Virginia Man Arrested for Destroying Evidence as ISIS Sympathizer
A Sterling, Virginia man, Sean Andrew Duncan, 21, was arrested by Federal authorities on Friday, accused of being an ISIS sympathizer who destroyed pertinent evidence regarding his case. He was allegedly acting in a manner
“indicative of an individual planning and researching how to conduct an attack.”
The criminal complaint states that as Federal authorities raided his home, he ran barefooted out of it with something in his hand. When agents caught up with him, he threw a plastic baggy “over their heads” that contained “a memory chip stored within a thumb drive that had been snapped into pieces, and placed in a liquid substance that produced frothy white bubbles.”
Duncan has been under investigation since 2016, when a tip by relatives to the FBI stated he might have been “radicalized” because he expressed support for beheadings by ISIS. He befriended Muslims when he was in high school, and converted to Islam.
Duncan and his Muslim wife, whom he married when he was 18, had recently traveled to Turkey, but were deported back to America. His wife, Dr. Zakiya Sadeq, now 36, obtained a medical degree at the International Islamic University Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur, according to Stripes. She was reportedly working at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center when they moved to Pittsburgh. But all wasn’t peaceful in this Camelot, as his family was concerned about his direction.
“She was in her 30s, and we were trying to figure out why this woman who is also studying medicine, how did she find this 18-year-old boy who doesn’t have a job or money, and why is she interested in him?…We were all like, ‘What the hell are you doing?'” Family member “Zach”
Duncan began wearing religious garb, the Islamic robe and hat. By February of 2016, he started up an online relationship with another woman and even invited her to come with him to be his second wife- she declined. By September of 2016, Sadeq became pregnant. On June 6, 2017, 4 month old Muhammad Duncan died, possibly from SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). Autopsy findings were “inconclusive.”
Authorities obtained Duncan’s cell phone records from the Allegheny County Sheriff’s Department investigation into the death of his child, and learned that he had been conducting numerous internet searches for ISIS-related materials. He also searched for ISIS attacks, body armor, weapons (including machetes), surveillance and defense tactics, and paintball venues in the Pennsylvania area.
After the child died, the couple returned to Virginia.
By October, Duncan had begun messaging an ISIS recruiter who was suspected of “drawing fighters” from around the world to her home. She was arrested by a foreign government. On December 4, 2017, agents interviewed her and showed her a copy of a list of names and phone numbers – she had been documenting the names and numbers of those she spoke with. On that list was the phone number that belonged to Sean Duncan.
On December 19, a search warrant on Duncan’s residence was authorized by a Federal Judge. It was executed on December 29, 2017. At this point he is accused of destroying evidence, but more charges may be pending. He appeared in court on Tuesday.
Featured photo- Screenshot of FBI removing items from a search warrant at Duncan’s home.