Noor Salman has reportedly dropped out of sight of authorities, going missing just days after her husband opened fire in an Orlando nightclub in an attack that left 49 people dead.
In the days after the shooting, FBI investigators have reportedly zeroed in on Salman, trying to determine whether she played a role in the massacre or if she had knowledge of it ahead of time. But amid the investigation, authorities have reportedly lost track of Salman.
In a press conference this week, Attorney General Loretta Lynch said that Salman’s whereabouts are not known.
“Has the shooter’s wife left the state of Florida?” a reporter asked Lynch during her press conference Tuesday on CNN (via National Review).
“Right now, I don’t know exactly the answer to that,” Lynch answered. “I believe she was going to travel but I do not know exactly her location now.”
The revelation that Noor Salman may have gone missing sparked outrage, especially among right-leaning news outlets. There had been evidence to indicate that Salman may have been involved in the planning of the Orlando shooting, whether knowingly or not.
The 29-year-old Omar Mateen had added Noor to his life-insurance policy and granted her access to his bank accounts, CNN reported (via Business Insider). There is also now video showing Omar Mateen and Noor Salman buying ammunition together.
Family members had announced last week that Salman had fled, reportedly going into hiding after the attack and subsequent investigation.
“She’s ‘no longer here,’ Omar Mateen’s father, Seddique, told reporters outside of his Fort Pierce, Florida, home on Wednesday.
“Salman was reportedly living with Mateen’s father in Fort Pierce when her husband attacked the nightclub. Public records list her most recent address — presumably where she lived with Mateen after they married in 2013 — as a 15-minute drive from his father’s home in Fort Pierce.
“But Seddique told reporters that Salman was no longer in the area, either.”
Amid reports that Noor Salman is missing, there is new information coming out about the woman’s background. One of Salman’s former teachers told ABC News that she was a full-time special education student who often struggled with certain concepts.
“Noor had difficulty with retention,” said the teacher, identified only as Susan. “She had difficulty with conceptualizing, understanding — all challenges to her.”
“She tried hard,” the teacher added. “She was very sweet.”
Noor Salman’s background and apparent intellectual disabilities could come more to light as the investigation continues. Her family has released a statement to ABC News confirming that she was a special education student and saying that she had no knowledge of Omar Mateen’s plans to attack clubgoers. The statement added that Noor has difficulty understanding “cause and effect.”
“Noor is completely innocent and [was] unaware of the attacks,” the statement said.
There are also more details of the attack itself. Seen at first as an act of Islamic terrorism after Omar Mateen pledged loyalty to the terrorist group ISIS on Facebook, a more complicated picture has emerged of Mateen’s background. Several employees said he was a regular at the gay nightclub where the attack took place, and a man named Miguel who identified himself as Mateen’s secret gay lover said the attack was really an act of revenge.
“He adored Latinos, gay Latinos, with brown skin — but he felt rejected,” Miguel said (via Vox). “He felt used by them. There were moments in the Pulse nightclub that made him feel really bad. Guys used him. That really affected him. I believe this crazy, horrible thing he did — that was revenge.”
Authorities have still not said if Noor Salman is a suspect or whether she could face charges for her connection to the Orlando nightclub shooting.
[Image via Facebook/Noor Salman]