Trysten Bowman is an honor student, a cheerleader, a nursing assistant at a senior center and a community volunteer.
But this teen, who is about to enter her senior year at Sturgis Brown High School, says she is certainly not a drug smuggler.
And yet, while returning from a recent humanitarian mission trip with friends in the Bahamas, Bowman says customs agents manhandled her during a strip-search in which she was required to remove her shirt and pants, and was touched beneath her clothes.
The incident has left the 17-year-old traumatized and dumbfounded.
"To be treated like a criminal, after I had done missions work and helped children in their country, was a stab in the back to me," she said.
A different Bahamian customs agent, who provided security while the mission group was in the Bahamas and came to know Bowman, also is appalled at the actions of the TSA and U.S. Customs agents.
"What those guys did was completely inappropriate," said Kevin Renaldo Collie.
Bowman and others were on the mission trip as part of their community service as representatives of the World's Miss Tourism program. This is the second year Bowman has made the trip. She is this year's South Dakota representative.
The group's chaperone, Bridget Gasper, said this year's trip spanned from June 22 to July 3. But Bowman and Gasper stayed longer because they scheduled the trip to coincide with the World's Miss Tourism national pageant in Nashville on Saturday. During the trip, participants worked in children's homes and churches, as well as serving as goodwill ambassadors while touring the country.
On Thursday, Bowman and Gasper went to the airport in Nassau. They checked in with American Airlines then went through TSA and customs with no problem.
They headed upstairs in the terminal to grab a bite to eat before boarding their flight. While Bowman headed for the cafeteria, Gasper stopped off at the restroom.
Bowman said she sat down with her makeup bag next to her at a table in the cafeteria when she realized there was a dog beside her.
"I honestly didn't know it was a drug dog so I petted it," Bowman said.
The agent then told her not to pet the dog. He also said that they would need to check her bag because the dog was showing interest in it.
"They first took me into the family bathroom and asked me to open the bag," she said.
They found nothing incriminating and told Bowman they needed to X-ray the bag.
"It was embarrassing. Here I was wearing my sash and carrying my crown and being escorted by these agents," she said.
Once they reached the area where the bag was to be X-rayed, the agents began asking more pointed questions, Bowman said.
"I was just standing there watching what they were doing, and they asked if I had been around drugs. They started interrogating me with all these questions," she said.
It was at that point that Bowman asked if she could text Gasper and let her know where she was.
Bowman said an agent told her to type a message saying: "My bag is being checked. I will be up soon."
The officer then took the phone and began looking through Bowman's pictures and messages, she said.
You have free articles remaining.
Gasper then received a text, which the two realized later must have been sent by the customs agent asking: "Where are you at?"
Gasper replied saying: "I am at our gate. C43."
Much to Gasper's surprise, the customs agent showed up while she was waiting at the gate and told her she needed to follow him.
"I picked up my bag and phone and noticed he had Trysten's phone," she said. "He then started interrogating me. He wanted to know why we had stayed in the country so long."
Gasper and Bowman were finally reunited in the customs office area of the terminal, but it was short lived.
They took Bowman into a room and continued to interrogate her.
"They asked if I had ever done drugs. Had anyone slipped me anything? Did I have a past with crime? That's when I started giggling and told them, 'I'm really a pretty good girl,'" she said.
They then told Bowman she was going into a nearby room to be body searched.
"I put my crown down on the table. I just thought they were going to pat me down. They had me put my hands on the table. Then they asked me to pull up my shirt. I did and they searched in my bra. Then they told me to pull down my pants. I did. It was really traumatic," she said.
Gasper said as Bowman's legal guardian, she was not asked for her consent to the strip search, nor was Bowman read her rights.
A short time later, they told the two they were free to go.
Bowman's mom, Kendra Lawson, said she believes something one of the agents found while snooping through her daughter's phone may have saved her daughter from more heartache. She thinks they saw photos of Gasper and Bowman with Collie, the Bahamian customs agent.
"They asked her how she knew him. Then the questioning ended very quickly," Lawson said.
Lawson has been in contact with Collie, who is working to investigate the handling of Trysten Bowman. He said no one disputes the fact that they have stringent processes for customs, but this time the agents went too far.
"What bothers me is how they handled her," he said. "She certainly isn't the profile of a drug smuggler. I've met her. I've spent time with her. She's a little girl full of life. I was totally baffled and shocked at what happened."
Lawson found out about the incident when her daughter and Gasper landed in Nashville late Thursday.
"(Trysten) was crying and telling me what happened," Lawson said. "It kills me as a mom. She's 17. I know in a year she will be out on her own, but she's still my baby."
In addition to asking Collie to investigate the incident, Lawson called the office of South Dakota Sen. John Thune.
Thune spokesman Ryan Wrasse confirmed the senator's staff received a call on the matter, but declined to comment on details.
Collie said he is encouraging Trysten's mom to sue the agents that he says terribly mishandled the situation.
He said they violated her daughter's rights as an individual by not reading her rights, going through her private phone messages and luring Gasper to them in a message sent by a customs agent.
"The family does have the right to sue for damages," he said. "I'm definitely going to be suing. For me to be dragged into something like this should not happen. What we have here are some overzealous agents overstepping their boundaries."