Dallas teen's family details deportation ordeal

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by REBECCA LOPEZ

Bio | Email | Follow: @rlopezwfaa

WFAA

Posted on January 18, 2012 at 10:54 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jan 18 at 11:26 PM

NEWS 8 EXCLUSIVE

DALLAS — Jakadrien Turner's story begins at a DART station in downtown Dallas. That's where she met some men who convinced her to go to a Dallas Mavericks game with them.

At the game, she met another man who talked the 15-year-old into going to Houston.

"He preyed upon her; preyed upon her youth, preyed upon the fact that she wouldn't be wise as to what he was trying to do," said Ray Jackson, Jakadrien's lawyer.

Jackson said the man was a trafficker who beat Jakadrien and threatened to harm her family.

She was afraid to call home.

"She has been through a traumatic experience," said Jakadrien's mother, Johnisa Turner. "It has been an emotional roller coaster, and it has been a lot for a young girl."

She said Jakadrien was forced to do illegal things. That's when she got caught shoplifting at a Houston mall. Like most trafficking victims, she had a fake name: "Tika Cortez."

"She tells the officer what her age was. The officer didn't believe she was that age, believed she was older, had seen her in the mall before, and thought she was lying to him," Johnisa Turner said.

Houston police said "Tika Cortez" is the name Jakadrien gave them. Jakadrien said she tried to tell police the truth, but was sent to court, tried for theft as "Tika Cortez," and sentenced to eight days in jail.

"She is told by the person who was representing her if she signs the agreement that she is going to go home, and that's the only thing that mattered for her," Jackson said.

Jakadrien said she never told anyone she was from Colombia. She was surprised when Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents questioned her.

She was taken to a deportation hearing, where — as a 15-year-old girl — she was confused.

"And she didn't really understand it anyway, what deportation was, and said she was a U.S. citizen," Jackson said. "She didn't think this could result in her being sent to another country."

ICE maintains that Jakadrien never tried to tell agents her real name. In a statement issued to News 8 late Wednesday, ICE also said its review of the case revealed that the teen "consistently used a false ID with Houston police, her defense attorney, ICD, the immigration court, and the Colombian government."

Jakadrien spent a month in detention and then was handcuffed and shackled and flown to Colombia.

"She indicated she was very afraid. She didn't understand what was going on," Jackson said. "She didn't know she was being deported, didn't know anyone in Colombia, and didn't speak Spanish, no money. She was distraught."

Jakadrien was told she couldn't return to the United States for 10 years. She never called home.

She lived in group homes until U.S. authorities figured out what had happened.

Jakadrien was eventually returned to the United States as cameras surrounded her.

"She was afraid to speak to me," Jakadrien's mother said. "She thought I was angry with her. She thought she had embarrassed her family."

Now, Jakadrien spends her days writing in her journal. She is pregnant. She says she writes notes to her baby about staying out of trouble.

"It's great to be home; great to have a second chance in life," Jakadrien said. "It's great to be here with my family, be here with my mother. It's great to be home."

For now, the Turner family says they will keep her close to home and try to restore Jakadrien's life.

E-mail rlopez@wfaa.com

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