Three American teenage girls are back in the U.S. after they were detained in Germany over the weekend and sent back to Denver. According to several U.S. officials, it is believed the girls were attempting to go to Syria to join Islamic militants like ISIS.
German police stopped the three girls on Saturday at Frankfurt Airport at the request of the U.S. consulate and their parents. The girls left Denver on Friday, flew to Chicago and then took a flight to Frankfurt with tickets to fly to Istanbul, Turkey, NBC News reported.
According to a missing persons report filed in Denver, two of the teenagers are sisters who took $2,000 from their parents after saying they were sick and staying home from school on Friday. After the girls supposedly left to the library, their parents discovered their passports and the money was missing and called police.
The sisters are ages 17 and 15, while the third girl is 17, according to Glenn Thompson, bureau chief of the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Department. According to another official, the oldest girl, who is from Sudan, came up with the plan and convinced the other girls.
It is unknown if the girls had a contact in Syria or simply planned to show up. Officials agree that federal charges are unlikely, as charging juveniles in the federal system is complicated.
[quote text_size=”small” author=”– Sue Payne” author_title=”FBI Denver spokeswoman”]
FBI Denver Division is aware of the situation and assisted with bringing the individuals back to Denver. The juveniles are safe and reunited with their families.
According to an official in the case, this is part of a growing trend of “disaffected youth” who are becoming radicalized, adding that there are other cases of teenagers attempting to go to Syria that have not been made public, ABC News reported.
Earlier this month, a 19-year-old Denver woman pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization, as she was attempting to help the Islamic State militant group in Syria. The woman, Shannon Conley, was arrested at the Denver Airport while trying to board a flight to Syria, where she planned to meet with a Tunisian ISIS fighter she met online.