FLINT (WWJ) – The family of a 33-year-old Flint woman killed in an alleged attempt to topple the Syrian government is speaking out.
Nicole Lynn Mansfield’s aunt, Jill Porter, says she raised her niece from birth, and never envisioned this horrific end.
Porter told WWJ Newsradio 950′s Kathryn Larson the family didn’t like that the mother of one converted to Islam three years ago and married an Arab man she later divorced.
Porter said the FBI came to her house last year asking questions — and there were warning signs that trouble was brewing.
Porter said she has no idea why her niece was in Syria, but believes Mansfield was “brainwashed.”
“She was too headstrong,” Porter said. “When she got something set in her mind, she just did it — without really thinking … you know, too hard about it.”
“I mean, when she trusted somebody, there was that trust. So, yes … there were red flags, you know, for her family,” Porter said.
Porter said she believes her niece was framed– and wishes she would have somehow intervened.
“I tried by best and my hardest to talk to her — there was no way,” Porter said. “If I could just turn back the channels, the time … I would have just done so many things differently.”
Now the family hopes the Syrian Government and the FBI will work with them to bring Mansfield’s body back to the U.S., so that she can have a proper funeral.
A pro-Syrian government news agency reported that Mansfield and two others were fighters for a group opposed to Syria’s government and were killed in a confrontation in Idlib.
Mansfield’s best friend of 13 years, Janice Giles, said she doesn’t believe that story.
“Nicole Lynn Mansfield was a beautiful person and her with all those guns and in a car with two men, I do not believe is what really happened,” Giles wrote in an email to WWJ. ”They are covering something up. I know that much for sure.”
The FBI in Detroit isn’t commenting.