Friends of Elkhart ISIS widow say they believe her story
It's been years since Krysti Hankins and Alix Winne saw Samantha Sally, the 32-year-old ISIS widow, who used to live in Elkhart and work at a packaging company with her husband, Moussa Elhassani.
But three were reconnected, by chance, when Winne saw an article on the internet.
"I clicked on it, and I saw her picture. I'm like, 'Oh my God, no way," recalled Winne.
She called Hankins.
"We read it together on the phone. We're like, 'What in the world? This can't be true!" said Hankins.
She and her four children are in Syrian-Kurdish custody after an air strike killed Elhassani, who joined ISIS in 2014. According to Sally, he tricked her into moving to Morocco, his homeland, and instead gave her an ultimatum on the Syrian-Turkish border: forsake her daughter to ISIS to save her son or follow her husband with the family intact. Sally chose the latter.
"If someone took my child and crossed the border, and you said, 'You have a choice,' I'm going to go with my child," expressed Hankins.
She, Sally, and Winne met each other in the Jehovah's Witness faith, growing up near Springdale, Ark. They played together as kids and went to drag races as adults.
"Fun, so fun," the friends agreed, of Sally's character.
Given their strict upbringing, they also agree Samantha isn't fabricating her story, which has been dismissed by social media users.
"Think about what you would do in that specific situation," said Winne, with Hankins adding: "I really think people need to re-watch (the story) before judging it."
Sally has been interviewed by the FBI and awaits a decision as to whether or not she and her family will be able to move back to the United States.