Mississippi State Student Pleads Guilty to Trying to Join ISIS: ‘Don’t Look for Me Because You Won’t be Able to Retrieve Me’
A 20-year-old former Mississippi State sophomore pleaded guilty to a federal terrorism charges on Tuesday after she and her fiancé tried to board a plane to Istanbul in August with the intention of joining ISIS, PEOPLE confirms.
Jaelyn Young, 20, pleaded guilty to one count of providing material support or resources to terrorists in front of U.S. District Judge Sharion Aycock in Aberdeen, Mississippi, a spokesperson for the court tells PEOPLE.
Young faces up to 20 years in prison along with $250,000 in fines and lifetime probation, theAssociated Press reports.
Her fiancé, Muhammad Dakhlalla, pleaded guilty to similar charge earlier this month, according to the AP. They both are being held in an Oxford, Mississippi, jail.
Authorities said that months before the pair’s August arrest, they sought the help of undercover federal agents to get into Syria, the AP reports.
Court papers state that Young, who according to the AP was a former cheerleader and honor student in high school, announced her conversion to Islam in March 2015 and urged Dakhlalla to join ISIS along with her.
“After her conversion, Young distanced herself from family and friends and felt spending time with non-Muslims would be a bad influence,” prosecutors wrote earlier this month, according to the AP.
Prosecutors said she complained about the treatment of Muslims in the U.S. and the United Kingdom and that she viewed ISIS fighters as liberators.
Prosecutors said that before she attempted to fly overseas, Young wrote a farewell letter to her family telling them not to alert authorities.
“I will contact you soon. I am safe. Don’t look for me because you won’t be able to retrieve me if you tried. I am leaving to become a medic,” she reportedly wrote.
“I found the contacts, made arrangements, planned the departure. I am guilty of what you soon will find out.”