NBC 5 News
A teenager who was mistakenly deported to Colombia is back home with her Dallas family.
A Dallas teenager deported to South America under a false name never expressed concern during jailhouse phone calls that she was misidentified as an illegal Colombian immigrant.
15-year-old Jakadrien Turner's family said she ran away from home in November 2010. She was arrested for shoplifting in Houston on April 2, 2011 and initially identified herself to police as 21-year-old Colombian national Tika Lanay Cortez. It was unclear if she has been living under that name.
In more than two dozen recorded telephone calls reviewed by The Associated Press, Turner said she expected deportation to Colombia and didn't complain of having no ties to the country.
Instead, in several conversations with two men, she identified herself as Cortez and discussed renewing her green card and having her passport and Colombian ID sent to authorities.
Houston police said in a statement that her name was run through a database to determine if she was wanted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement but the results were negative. She was then turned over to the Harris County jail and booked on the theft charge.
The county sheriff's office said it ran her through the available databases and did the interviews necessary to establish her identity and immigration status in the country, with negative results. A sheriff's office employee recommended that an immigration detainer be put on her and, upon her release from jail, she was turned over to ICE.
U.S. immigration officials insist they followed procedure and found nothing to indicate that the girl wasn't a Colombian woman living illegally in the country.
An ICE official said the teen claimed to be Cortez throughout the criminal proceedings in Houston and the ensuing deportation process, in which an immigration judge ultimately ordered her to Colombia.
Jakadrien arrived in Texas and was reunited with her family January 6, 2012.