Aunt: Family 'devastated' by arrest of Aurora men charged with conspiring to help ISIS
The aunt of two Aurora cousins accused of plotting to attack a suburban military base and aid Islamic State militants says her family has been devastated by the arrests.
"We're taking this hard. It's breaking up our whole family," Tiffany Edmonds of Gary, Indiana, said Monday outside a federal courtroom in Chicago. "We're not people like this, and they're not people like that. This is a surprise. This is a nightmare. I'm not processing it at all until I'm able to talk to my nephews."
Her comments came just minutes after the attorney for Hasan R. Edmonds, a 22-year-old Army National Guard soldier, requested and received more time from a federal judge before he asks for bail to be set for his client.
During a brief hearing, attorney Paul Flynn told Federal Judge Sheila Finnegan he needs the additional time to collect information on the case before seeking bail for Hasan Edmonds, who was arrested Wednesday at Midway Airport in Chicago. Authorities said he was leaving for Cairo, Egypt, to join up with the Islamic State.
His cousin Jonas M. Edmonds, 29, was arrested that night at his home in Aurora.
Both U.S. citizens and alumni of West Aurora High School, the cousins each are charged with conspiring to provide material support and resources to a foreign terrorist organization.
The two are accused of meeting with undercover agents for months, during which they disclosed plans to "bring the flames of war to the heart" of America by attacking the Joliet military facility where Hasan was assigned to work.
Tiffany Edmonds said she hasn't spoken to her nephews in months but was unaware of any anti-American views they held. She said both men converted from Christianity to Islam about 10 years ago, following several other family members.
"I read they had plans to attack American soil. It's crushing. It's heartbreaking," she said. "We're Americans. We were all born here. Jonas' mom is a Christian. They're not monsters."
She believes the men were misled.
"If something happened, I believe it's pure manipulation and once they see their family and how this has broken their family. maybe they might have a break in that manipulation," she said.
Hasan and Jonas Edmonds both are due in federal court at 2 p.m. April 6.