Mohamed Roble was weeks shy of his 11th birthday when the school bus he was on plummeted more than 30 feet as the bridge beneath gave way.
Now, according to court testimony in a federal terrorism trial, Roble — one of the 145 people injured in the Minneapolis bridge collapse that killed 13 people — is believed to be in Syria with the Islamic State [terror] group.
Roble and four of his siblings were on the bus that was carrying 52 students and several adults when the Interstate 35W span collapsed on Aug. 1, 2007, sending shockwaves nationwide about the safety of the country’s infrastructure. All of the occupants of their bus survived.
His injuries included headaches, arm, neck and back pain, nightmares and post-traumatic stress disorder, records show. One letter from a therapist said Roble “seems the most traumatized of all the siblings” and “he worked on his spiritual belief that `God had saved him for a purpose.”‘
For his injuries, a 2009 state court order says, Roble was due to receive a lump sum payment of $65,431.22 on his 18th birthday — roughly a month and a half before federal prosecutors say he left the U.S. for Istanbul, Turkey.
Roble’s name surfaced in federal court last week during the trial of three Minnesota men accused of conspiring to travel to Syria to join the IS group. Testimony has suggested that at least some of the men in the group knew Roble had money and asked him to fund their own trips. One man believed Roble had gone to Syria with thousands of dollars and used it to pay for weddings for fighters and cars.
The bridge collapse was not mentioned during the trial. The Associated Press made the connection using state court records to trace the bridge collapse victim to a Minneapolis high school, then matched the victim’s yearbook picture to a photo the government has provided of the young man believed to be in Syria. A handful of people who knew the family also confirmed the match.