US Woman Killed in Syria 'Brainwashed': Family

'My mother was not a terrorist,' wrote Nicole Mansfield's daughter

By Ruth Brown,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 2, 2013 3:22 PM CDT

(Newser) – How did Nicole Lynn Mansfield, a 33-year-old woman raised in a Baptist family in the suburbs of Michigan, end up dying alongside rebel forces in Syria this week? It's not an easy question for her family to answer, but they have some speculation: brainwashing, bribery, or perhaps force, the BBC reports. "My mother was not a terrorist," her 18-year-old daughter wrote on her Facebook page. "She went there for a reason that is unknown. But believe this—she was forced to stay. She told me she would be back in a week."

Mansfield converted to Islam four or five years ago, and much of her life and whereabouts since seem to have been unknown or vague to family members. Her grandmother describes her as "not weak-minded, but gullible" and says perhaps she was offered a financial reward. "She wasn't a fighter," she says. Mansfield's aunt agrees. "She was a peacemaker who always tried to make everyone happy, and I think she went over there and she got brainwashed," says her aunt. "It's not in Nicole's nature to even think of throwing a grenade."

In this undated photo provided by the Mansfield family, Nicole Lynn Mansfield poses for a photo with her daughter Triana.
In this undated photo provided by the Mansfield family, Nicole Lynn Mansfield poses for a photo with her daughter Triana.   (AP Photo/Mansfield Family Photo)
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