Jakadrien Turner: Deported Texas Teen Returns to U.S.

A lawyer plans to sue on behalf of Dallas runaway who was deported to Colombia.

ByABC News
January 7, 2012, 9:33 AM

Jan. 7, 2012— -- An American-born teen from Texas who told law enforcement officials that she was a 21-year-old Colombian woman and ended up deported to that South American nation was returned to her waiting family at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.

Jakadrien Turner, 15, was reunited with her mother Friday night, ABC News' Dallas affiliate WFAA reported.

"After they said she was on the plane, I didn't hear anything else they were saying. I'm going to hug her tight and let her know we love her, and everything's going to be alright," grandmother Lorene Turner told WFAA, which broke the news of Jakadrien's fluke deportation.

Dana Ames, of Urban Search and Rescue, which also helped locate Jakadrien said finding the teen is a "tremendous blessing for the family."

"I'm sure the child is going to have a lot to go through over the coming days and months, and the family, too. We just want to welcome her home," Ames said.

As soon as Jakadrien disembarked at DFW airport, police placed Jakadrien, who doesn't speak fluent Spanish, in a car and whisked her off the tarmac to a secluded area where state and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials questioned her for three hours.

Her relatives said Jakadrien ran away in Nov. 2010.

When she was arrested on April 2, 2011, for misdemeanor theft, she told Houston police her name was Tika Lanay Cortez, a Colombian woman born in 1990.

Unable to determine her true identity or immigration status, officials at Houston's Harris County Jail handed the teen over the federal immigration officials.

They said they found nothing to indicate that Jakadrien wasn't a Colombian woman, and that the teen claimed to be Cortez throughout the criminal proceedings in Houston and federal deportation process.

An immigration judged remanded Jakadrien to Colombia, where officials provided her with the necessary travel document and declared her a citizen.

According to the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the girl was enrolled in the country's "Welcome Home" program after she arrived there.

She was given shelter, psychological assistance and a job at a call center, a statement from the agency said. Her lawyer said she she'd been placed under detention.

On Friday, Jakadrien's family said they planned to spend the coming days together quietly, sorting through and trying to answer some questions.

The girl's mother, Johnisa Turner, had arrived at DFW Airport carrying what she said was her daughter's favorite Snuggie, a lavender blanket imprinted with peace symbols and the word, "Love."

"They want to get their daughter home. They want their daughter to be able to get some rest. They want to reunite the family. That's the purpose of this day. They're very happy they were able to get her home," Attorney Ray Jackson said on behalf of the family.

Jackson, vowed to sue over "civil rights violations" linked to the deportation and the planned lawsuit aimed to "make the people who are responsible pay for the civil rights violations that Miss Turner has had to go through."