Michigan mother killed fighting in Syria
By The Associated Press
Published: Friday, May 31, 2013, 9:09 p.m.
BURTON, Mich. — A Michigan mother killed during fighting in Syria often left many family members and friends in the dark about the details of another life — marrying an Arab immigrant, moving around frequently and taking trips to the Middle East, including the one that would be her last, relatives said Friday.
Relatives, including the grandmother who raised Nicole Lynn Mansfield, say they are left with differing, incomplete accounts of the life of the 33-year-old mother, who is the only American known to have been killed fighting in Syria.
A pro-Syrian government news agency said Mansfield and two others were fighters for a group opposed to Syria's government and were killed in a confrontation in the northwestern city of Idlib.
Mansfield first became interested in the Middle East after a boyfriend introduced her to Islam several years ago, her relatives said. She continued with the religion after the relationship ended.
She later married an Arab immigrant, got divorced and traveled to Dubai, telling her family at the time she wanted to learn more about Arab culture and the politics of the region, relatives said.
Her grandmother, Carole Mansfield, said she remembered warning her granddaughter about the potential dangers of taking the Dubai trip alone.
“I said, ‘Nikki, Nikki, Nikki, do you realize you're looking a rattlesnake in the face?'” Carole Mansfield said. “ ‘Oh, Grandma,' I can still hear her say.”
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