U.S. teen who claimed to be from Colombia to return stateside
'She looks like a kid, she acts like a kid. How could they think she wasn't a kid?' grandmother asks
The highly unlikely story - where a 15-year-old girl in the U.S. claimed
to be a woman in Colombia, whereupon she was extradited to that South
American country to begin life under an assumed name - will be coming
back to the states shortly. Her grandmother wants answers. "She looks
like a kid, she acts like a kid. How could they think she wasn't a kid?"
Lorene Turner asks.
Fifteen-year-old Jakadrien Lorece Turner left home in November of 2010 and was later arrested on April 2, 2011, for misdemeanor theft in Houston and claimed to be "Tika Lanay Cortez," a Colombian woman born in 1990. She was deported to Colombia and received full benefits from the Colombian government.
Turner claimed to be Cortez throughout the criminal proceedings and the ensuing deportation process, in which an immigration judge ultimately ordered her back to Colombia.
Once in Colombia, Turner was enrolled in the country's "Welcome Home" program after she arrived. According to the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the girl was given shelter, psychological assistance and a job at a call center. When the Colombian government discovered she was a U.S. citizen, it put her under the care of a welfare program, the statement said.
Turner was recently found in Bogota, Colombia, by the Dallas Police Department with help from Colombian and U.S. officials.
The Colombian government reports that the U.S. Embassy had submitted the necessary documents for Jakadrien to return to the U.S, though it was unclear when she might be back.
Her grandmother, Lorene Turner, said she hope Jakadrien will be home shortly - but is highly perplexed as to how she was able to carry on the ruse for so long. She wants to why officials didn't do more to verify her identify.
U.S. immigration officials said they're investigating the circumstances of the case. They insist they followed procedure and found nothing to indicate that the girl wasn't a woman from Colombia illegally living in the U.S. The State Department said it was aware of the case but declined to comment further, citing privacy reasons.
An ICE official, speaking on condition of anonymity said the teenager was interviewed by a representative from the Colombian consulate and that country's government issued her a travel document to enter Colombia. According to the official, its standard procedure before any deportation is to coordinate with the other country in order to establish that person is from there.
It's not yet known if the teen might be charged upon her return for falsifying her identity in a criminal process.
© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM
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