"Distraught over the loss of her grandfather and her parents' divorce," 14-year-old Jakadrien Turner ran away from home, WFAA Dallas reports. Arrested for shoplifting in Houston, she used a fake name that actually belonged to a 22-year-old undocumented immigrant wanted for arrest. What follows is a nightmarish series of mistaken identities and institutional failures, culminating in a teen girl trapped alone and pregnant in a third-world prison.
ICE [U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement] officials stepped in... took the girl's fingerprints, but somehow didn't confirm her identity and deported her to Colombia, where the Colombian government gave her a work card and released her.
Jakadrien, who is African-American, does not know Spanish. She had no known ties to Colombia. After months of searching, Jakadrien's grandmother tracked the missing teen down on Facebook, discovering her in Bogota with an apparent job as a maid.
The grandmother alerted American authorities, who relayed the message to U.S. Embassy officials, who in turn asked local police to retrieve the girl, who is now 15. WFAA continues:
But that was a month ago, and the Colombian government now has her in a locked detention facility and won't release her, despite her family's request.
Jakadrien, who is now pregnant, was discovered living in Bogotá.
ICE says it is "investigating," and "also noted there have been instances where ICE has seen cases of individuals providing inaccurate information regarding who they are and their immigration status for ulterior motives."
To be clear: An American child is with child in a foreign prison where she does not speak the language due to an egregious, idiotic error—and the organization that made the error is hinting to reporters that it may be the child's own fault.
On that note: If you haven't reached your quota of stomach-churning "oh my god" moments, yet, check out the monstrous level of insensitivity on display here. Warning: You may lose all hope in humanity. [WFAA, Dallas Morning News, image via WFAA]