Cynthia Abcug became “a bit crazy” after Colorado child welfare officials removed her son from her custody, her daughter told authorities.

As she struggled with the separation, the 50-year-old woman was increasingly consumed by the far-right conspiracy theory QAnon, according to police records. She made frequent appearances on fringe YouTube shows, claiming in one September video that child protective services “has child trafficking rings in certain areas.” She stopped going to therapy and started leaving her Denver-area home only to meet with QAnon followers; one of them, an armed man, stayed with her for “self-defense.” She spoke of “evil Satan worshipers” and pedophiles, according to what her daughter told police.

Adherents of the baseless and bizarre QAnon theory, which posits an international cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophiles that will soon be dismantled by President Trump, rallied around her. They offered support on Twitter and donated to a GoFundMe for her legal case.

It all culminated in Abcug’s arrest in what police in Parker, Colo., have characterized as a plot to kidnap her son through a raid conducted by QAnon believers — the latest alarming incident connected to the elaborate conspiracy theory. The mother of four was taken into custody on Dec. 30 in Kalispell, a Montana city on the outskirts of Glacier National Park.

Charged with felony conspiracy to commit kidnapping, Abcug was released after posting bond, Parker police spokesman Josh Hans told The Washington Post. She could not be reached for comment, but a Twitter account associated with her posted an update on Jan. 1, two days after the arrest.

“Still fighting for my children,” it said. “Need prayers I am not giving up.”

The foiled kidnapping plot was not the first serious crime allegedly inspired by the QAnon theory. In June 2018, a man was arrested on terrorism charges after driving an armored truck to the Hoover Dam to demand the government release a report that QAnon adherents believed would expose the “deep state.”

The killing last March of reputed Gambino family crime boss Frank Cali was reportedly motivated by the QAnon-obsessed suspect’s contention that Cali was part of the deep state. In August, Yahoo News reported that an FBI intelligence bulletin had identified QAnon as a potential domestic terrorism threat — a first for a fringe conspiracy theory.

Abcug’s descent into the far fringes of Internet conspiracy land appears to have been triggered by her son’s removal.

A warrant by the Parker Police Department says that child protective services took custody of her child because Abcug was suspected of Munchausen syndrome by proxy, a psychological disorder in which a caregiver fabricates a child’s illness to garner sympathy and attention. The warrant is heavily redacted, with the child’s name concealed, but Abcug has publicly identified her 7-year-old son as being the one in question.

Officials with Colorado’s Division of Child Welfare said they could not confirm or deny the family’s involvement with the agency or discuss any of the allegations. But speaking generally, intake administrator Laura Solomon said children are only removed from a home after the agency has obtained a police or court hold based on a belief the child is in danger. She said it happens only as a last resort.

“We want children to be with families whenever possible,” she said.

Abcug pressed her side of the story repeatedly in interviews with conservative websites and on talk shows affiliated with QAnon and the Patriot Movement, which championed the tale as an example of government overreach or worse: a government-sponsored kidnapping.

A single mother of four, including two grown sons who have graduated from college, Abcug said she moved with her two youngest children to Colorado to seek medical care for her 7-year-old son. She said the state’s child welfare workers contacted her a year ago and said they had received a call for a possible misrepresentation of the child’s illness.

On SGT Report, a YouTube show that shares QAnon and other conspiracy theories with its nearly 600,000 subscribers, Abcug said she welcomed them in because she had nothing to hide. She didn’t then distrust the system.

“Up to 117 days ago … if somebody would have told me that their child was removed by the CPS, I would have definitely been in the population that said, ‘Well, there’s more to the story,' ” she said. “I’m just being honest.”

But by the time of the SGT Report interview, she had become convinced the welfare system had taken her child “illegally.” She added there were “a lot of conspiracy things that I have never heard of and I’m not aware of that are going on regarding reasons that children are taken.”

On Twitter, an account linked to Abcug decried the “illegal seizure” of her son and retweeted a meme about a “Govt funded Child Trafficking operation” posted by an account carrying a QAnon slogan: WWG1WGA, short for “Where we go one, we go all.”

Then, in late September, her daughter stepped in. On Sept. 26, she anxiously revealed her mother’s alleged raid plans to a caseworker and other authorities. According to the warrant, she said her mom had “gotten into some conspiracy theories” and was “spiraling down it.” She mentioned the armed man staying at their house and said her mom had recently acquired a gun “just in case anything happens” and started going to the gun range to practice shooting.

She was worried about the raid, didn’t buy into the conspiracy theories and “could not understand why her mother did not see how this was a bad thing.” She told police she believed “people would be injured during the raid, as those people are ‘evil Satan worshipers’ and ‘pedophiles,’” the warrant says.

After speaking with the daughter, authorities took her into protective custody. They noted conspiracy theory paraphernalia in the house she shared with Abcug: rubber bracelets bearing the word “QAnon” and the name of a QAnon Twitter account.

Within days, Abcug vanished. She missed an emergency custody hearing on Sept. 30, the warrant said, canceled an Oct. 1 interview with law enforcement and stopped returning calls from police.

The FBI helped trace her to Kalispell, where local media reported she was arrested off U.S. Highway 93 about 3 p.m. on Dec. 30.

That same day, one of the same conspiracy-minded YouTube shows that promoted the story of her son’s removal shared news of her arrest, claiming it was part of a criminal government scheme to “steal” children.

“Wake up, folks,” cried the host. “Wake up.”

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