Colorado Teen Arrested When Trying To Join Her ISIS Lover

Lauren Eissler Contributor
Font Size:

A Colorado teenager met an Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) fighter online, fell in love with him and tried to join him in Syria. But she didn’t even make it out of America.

Shannon Maureen Conley, 19, was arrested by the FBI at Denver International Airport as she was trying to leave the country to join her 32-year-old Tunisian love interest near the Turkish border. She was charged with conspiracy to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization, according to ABC News.

But Conley isn’t just a normal American teenager. She’s licensed as a certified nurse’s aide in Colorado and was trained in U.S. military tactics and firearms through the U.S. Army Explorers.

Conley planned to help out in the ISIS camp using her nursing skills, and her Tunisian friend told her that was good because they needed more nurses, according to the supporting affidavit that accompanied the U.S. criminal complaint. These court documents were unsealed Wednesday.

She had planned to serve in the U.S. military but later changed her mind. She thought she wouldn’t be accepted because she wore a hijab and niqab and because of her religion.

“She said she intended to use that training to go overseas to wage jihad,” the affidavit said. “She also intended to train Islamic Jihad fighters in U.S. military tactics.”

Officials — and even her family — tried to dissuade Conley from joining ISIS. She was first noticed when she was reportedly “behaving suspiciously” at Faith Bible Chapel in Arvada. The affidavit said that church was the scene of a shooting in 2007.

Conley is still in the custody of U.S. Marshals and a trial date hasn’t been scheduled yet, according to CNN. If convicted, she faces up to 15 years in prison.

Her attorney, Robert William Pepin, wouldn’t comment, but Conley’s mother said that it was a difficult time for them.

Follow Lauren on Twitter