When Samantha Ricks was kicked out of the JFK-QAnon cult led by Michael Protzman at the beginning of December, she was already in a downward spiral.
A couple of weeks later, Ricks was accused of substance abuse by the woman who had taken her family in. Then, child protective services said she had exposed her children to “inappropriate sexual behavior.” Three days before Christmas, Oklahoma Child Protective Services knocked on her door and took her 6-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son into foster care.
Ricks then raged online about how child protective services was secretly trafficking children. She accused everyone, including those who tried to help her, of collaborating to take her children away from her, beliefs founded in QAnon conspiracies about global child sex trafficking rings that are reinforced by extremist groups who have made it their mission to prey on vulnerable parents.
After months of spreading misinformation, lashing out at everyone around her, and even fundraising, Ricks took matters into her own hands.
What happened next was the culmination of her extremist views and desperate outlook: On August 8, Ricks tried to kidnap her own children.