Exclusive: 'Jihad Jane's' Ex-Husband Says Suspect Was Bible-Carrying Churchgoer

Jihad Janes Colleen LaRose ex-husband says she was a good person.AP Photo/ABC
'Jihad Jane's ex-husband says she was a 'good person.'

The former husband of "Jihad Jane," the Pennsylvania woman whom authorities accused of helping terrorists and plotting to kill a Swedish cartoonist, said she used to be a Bible-carrying churchgoer and "a good person."

"I don't know what happened over the years," Rudy Cavazos said in an exclusive interview with ABC News.

Colleen LaRose was indicted Tuesday on charges she tried to help recruit Islamic fighters and plotted to kill a Swedish cartoonist who made fun of the Muslim prophet Mohammed. But the woman who faces these allegations bears no resemblance to the one to whom he was married for a decade, Cavazos said.

VIDEO: Rudy Cavazos says Colleen LaRose was the bible-carrying, church-going type. Play
'Jihad Jane's' Ex-Husband Speaks

Indeed, he said, LaRose used to carry a Bible and attended church regularly.

"We used to go to church on Sundays and pray … just like everybody else," he said.

"She was a good person. … I don't know what happened over the years."

Federal authorities said they have an idea.

LaRose, 46, of Montgomery, Pa., conspired to provide material support to terrorists and to kill in a foreign country, court papers allege. LaRose reached out through the Internet to jihadist groups, saying she was "desperate to do something to help" suffering Muslim people, and that she desired to become a martyr, according to the papers.

Her indictment shocked people across the nation and in her community.

Neighbors describe LaRose as an average "housewife." To federal authorities, though, the woman is better known as Fatima Rose or Jihad Jane, the latter a moniker she apparently coined herself.

LaRose is also accused of making false statements to a government official and of attempted identity theft relating to a passport she allegedly stole with the intention of giving to an Islamic fighter.

Woman's Troubled History

Cavazos and LaRose met in Miles, Texas, in 1980, he said, and were married for 10 years. But after the divorce, records suggest, LaRose sometimes had a troubled life. She made her way to Pennsylvania, where police say she tried to commit suicide in 2005, after the death of her father.

Sometime later, LaRose became fascinated with Islam and grew concerned about what she perceived as the unfair treatment of Muslims around the world.

Supposed Target Calls Alleged Plotters "Low-Tech"

By 2008, FBI agents said, LaRose was working with radicals on the Internet to recruit candidates for suicide missions. She and others plotted to kill Lars Vilks, a Swedish cartoonist who depicted Mohammed as a dog in 2007, authorities allege.

Vilks' actions offended many Muslims, earning him death threats and setting off protests around the world.

Vilks has appeared to take the alleged plot against his life in stride.

"I don't think they're the real hard professionals. … I think they're low-tech," he said.

Several people who were arrested in Ireland Tuesday were allegedly part of the same assassination plot against Vilks.

ABC News' Emily Friedman and Jason Ryan contributed to this report.

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