Jakadrien Turner wound up deported to Colombia after U.S. authorities mistook the girl, who lacked identification, for a Colombian national.
In a statement Thursday, Colombia’s foreign ministry said it planned to hand her over to diplomatic officials so she can be transported back home, but did not say how it will happen.
Family members are thrilled the 15-year-old would be returning home.
“It’s a giant step. I’m relieved, but I won’t be completely relieved until I get her in my arms again,” her mother, Johnisa Turner, said. “A weight has definitely been lifted.”
Grandmother Lorene Turner said U.S. Embassy officials called with the news that her granddaughter would be turned over to U.S. officials.
But the teen’s family was still demanding to know why immigration authorities deported the teen — a U.S. citizen with no knowledge of Spanish — and why they simply took her at her word when she gave them a fake name.
The teen’s family had been searching for her since she ran away in the fall of 2010. Her grandmother scoured Facebook looking for her friends’ pages for any information.
The Colombian Institute for Family Welfare confirmed Thursday that Turner is in its custody, is pregnant and entered the country as an adult. The institute said Colombian authorities learned about the case a month ago.
After she went missing, the family tracked her to Houston, where she worked at a DJ club under a different name. They tried to get help from authorities there, to no avail.
They later learned she was in Colombia, partying and smoking marijuana. They later learned from a detective that she was pregnant.
The family’s attorney, Ray Jackson, says it doesn’t make sense.
“They dropped the ball,” he said.
He says the immigration agency took her fingerprints but failed to match them to the name she gave. The name matched a woman wanted by Interpol, Jackson says, so they “shipped her on through.”
Colombia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Thursday that she first arrived in Bogota after she was deported on May 23.
The teen was placed in a protection program by the Colombian Institute for Family Welfare on December 1 after officials learned of her situation, the foreign ministry said.
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