US family aghast as teen is deported to Colombia

Los Angeles

Like many a teenage runaway, Jakadrien Turner wasn't exactly forthcoming when police in Houston arrested her for shoplifting in early April.

Instead of giving officers her correct name and address, the enterprising 14-year-old claimed to be one Tika Lanay Cortez, a Colombian woman (and, it seems, a casual acquaintance) who had been born in 1990.

The lie was designed to prevent police from returning Jakadrien to her family in Dallas, 250 miles away. She had walked out on them, without warning, the previous November, shortly after her grandfather's death.

On those grounds, at least, it was an unrivalled success. Jakadrien did not end up being sent back to Dallas. Instead, a bright spark at the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement [ICE] department decided that she should be deported to Bogota.

Jakadrien's real identity was not revealed throughout the months that her case was subsequently dragged through the Texas court system. Nor did it emerge when officials from the Colombian consulate interviewed her, despite the fact that she is unable to speak Spanish.

The mix-up emerged only several months later when her desperate grandmother Lorene stumbled upon a Facebook account she had opened under another false name. Lorene contacted Dallas police in November, who got in touch with the authorities in Bogota.

Lorene yesterday described the saga as "a big mistake someone made", and told the Associated Press she is seeking an explanation as to why the US authorities didn't bother to verify the girl's identity before deporting her.

It is not known whether Jakadrien had any fake ID, or whether both the ICE and the Colombian authorities, who issued her with a temporary passport, simply decided to take her at her word when she claimed to be Ms Cortez, who had overstayed her visa.

After Jakadrien had originally gone missing, her information was placed on record with the National Centre for Missing or Exploited Children. But those records were never checked during the deportation process.

Bizarrely, Jakadrien seems to have led a charmed existence after landing in Bogota. Local authorities said she had enrolled in the country's "welcome home" programme, for deported illegal migrants. It saw her given food, shelter, psychological support, and a starter job in a local call centre.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Home Care / Support Workers

£7 - £10 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This care provider is looking for Home ...

Recruitment Genius: Web Team Leader

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading web des...

Recruitment Genius: Client Manager

£27000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A growing, successful, friendly...

Recruitment Genius: Property Negotiator - OTE £20,000+

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This family owned, independent ...

Day In a Page

Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate