Colombia handing over Dallas runaway on Friday

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by JASON WHITELY

Bio | Email | Follow: @jasonwhitely

WFAA

Posted on January 5, 2012 at 11:56 PM

Updated Friday, Jan 6 at 9:32 AM

DALLAS - Lorene Turner is still trying to catch her breath.

"You just don't know how I feel," said Turner, 63. "I'm just speechless."

Thursday night, "Bogota" appeared on her mobile phone's caller ID.

It was the answer to a prayer.

The Colombian government said it would hand over Turner's 15-year-old granddaughter, Jakadrien, to the U.S. Embassy there on Friday.

"Oh I feel good," Lorene added. "It was worth it. All the wrinkles under my eyes. I've aged. Look like I'm 80 now. But it's alright. It's okay."

Jakadrien Turner's story is a bizarre one.

She ran away from her Oak Cliff home a year-and-a-half ago, ended up in Houston, got arrested for shoplifting, and lied and said she was from Colombia.

Then - without a thorough check - the U.S. deported the teenage runaway in April 2011.

Her determined grandmother, using Facebook, found her in South America and alerted police.

"No, I'm not mad at her," Lorene said. "I love her. Children make mistakes."

Thursday night, Colombia issued its own statement saying: "She told the U.S. Magistrate she was a Colombian citizen of age. The Colombian consulate in Houston expedited a temporary passport to her. Once she arrived we initiated a search for her family. In the meantime, we did a psychological evaluation, then put her to work in a call center."

Jakadrien even posted that call center job on her Facebook page.

Her reasons for running away remain a mystery.

But that saga is over because of a grandmother who refused to give up.

Exactly when she will return to Dallas is uncertain, but her family said it could be by the weekend.

Still, in this decade after 9/11, why U.S. authorities could not identify a 15-year-old girl is a question troubling many lawmakers.

E-mail jwhitely@wfaa.com

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