Fifteen-year-old Jakadrien Turner has been the victim of the worst case of mistaken identity. The Dallas teen, who ran away from home last fall, was mistakenly deported to South America, Houston news outlets reported on Tuesday, and authorities back in the States are puzzled as to how the girl, an African-American who speaks no Spanish, ended up in such a nightmarish ordeal.
The teen’s grandmother, Lorene Turner, relentlessly scoured Facebook to find her granddaughter after she had disappeared in November 2010. Working with Facebook, Turner and Dallas Police were able to track down the teen in the most unpredictable of places — Colombia, South America. She had mistakenly been deported by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents in April of 2011.
Jakadrien had somehow ended up in Houston after running away from home. There, she was arrested for theft, but gave police a fake name — one that actually belonged to a 22-year-old illegal immigrant from Colombia who was wanted by international police on warrants. ICE took the girl’s fingerprints, but somehow didn’t confirm her identity before deporting her to Colombia, where the Colombian government gave her a work card and released her.
"They didn't do their work," Lorene Turner told Houston news affiliate WFAA-TV on Tuesday. "How do you deport a teenager and send her to Colombia without a passport, without anything?"
Dallas Detective C'mon Wingo, who worked with Turner to locate the teen through Facebook, told WFAA-TV that she was “floored” of how the teen strayed so far from home.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement told the news outlet it is investigating this case and “takes it very seriously.” The agency said it attempted to verify Jakadrien's identity before she was deported and found nothing that would make them doubt the fake name and age she had provided to authorities.
Last month, U.S. Federal authorities got an address for Jakadrien’s whereabouts, and U.S. Embassy officials in Colombia asked police to pick her up. However, the Colombian government has yet to release her and is holding the teen in a detention center there.
Lorene Turner has said she hasn’t given up hope and is relying on prayer that her granddaughter will be returned home.
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