NEWS 8 EXCLUSIVE
NEW YORK — A Dallas teen who was mistakenly deported to Colombia is talking about her lies — why she left home — and what she doesn't want from you.
Jakadrien Turner's story starts in Dallas, and then moves to Colombia, where she was deported.
Now, she is in New York.
For weeks, we have tried to get her side of the story, but she has remained silent until now, explaining what happened exclusively to News 8 as she prepares to describe her ordeal to a national television audience.
"I made a lot of horrible mistakes; did a lot of things I'm not proud of," Jakadrien said, explaining that she ran away from home because her parents were strict. That bad decision led her down a dangerous path.
She ended up in Houston in the hands of a trafficker. "He told me that he loved me multiple times," Jakadrien said.
But like many traffickers, he ultimately turned violent. "He monitored me; he looked at me every time and he basically, he tells me, if you go that I will get killed," she recalled. "If you leave, then you're going to die."
The trafficker beat Jakadrien and threatened to hurt her family.
"The main thing that I cared about was my family," she said. "I didn't want him to go to my family."
Jakadrien ended up being arrested for shoplifting in Houston and was arrested under the name "Tika Cortez."
"I made that name up out of the top of my head," Jakadrien said.
Once in jail, she said she tried to tell Houston police she was really Jakadrien Turner, but they did not believe her.
"It's like the story of the boy that cried wolf. I've lied multiple times before; I've never been honest; I've made a lot of stories up; I made the name up 'Tika Cortez,'" she said. "But at a certain point I just gave up because I said it multiple times: 'I'm Jakadrien Turner, I'm 15 years old, and why am I here?'"
She said she never told police she was Colombian and isn't sure where the authorities got that idea, but the next thing she knew she was on her way to an immigration facility. Jakadrien said she was confused.
"I don't know nothing about immigrants; I don't know nothing about fugitives, because I'm a United States citizen," she said. "I've lived in Dallas my whole life."
After realizing she was in a federal facility, Jakadrien said she tried to tell three different immigration officials her true identity. They did not believe her.
"It's the same saying they had: 'The system does not lie,'" she said.
Jakadrien said she knows immigration officials maintain that she never told them her real name. She says they are lying.
"I think a lot of people say things to try to cover themselves up," she said. "I made the choices I made, and officials, they made the choices they made."
Jakadrien was then shackled and handcuffed and dispatched to South America. She was afraid that if she told the truth in Colombia, she would be imprisoned in a foreign land.
Jakadrien Turner says she is not looking for sympathy; she simply wants to tell her side of the story and warn other girls about the perils of leaving home.
"Hopefully my story will help them to realize that they need to go back home."
Jakadrien says she has learned some valuable life lessons. She admits that she was wrong, and hopes other young women can learn from her mistakes.