It's pretty common for 21st century couples to meet online, fall in love and get married. It's less common for a person to fall in love with a terrorist and try to become one herself.
This is exactly what happened in the case of Shannon Conley of Denver, Colorado.
Recently unsealed documents confirm that 19-year-old Conley was arrested on April 8, 2014 at the Denver Airport where she was attempting to board a flight bound for Turkey. Officials detained her on terrorism charges when Conley's parents alerted them of their daughter's plan to meet with ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) with the hopes of joining its ranks, though this was hardly the first time Feds had been in contact with Conley and her parents.
According to Fox 31 Denver, it all started about six months prior to the arrest, thanks to her boyfriend, a 32-year-old Tunisian man and ISIS militant known only by his initials, Y.M. She had met the man online. After her arrest, Conley was happy to confirm to F.B.I. agents that she was planning to join ISIS to commit jihad upon targets in the United States. Holding nothing back, she bragged about her love of radical Islam and detailed her desire to support ISIS with her nursing skills.
Over the course of her six-month transformation, Conley had been approached by investigators several times and warned her not to pursue her plans to join the Syrian extremists. Allegedly, Conley proudly declared that she'd rather go to prison than turn away from her plans for jihad. She explained that her suitor, Y.M., was planning to marry her and sponsor her induction into ISIS.
Prior to six months ago, her social media posts were much like that of any 19-year-old, but in the weeks preceding her arrest they took an alarming turn. Conley changed her Facebook profile to identify herself with an Islamic name, "Halima," and noted her job as "Slave to Allah." In post after post, she criticized America's treatment of Muslims, offered sympathy for captured or executed terrorists and professed repeated desires to wage holy war against non-Muslims.
Conley's accounts on other networks including Pinterest and Google+ showed similar signs of embracing extremist views. She also signed up for an account on the SingleMuslim.com website, where she falsely claimed to be a resident of Morocco.
One of the most bizarre episodes of this six-month saga involved her father walking in on Shannon Skyping with her Tunisian boyfriend. "Y.M." greeted Mr. Conley and asked him for his blessing over their desire to wed and live together in Syria. Both of the Conley parents told Shannon that they didn't support her relationship or her desire to go to Syria.
According to the Denver Post, authorities found Al Qaeda literature and CDs and DVDs labeled "Anwar Al-Awlaki" inside her luggage at the Denver Airport. Al-Awlaki was a fellow Coloradan-turned-terrorist who died during a 2011 drone strike in Yemen.