SANDY LAKE, Pa. (KDKA) - The FBI won't confirm it, but a national publication has identified a Mercer County mother of eight as a major player in the assault on the Capitol.
She's become known as the lady with the bullhorn, seeming to have knowledge of the Capitol Buildings floor plan, instructing insurrectionists where to go. Moments before, she can be seen in position with a battering ram breaking the glass window, forcefully leading the pack onward.
The FBI has posted pictures of her seeking to identify her.
But according to an article in the New Yorker, she is same woman who until recently lived in a house in rural Sandy Lake, Mercer County. She's a divorced mother of eight named Rachel Powell whose alleged involvement was unknown to neighbors.
"Had no clue. Kind of a shock," said one.
The FBI won't confirm, saying the bureau will not comment on ongoing investigations. But Powell is quoted in the New Yorker article as saying she is that woman seen in the videos taken on Jan. 6.
In the piece, she says she's described as a libertarian who objects to excessive government control, and last spring she was a fixture at demonstrations in Mercer County against COVID-19 shutdowns ordered by the state, telling the Sharon Herald, "I don't think the governor has the right to tell people not to work."
Until last summer, she had been working as an independent contractor selling organic yogurt and other products from Cherish Creamery in Jefferson County at farmer's markets in and around Pittsburgh. But in a phone interview, creamery owner Paula Keswick says she was banned from those markets for refusing to wear a mask.
"Last spring, when all the events that we did because of the COVID mandated that any vendors had to wear masks and she absolutely refused so she was barred from certain events," she said.
Keswick says she never spoke politics with her but the New Yorker article said Powell became upset with the results of the presidential election, believing in Rudy Giuliani and others that there had been fraud. But Keswick said she was shocked to find Powell could have been involved in the Capitol takeover.
Powell has not been charged with anything and her whereabouts are unknown.
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