Reports: Michigan woman killed in Syria

Updated 8:04 a.m. ET May 31, 2013

FLINT, Mich. A 33-year-old Michigan woman who converted to Islam was reportedly killed in Syria fighting alongside rebels.

She has been identified as Nicole Lynn Mansfield of Flint.

Mansfield's aunt, Monica Mansfield Speelman, told the Detroit Free Press that her niece was a convert to Islam who married an Arab immigrant several years ago but later divorced him. The family was not happy about Mansfield's conversion to Islam, said Monica Speelman and Mansfield's grandmother, Carole Mansfield.

When last contacted by CBS News, Speelman said the FBI had reports that her niece was killed in Syria, but that official confirmation of her death would have to come from the State Department. The State Department has said it is aware of the reports and is working with the Czech Republic mission to obtain more information. With no diplomatic staff in Syria, the U.S. works through the Czech Republic on diplomatic matters.

FBI Detroit spokesman Simon Shaykhet told the AP he can't comment on the matter.

Nicole Mansfield was raised as a Baptist and her father was a General Motors production worker, the family said. She quit high school after becoming pregnant but later earned her GED, attended community college and worked in home health care for 10 years, they said.

"She had a heart of gold" but was easily influenced by others, Carole Mansfield said. "I think she could have been brain washed."

Syrian news reports say that Mansfield and two other Westerners killed with her were fighters for the opposition to Syria's government.

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