< Previous Page
Ultimately, the girl was found in Bogota by the Dallas Police Department with help from Colombian and U.S. officials.
Dallas Police detective C’mon (pronounced Simone) Wingo, the detective in charge of the case, said she was contacted in August by the girl’s grandmother, who said Jakadrien had posted "kind of disturbing" messages on a Facebook account where she goes by yet another name.
Wingo said the girl was located in early November through her use of a computer to log into Facebook. Relatives were then put into contact with the U.S. embassy in Bogota to provide pictures and documents to prove Jakadrien’s identity.
Colombian officials said when the government discovered she was a U.S. citizen and a minor, it put her under the care of a welfare program.
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the case was brought to the State Department’s attention in mid-December.
"We didn’t have any involvement at all in this case until it came to light that there may be a problem with an American minor in Colombia, and that — and then we became involved both with Colombian authorities and with folks in Dallas," Nuland said.
Stephen Yale-Loehr, who teaches immigration law at Cornell Law School, said hundreds of U.S. citizens are wrongfully detained or deported each year.
"There are a variety of legitimate reasons why somebody might not appear to be a U.S. citizen at first glance." he said. "It’s the duty of the U.S. federal immigration agency to make sure that we do not detain and deport U.S. citizens erroneously. And this, unfortunately happened in this case."
Copyright 2013 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.