Bond denied to MSU students FBI arrested trying to leave country and join ISIS

Bond denied to MSU students FBI arrested trying to leave country and join ISIS
Published: Aug. 11, 2015 at 9:40 AM CDT|Updated: Aug. 12, 2015 at 10:37 AM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn
Jaelyn Young at Warren Central High School's 2012 homecoming (Source: The Vicksburg Post)
Jaelyn Young at Warren Central High School's 2012 homecoming (Source: The Vicksburg Post)
Mohammad Dakhlalla (Source: WTVA)
Mohammad Dakhlalla (Source: WTVA)

COLUMBUS, MS (WMC) - Two Mississippi State University students admitted to federal investigators that they were trying to join ISIS, according to a Federal Bureau of Investigation affidavit.

A federal judge in Oxford, Mississippi denied bond to the two students Tuesday morning. The judge said despite the two students never having been in trouble and having family that would keep an eye on them, she still feared they would try to commit acts of terror if not held behind bars.

Muhammad Dakhlalla, 22, and Jaelyn Young, 19, were stopped in the Golden Triangle Airport in Columbus, Mississippi.

Both students are American citizens, and they have been under federal investigation since May when Young posted several tweets about wanting to join ISIS.

The Vicksburg Post reports Young is a former honor student and homecoming maid at her high school in Vicksburg, Mississippi.

"Always very polite, insightful, thoughtful," said Young's former teacher R.J. Morgan. "Just a really nice kid. Super smart, super intelligent."

Neighbors said Young's father is a U.S. veteran who served for 21 years and deployed dozens of times to Iraq and Afghanistan. They said he is currently a Vicksburg police officer.

Undercover FBI agents contacted the couple through social media. They said Young went into detail about wanting to be a medic for ISIS.  Dakhlalla planned to use his computer science background to help recruit for the terror group.

The federal affidavit goes on to say Young admitted to being the leader in the plan to join ISIS. She told investigators she became interested after converting to Islam in April 2015.

In July, Dakhlalla told undercover agents, "I am willing to fight. I want to be taught what it really means to have that heart in battle."

Investigators said the couple planned to fly to Greece under the guise of a couple on their honeymoon. They would then take a bus to Turkey to meet ISIS representatives for an interview.

According to the federal affidavit, Young praised the shootings in Chattanooga a day after they happened. "What makes me feel better after just watching the news, a akhi [that is Arabic for brother] carried out an attack against U.S. Marines in Tennessee. The number of supporters are growing."

The couple said they picked Golden Triangle Airport as their departure point because they believed small town airports to be a security weakness. They cited poor funding and a less educated staff as reasons they would be able to sneak through airport security.

Federal investigators also discovered Young and Dakhlalla were unemployed and being financially supported by their parents.

Vicksburg police released a statement saying the family is devastated and had no knowledge of or involvement in Jaelyn's plans to join ISIS.

Copyright 2015 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.