Runaway teen claims Barbados is home
A runaway American teenager who was mistakenly deported to Colombia after claiming to be an illegal immigrant told stories of Barbados being her “real home” as she led a fake life in the South American country.
Jakadrien Lorece Turner, 15, whose bizarre story has captivated international online and newspaper audiences, was returned home last Friday evening and reunited with her family, eight months after being deported to a country to which she had no links.
While living in Colombia, Turner regularly posted on Facebook under the name TiKa SoloToolonq, claiming to have come from Barbados and making several references to the island.
In one of them, posted in July last year, she said she would be in her “real home” soon in Bridgetown, Barbados.
In another one that same month, she said times were getting hard and she was trying to go to Barbados.
Then, in September last year, she requested a Facebook friend tag her in some photos so she could send them to her “brothers in Barbados”.
The girl’s page also stated that she studied at Texas Southern University and spoke Colombian Spanish, Creole, Cajun French and three other languages. Her last post was in November.
But US immigration officials have suggested that Turner had been living a fake life ever since she was held by police last May.
The now pregnant teenager ran away from her Dallas, Texas home in November 2010, was arrested in April last year for shoplifting, and was shipped off to Colombia a month later after telling police she was a native of Colombia and that her name was Tika Lanay Cortez, born March 24, 1990.
US immigration officials insist they followed procedure and found nothing to indicate that the girl wasn’t a Colombian woman living illegally in the country.
An official from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said the teen claimed to be Cortez throughout the criminal proceedings in Houston and the ensuing deportation process, according to Associated Press reports.
On arrival in Colombia, Turner was referred to a programme for repatriated Colombians and was given shelter, counseling, and initiated a process of inclusion in a call center job.
She was eventually tracked down by her grandmother on Facebook.
Turner’s family is planning to sue ICE, Houston police and Colombian government over the matter. (AP/DP)