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Jihad Jane, American who lived on Main Street

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Profiling Colleen LaRose
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Colleen LaRose called herself Jihad Jane online, authorities say
  • She wrote that she was desperate to help Muslims
  • She's linked to group in Ireland that was interested in waging "jihad," or holy war, police say
  • She is in jail now and faces arraignment in a week

(CNN) -- The Pennsylvania woman who dubbed herself Jihad Jane is an American who lived literally on Main Street in an apartment where she spent much time online, posting messages saying she was "desperate to do something" to help Muslims.

Colleen LaRose, a 46-year-old who converted to Islam, has been indicted, accused of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists and kill a person in a foreign country, the Justice Department announced Tuesday.

She was not well known in her neighborhood in Pennsburg, an hour north of Philadelphia. One of her neighbors reacted to the news by saying, "It scares the hell out of me."

LaRose was arrested October 15, officials say, but that was kept under wraps to protect another ongoing investigation. She's in custody in Philadelphia and is scheduled to be arraigned at 10:30 a.m. March 18, the Justice Department said.

Video: Who is Colleen LaRose?
Video: 'Jihad Jane's' neighbors react
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The Justice Department has said LaRose and five alleged co-conspirators recruited men on the Internet "to wage violent jihad in South Asia and Europe, and recruited women on the Internet who had passports and the ability to travel to and around Europe in support of violent jihad."

Read the indictment (PDF)

LaRose, who is reportedly divorced, was very active online, authorities say.

In one posting on a social networking site, she wrote about marrying a Muslim man overseas.

In February 2008, she wrote: "Asalamalakum [peace be unto you]. You make me so happy, I cannot put into words. Inshallah [God willing] one day I will be at your side as your wife and never leave your side."

Four months later, she called herself Jihad Jane in a message saying she was "desperate to do something somehow to help" Muslims.

From December 2008 to October 2009, LaRose engaged in electronic communication with the five co-conspirators about their shared desires to wage jihad and become martyrs, according to the indictment.

LaRose is also linked to the online organization Revolutionmuslim.com -- where she was a subscriber, again using the name Jihad Jane. The site is run by an American Muslim who has called the Army psychiatrist accused of a shooting rampage at Fort Hood, Texas, a hero.

A posting on the site Wednesday said: "Sisters -- please consider sending her [LaRose] a message of support and hope and let's remind her she isn't alone. It's likely she's the only Muslimah there. As always, use discretion when writing, don't ask pointed questions, and of course don't say anything that could create problems for her or yourselves."

LaRose had a boyfriend whom she lived with until August of last year. The man's initials are in her indictment.

Records show she was arrested twice in 1997: once for DWI and once for passing a bad check in the San Antonio, Texas, area. She moved from Texas to Pennsylvania in 2004.

In 2005, LaRose attempted to commit suicide, according to a police report filed at the time. She was depressed about the death of her father, the report from Pennsburg Police Officer Michael Devlin says.

She told Devlin she swallowed as many as 10 pills of cyclobenzaprine, a muscle relaxant. The pills were mixed with alcohol.

"Colleen was highly intoxicated and having difficulty maintaining her balance," Devlin wrote. I "questioned LaRose about harming herself, at which point she stated she does not want to die."

Devlin was dispatched to check on LaRose in response to a 911 call made by LaRose's sister in Texas, who was worried LaRose might try to kill herself.

CNN's Susan Candiotti contributed to this report.

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