A family's worst nightmare came true when they learned their daughter and granddaughter had been mistakenly deported to Colombia by authorities after she was arrested for theft. But the family may be able to rest easy in the next couple of days, because their little girl may be coming home.
Dallas teen, Jakadrien Turner, now 15, may be returned home now that the U.S. Embassy has provided documents to the Colombia government proving that she is, in fact, a U.S. citizen, WFAA reports.
"[It is an] answer to my prayer," the teen's grandmother, Lorene Turner, told the news outlet. "I knew God was going to answer my prayer."
Turner, an African-American who does not speak Spanish, was arrested in Houston and apparently told authorities her name was Tika Lanay Cortez. The name belonged to a Colombian national who was in the U.S. illegally, which led to the teen's deportation.
When Turner's story originally surfaced, it prompted government officials and politicians to get involved. The family had a conference call with members of the National NAACP, congressional Black Caucus leaders and her attorney. All are demanding the U.S. Embassy gets a chance to visit Turner, who is currently detained in Colombia, and allow her to call her family. But the Colombian government has refused to permit that, thus far. Furthermore, they are pushing another serious issue: how did this all happen?
Immigration officials told WFAA that they followed procedure, and attempted to verify Turner's identity and found nothing out of the ordinary. They said they are committed to finding out what went wrong.
"ICE takes these allegations very seriously," ICE Director of Public Affairs, Brian Hale, told the news network. "At the direction of [the Department of Homeland Security], ICE is fully and immediately investigating this matter in order to expeditiously determine the facts of this case."
While the entire incident has raised a number of questions, the family's main concern is for her to come home safe and sound.
"I am going to hug her and let her know we love her," Jolene Turner said. "Everything is going to be alright. Whatever problems she got, we are going to get past it. Forget the past and walk forward."
UPDATE: 2:00 p.m.-- According to the Associated Press, Jakadrien Turner was sent home from Colombia this morning.
"The girl, fully identified, left the country this morning," United States, Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin, told reporters.
She also said authorities are investigating Turner's original entry into Colombia.
Turner's mother, Johnisa Turner, told the Associated Press that she will be meeting her daughter when she arrives in Dallas.