A 19-year-old nurse aide in Colorado, who learned everything she knows about Islam from the internet, was arrested last April in the Denver airport as she attempted to fly to the Middle East and join ISIS, according to documents unsealed yesterday.
Shannon Maureen Conley, described by one NBC source as “a lonesome troubled teenager,” was on her way to Turkey, where she planned to meet with a purported jihadist she fell in love with online. Identified as “Y.M” in documents, the man told Conley he was associated with ISIS and encouraged her to follow her dream of waging jihad. Conley’s plan was to help ISIS any way she could, including “fight should it become necessary.”
Nabbing Conley at the Denver Airport wasn’t much trouble for law enforcement given their long relationship with her. Federal agents made their first contact with Conley last year after a security guard at Faith Bible Chapel in Arvada, Colorado, called police about a suspicious woman on campus. Her conversation with a U.S. Marshal was enough to earn Conley a visit from the FBI a month later. That’s when she admitted she was dedicated to jihad.
FBI agents continued to meet with Conley and tried to dissuade her against going to Syria. They even encouraged her to try humanitarian work. In February, they told her parents, but Conley still bought her plane ticket to Turkey. In a statement to agents, Conley’s parents explained that their daughter believed that “she, as a Muslim, needed to marry young and be confrontational in her support of Islam.” Conley is currently being held in federal custody and is charged with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists.