Kalina Collier is a New York woman and JetBlue flight attendant whose Instagram posts sparked fears she was kidnapped or missing in Jamaica. But authorities say the 22-year-old was actually quarantined on the island after testing positive for COVID-19 when she arrived on January 28, 2021. Collier traveled to Jamaica with her mother and friends, according to her social media posts. She said was being held against her will at a resort and feared being trafficked.
On February 14, the Jamaica Constabulary Force issued a statement saying, “The Police are advising members of the public to dismiss as rumour information that has been circulated via social and other media that American National Kalina Collier was kidnapped in Jamaica. The police assert the information is baseless and mischievous.”
Collier also issued a statement on February 14 saying she never claimed she was missing or kidnapped. Collier said she tested negative for coronavirus after the initial positive test, but was still required to be quarantined for 14 days at a hotel, the Ocean Coral Spring. Collier’s statement, posted to Instagram, accuses the resort staff and Jamaican authorities of mistreatment and harassment. Collier was allowed to leave the island on February 14 and she and her mother flew back to New York, according to the Jamaican news radio station Nationwide90FM.
Here’s what you need to know about Kalina Collier:
Jamaican Police Say Collier ‘Is Not, Nor Was She at Any Time in Any Danger’
In a January 14 statement posted to social media, police said, “On arrival in Jamaica, Collier who was tested positive for the Covid-19 virus was placed in isolation. This is in keeping with Jamaica’s Covid prevention protocols as stipulated by the Ministry of Health and Wellness. She remains in isolation and awaits medical clearance to be able to travel back home. In the meantime, representatives from the Ministry of Health, the Jamaica Tourist Board and the local police have been in contact with her mother who subsequently arrived in Jamaica.”
According to the police statement, Collier “was visited by the local police on Saturday, February 13 and she is not, nor was she at any time, in any danger. The Police are therefore warning persons to desist from sharing social media posts claiming Collier has been kidnapped, as sharing false information can constitute an offence under the law.”
Authorities told the Jamaica Gleaner that Collier arrived in the country on January 28 and was scheduled to leave on February 1. But on January 30, a COVID-19 antigen test returned a positive result, the newspaper reports. A second test an hour later was negative. On February 2, she took a third test, which was positive. According to the Gleaner, the resort, the Ocean Coral Spring, told Collier she could stay in quarantine there for 14 days at no extra cost, instead of spending that time at a government facility.
“Our policy at Ocean Coral Spring is to facilitate COVID-19 tests in resort by approved medical providers and, if one of our guests test positive, we extend a 14-day complimentary accommodation for quarantine, and a reduced rate for any companion who decides to stay with the affected guest,” Tanesha Clarke, director of sales, told The Gleaner. While she was staying at the hotel, Collier posted Instagram videos about being mistreated, being held against her will and fearing she would be kidnapped or abducted and sold into sex trafficking. The videos were seen thousands of times and led to calls from celebrities and other concerned social media users for people to help her. Social media pages like “Find Kalina Collier” and “Save Kalina Collier” popped up.
“For one, she is not missing; she is safe and is being extended all the courtesies of the hotel team. She receives room service daily for all meals; and has direct contact with the medical provider in resort – Hospiten; and she has contact with the local public-health representative for Trelawny,” Clarke told The Gleaner.
Collier Says the Resort & Authorities ‘Tried to Intimidate Me’
While the resort, police and Jamaican authorities said Collier was not in any danger, she says she was harassed, mistreated and forced to make statements on social media. “Following my negative COVID test, the hotel proceeded to cover their tracks once word got out and forced me to stay at the resort for the remainder of my ‘quarantine,'” Collier wrote on Instagram on February 14. “Every single day I was harassed by the hotel to make a statement, to save face for them. To basically make it seem like everything I said was a lie. I am here to say nothing I said was a lie.”
Collier added, “These people will say anything to save face. They leaked the phone number of my friends who were on the trip with me, as well as my mother’s. I understand that I went live and reached out for help, but my story is now beginning to be told for me and I won’t have that. I have said multiple times publicly that I was not missing. They sent the police to me at the resort to try and intimidate me into making a statement for a resort that wronged me from the beginning.”
Collier did post on Instagram on February 8 to say she and her mother were not missing, disputing rumors that had spread after her Instagram Live posts.
“Thanks for your concern. The missing allegation of my mother and I is false,” she wrote. In her February 14 post, she said, “I have. said a long time ago that I was never missing, nor was I kidnapped. I’ve tried to stay silent because this is something that will be handled legally and because the response as completely overwhelming. … I Know my truth and I don’t need the approval of anyone on here or anywhere. The proof is in the pudding and I have nothing further to say on this situation. For those who were actually concerned, thank you.”
Collier said when she arrived at the airport to return home to New York, she was met by Odette Dire, a Jamaican tourism official, “who has been harassing my mother and I every single day.” She said Dire followed them to the airport, demanded a statement from them and “proceeded to take unwarranted photos of my mother and I.” She said Dire, “was trying to force me to say my live was fake. My family and friends were harassed by numerous trolls and disgusting, sick people on the internet.”
Collier, Who Lives in Queens, Is a Chef Along With Being a Flight Attendant
According to her Instagram profile, Collier, a Queens resident, is a chef and graduate of the Culinary Institute of America along with working as a flight attendant for JetBlue Airways. She runs her own baking company, Kalian’s Kitchen, according to her social media page.
JetBlue has not made a statement about Collier. The U.S. Embassy in Kingston, Jamaica, issued a statement to the Jamaica Observer saying it was aware of reports, ““who had recently travelled to Jamaica and claimed to have been held against the individual’s will.” The embassy added, “The US government provides all appropriate consular services to US citizens in emergency situations overseas and fully investigates claims of unlawful detention; however, due to the Privacy Act of 1974, we cannot release any information about a US citizen without his or her written consent.”
On Twitter, where Collier had received support and concern after her initial videos went viral, has now been the target of disdain, anger and calls for her to be held accountable. “Human Trafficking is a REAL ISSUE. Girls, boys and women face this issue all the time. For this girl #kalinacollier to use this to circumvent rules and regulations is a slap in the face to actual ppl facing this issue,” wrote @mamachell, a blogger from Kingston, on February 14.
Ingrid Riley, a Jamaican digital media entrepreneur, tweeted, “They should charge #KalinaCollier for public mischief. She simply MUST issue a video apology to the country of Jamaica for the reputational damage she has caused because of her LIES. Please do NOT come again. Jamaica is NOT a free-for-all for the entitled.”
Collier Has a YouTube Channel Where She Vlogs About Her Life & Career
Collier has made efforts on social media and YouTube to be an influencer, running a YouTube channel called “Lina’s Life,” where she posts videos about her career and life in New York. She started the channel in November 2019 and wrote in the about section, “A Lifestyle…. Lina’s Life. Travel, Vlogs, Beauty, Food and Fun!”