May 4, 2010— -- Faisal Shahzad seemed to be living the American dream, with a wife, two children, and a nice house in the Conneticut suburbs.
Shahzad, who was charged today with attempting to commit an act of terror, attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and traveling over an international border to commit an act of terrorism in connection with the alleged attempted car bombing of Times Square Saturday, appeared to be an immigrant from Pakistan making a life for himself through education and hard work.
"They had little picnics in the backyard. The wife seemed happy," Mary Ann Galech, one of Shahzad's neighbors in Shelton, Conn., told ABC News today.
Shahzad gained U.S. citizenship in April 2009, and a Facebook page allegedly linked to Shahzad's wife, Huma Mian, seemed to capture a couple embracing the American dream. Baby photos fill the pages, favorite shows listed are "Everybody Loves Raymond" and "Friends," and under a photo of her husband is the caption, "he is my everything."
But in a pile of trash outside the two-story grayish brown colonial in Shelton, ABC News found traces of a life left behind.
According to a job application found there, Shahzad attended a primary school in Saudi Arabia and several schools in Pakistan, and after he came to the United States earned a BA and an MBA at the University of Bridgeport.
Even his signature on the documents, with a heart dotting the "i" in Faisal, seem to suggest some optimism.
Financial and personal documents show Shahzad had expanding credit card limits, made timely mortgage payments on his $218,000 mortgage from Chase Home Finance and even obtained a $65,000 home equity loan from Wachovia Bank. Shahzad seemed to be earning a good living as a financial analyst for the Affinion Group, where he worked from 2006 to 2009.
But aside from the finincial, ties to friends and family are also revealed in the documents found. According to a report in the Connecticut Post, there were birthday cards wishing him "love" from friends who "really care" and others with hopes of hearing from him to let them know he was doing well.
A passport includes a picture of Shahzad that shows a serious-looking man in a bow tie, and transcripts from Southeastern University, in Washington, D.C., where he attended school for five semesters, show mostly Cs and Ds.
But in the months leading up to his departure from the house in Shelton, Shahzad seemed to take a turn away from embracing a life in America. According to a next-door neighbor who asked not to be named, Shahzad's behavior began to change and he became frightening.
"He was always in black, creeping around the house in all black," she said to ABC News.
She said Shahzad's wife gave her bracelets from Pakistan and their girls played together, but then suddenly in May 2009 they were gone.
Shahzad gave different reasons for why they were leaving, neighbors said: a baby was on the way, he had to take care of family, and even that they were moving to Missouri.
One thing seems for certain, according to authorities, just two months after gaining his citizenship he vanished into Pakistan.
With his departure, the house in Shelton fell into foreclosure and when Shahzad returned to America two months ago, authorities say the life of promise was gone.
Shazhad allegedly moved alone to Bridgeport, Conn., on a mission of destruction.