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How Typical Arvada Teen Turned Into Terror Suspect

DENVER (CBS4)- More details are being revealed in how a 19-year-old Arvada woman made the transition from a typical American teenager into a terror suspect.

The FBI arrested Shannon Maureen Conley in April but her case was just made public. She is accused of helping the radical Islamic group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, also known as ISIS.

shannon conley
Shannon Conley (credit: CBS)

Conley seemed to be a typical teen. She attended middle school in Loveland, then Arvada West High School before transferring to Ralston Valley then back to Arvada West.

According to court documents, she converted to Islam after meeting a Muslim man online who convinced her to take part in a holy war.

Shannon Conley
Shannon Conley (credit: Facebook)

The path isn't so unusual if compared to the so-called "Jihad Jane" in Pennsylvania and the Colorado woman known as "Jihad Jamie" from Leadville.

Each had gone or planned to travel overseas to take part in a holy war.

Jim Davis is a Special Agent in Charge of the Denver office of the FBI. He said the internet is being used to recruit disaffected Americans.

"I mean this is a sales pitch. If it's romance they are going to use to draw these folks in, that's what they are going to play up," said Davis.

In the case of Jamie Paulin Ramierez of Leadville, she went to Ireland and married an Algerian man. Then she took part in a plot to kill a Swedish cartoonist whose drawings had angered Muslims. She is serving an eight year sentence in prison.

Coleen LaRose was known as Jihad Jane and convicted in the same plot. She met a man on a Muslim dating site. She is also serving time in prison.

Conley was first picked up on the FBI's radar at the Faith Bible Chapel in Arvada where she was wearing Islamic garb. She told investigators, "If they think I'm a terrorist, I'll give them something to think I am."

She was arrested while boarding a plane with a ticket to Turkey. Her arrest happened after the FBI repeatedly to talk her out of her plans.

"Tried to suggest other things she could do to help folks and after all those attempts she was committed to Jihad," said Davis.

Conley is facing up to 14 years behind bars if convicted.


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