.m. and 10:02 a.m.: She says that she works doing translation for foreign people who are visiting or traveling. She said that she works at an "airplane company," starting at $15 and up. She also said she is a maid for the elderly making $20 an hour.
June 25, 10:35 a.m.: She says in a post that she is 21.
Aug. 1, 2:19 p.m.: She writes that rumors of her being dead are not true. She said that she was in a coma for about a month and is now recovered.
If Jakadrien is indeed pregnant, or has recently had serious health issues, there's all the more reason why her return to the U.S. should be expedited.
According to CBS:
ICE says it's investigating the incident and "takes these allegations very seriously." The case is now getting national attention and WFAA reports that the NAACP and other civil rights leaders plan to brief President Obama and the Congressional Black Caucus on the problem.
Jakadrien’s story raises many questions: how does an official legal investigation determine that an African-American girl with zero knowledge of Spanish is, in fact, a Colombian citizen? Why did the fingerprints taken at the time of her arrest not exonerate her? How much longer will the girl have to wait before she’s allowed to return home — and why?