Colorado woman questioned in plot to kill cartoonist
Irish police free her, three others without charge
LEADVILLE, Colo. — Four people, including a Colorado woman, arrested over an alleged plot to assassinate Swedish artist Lars Vilks have been freed without charge, but three others remain in custody, Irish police said yesterday.
Christine Mott of Leadville identified the US woman as her daughter, Jamie Paulin-Ramirez, 31. Mott said she had been informed of Paulin-Ramirez’s arrest by the FBI and other federal law enforcement agencies.
Paulin-Ramirez was among seven people arrested in Ireland, including three Algerians, a Libyan, a Palestinian, and a Croatian. She is married to one of the Algerians.
Three others remained in custody and were being questioned.
The seven were arrested Tuesday in Ireland hours before US authorities unveiled a terror indictment against a 46-year-old Philadelphia woman, Colleen LaRose, in connection with the alleged murder plot.
Mott recalled yesterday that before her daughter disappeared last fall, she announced she had converted to Islam. Paulin-Ramirez also began talking about Jihad with her Muslim stepfather, George Mott, and spent most of her time online as she withdrew from her family, her mother said.
“We were enemies,’’ said Mott, 59. “We couldn’t even speak to each other.’’
Paulin-Ramirez left Leadville, an old mining town, on Sept. 11, and took her 6-year-old son with her, her mother said.
A US official, who was not authorized to discuss the investigation and spoke on condition of anonymity, said earlier yesterday that Paulin-Ramirez had been detained in Ireland in connection with the alleged plot to kill Vilks, whose 2007 sketch depicted the head of the prophet Mohammed on a dog’s body, offending many Muslims and provoking terror front Al Qaeda in Iraq to offer a $100,000 bounty for his slaying.
Christine Mott described her daughter as troubled single mother who had the “mentality of an abused woman’’ and who, in trying to escape her loneliness, may have spiraled into the depths of Islam extremism.
US authorities on Tuesday unsealed terror charges against LaRose, who allegedly went by the name “Jihad Jane’’ to recruit others online to kill the cartoonist.
Denver FBI officials said yesterday they couldn’t confirm that the FBI had contacted Christine Mott about the case.
Mott said that Paulin-Ramirez told her family after she left in September that she went to Ireland with her son and married an Algerian whom she met online. Before abruptly leaving Colorado, Paulin-Ramirez had been a straight-A nursing student and worked at a clinic, her mother said.
She moved to Leadville from Denver six years ago.
Mott said her daughter told her family during Easter last year that she converted to Islam, and renamed her son. Mott said her daughter was teaching him to hate Christians as she grew more distant from her family.
When she discussed Jihad with her stepfather, George Mott, who has been a Muslim for more than 40 years, she told him “she’d strap a bomb for the cause,’’ Christine Mott said.
“To go blow somebody up?,’’ said Paulin-Ramirez’s mother, who is not Muslim. “That’s never been Islam.’’
Christine Mott said Paulin-Ramirez spent much of her time on the computer but she didn’t always know what her daughter was doing. She said her daughter was married three times before she left for Ireland, and asserted that her first husband used to beat her. Her second husband, the boy’s father, was an illegal immigrant from Mexico and was deported years ago, Christine Mott said.
She said she believes her daughter was lonely and she “got sucked in’’ and brainwashed by other people. Growing up Paulin-Ramirez was “the kid in the class everyone picked on and made fun of,’’ her mother said.
George Mott said the family had not been in touch with Paulin-Ramirez since news of her release and did not know where she might be or if her son was with her.
“That baby is my heart, he is my reason to breathe,’’ Christine Mott said crying.
Among the people Paulin-Ramirez had also communicated with online was a man from Pakistan who told her he wanted to come to the United States to learn how to fly, the Motts said.