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Transcript: 14 Hours

The full episode transcript for American Radical: 14 Hours


American Radical: episode 3

14 Hours

Ayman Mohyeldin: Just a warning. This episode contains description of violence, references to child trafficking and profanities. We don't want you to be caught off guard. (CHIME) What do you remember about that day?

Lonna Cave: So I was over at my parents house. It was summertime during COVID, so I take the girls over there to go swimming, 'cause they were drivin' me crazy in the house and it was too hot to play outside. (CHILDREN VOICES) Good job.

Mohyeldin: It was a hot Wednesday evening in July of 2020. By the time Lonna arrived at her parents' house, her sister Rosanne was already by the pool. What do you remember about her that day?

Cave: Just normal, regular old Rosanne, just, you know, hanging out at the pool, listening to classic rock, watching the girls swim, playing with bubbles. Just normal stuff. Not anything different about that day (CHILDREN'S VOICES) whatsoever.

We were swimming in the pool, and Rosanne brought up something. She was, like, "Have you heard that they, you know, are selling pieces of furniture online, and there's people in them, like, little kids, and the furniture is named after what the missing kid was?"

And she, like, pulled up a picture of something, and it was, like, had some person's name. And then it was, like, an armoire. And it was, like, $75,000. And she was saying, "Yeah, there's a missing person related to the name. Like, you'll find a missing person that has that name."

Mohyeldin: And what was your reaction?

Cave: Well, I was totally following along in the beginning. Like, I'm all about conspiracy theories. I'm talkin' about ghosts, Bigfoot, all the things, you know. I think that's probably why at the beginning we didn't really think anything of it, because we are a family that does, you know, like to investigate conspiracies. When my parents did a road trip, one of the big highlights was them stopping at Roswell. So I don't think any of us really thought anything too much about it at the time. (MUSIC)

Mohyeldin: That night, Lonna spent about an hour on her phone looking into the conspiracy Rosanne had told her about by the pool. She decided it was too far-fetched to be true and forgot about it. But at her parents' house about nine miles away.

Cave: I wake up and look at my phone, and I have a text message from 7:30 in the morning. And it says, "Dude, call me when you're awake enough for me to tell you some crazy shit I've rabbit-holed into." Mind blown emoji.

Mohyeldin: Rosanne had been up all night.

Cave: From the time I left probably at 4 or 5 until 7:00 in the morning on YouTube, on the internet, googling, finding all this stuff about whatever, Hollywood, sex trafficking rings she had discovered.

Mohyeldin: Fourteen hours, that's all it took for Rosanne's life to change.

Cave: Now looking back, I'm just, like, "I should have known." Like, this whole thing is so fucked up, and, like, how did none of us know what was going on? You know, all these things that looking back now are, like, "Oh shit, these are all warning signs that she was getting way involved and I guess in QAnon."

Mohyeldin: From MSNBC, I'm Ayman Mohyeldin. And this is American Radical. (MUSIC) Episode Three, Fourteen Hours.

Collins: Okay, this is gonna sound very dumb, but here we go. The Wayfair conspiracy theory is that there were some very overpriced, like, cabinets on last summer. They cost, like, $10,000. That is, you know, that's weird definitely. People started to notice in the QAnon community, specifically on Reddit in the conspiracy subreddit on Reddit, that they had names attached to them, like, Sonja or whatever, just random names.

Mohyeldin: Ben Collins is a colleague of mine at NBC who specializes in disinformation, extremism, and the dark web. Over the last few years, he's become quite a QAnon expert, and he's very familiar with the conspiracy Rosanne and Lonna were talking about on July 22nd.

Collins: In the QAnon world, everything means something else. So they said that this was children. What was actually happening with Wayfair is that, you know, they didn't have a lotta stock for some things, so they just priced them exorbitantly instead of taking them off their website. So they wouldn't show up high in searches. It would just be, you know, this exorbitantly priced thing. So they didn't actually sell it.

Mohyeldin: Did Wayfair actually have to explain this?

Collins: Oh, you bet. They had a really rough weekend where they had to--

Mohyeldin: Oh my god, really?

Collins: Yeah, where they had to put up (UNINTEL) thing, like, "No, we don't sell children through our website. This would be a very obvious way for us to get caught doing, you know, human trafficking."

Bbc Reporter: Wayfair has said, "There is of course no truth to these claims," but that hasn't stopped this conspiracy spreading all around the world. The terms generated 4.4 million engagements on Instagram.

Mohyeldin: A lot of people fell into QAnon through the Wayfair conspiracy, because it was everywhere. It was on Instagram Stories. It was on, like, Snapchat, it was viral between people in a way like a game of telephone was viral. People were sharing it like it was, you know, private knowledge between people in their own private groups, which would explain how Rosanne who rarely spent time on sites like Reddit and Parler had happened upon this conspiracy and why she so badly wanted to talk about it with her sister, Lonna.

Cave: She stayed up all night on YouTube, but, you know, if you don't have the setting turned off, it will just start a new video. And so she just went further and further and further.

Mohyeldin: So you woke up to a text message from her the next morning at 7 a.m.?

Cave: Yes.

Mohyeldin: You call her. What does she say to you?

Cave: She's just talking about some person that she found. I can't remember the guy's name, but some person, a YouTube video. And he is blowing the lid on all these Hollywood producers and directors and actors that all were involved in some kind of pedophilering I guess.

Mohyeldin: Mm-hmm. That video is called Out of Shadows, and we now know that Rosanne sent it to at least one good friend around that time. Ben says it's a common early stop for people falling for QAnon.

Collins: Out of Shadows is this idea there's this Hollywood stuntman, who is a real Hollywood stuntman, who is home because he was injured in one of his stunts. And he says, you know, while he was home, he started to realize all of his colleagues were pedophiles.

And that they were, you know, running this big cabal of pedophilia around him. And he was here to out these people. He was here to be the secret whistleblower for all of Hollywood and how they are running this racquet about, you know, having sex with children. I do want to show it to you if I can, 'cause it's really, the start you'll be, like, "Oh my god, wow, this is really well done." You'll be really into it. Let me show it to you.

Mohyeldin: Let's watch it.

Collins: By the way, I want to bring up, like, this was taken down from YouTube. It's pretty hard to find. So my favorite part is it starts with this FBI warning, because it's trying to steal from, like, old '90s VHS tapes.

Mohyeldin: Yes.

Archival Recording: And that's the way that we began to determine what we believe to be a fact.

Mohyeldin: So it has B-roll of, like, Mr. Rogers, Bill Nye--

Archival Recording: Most of the things that we believe to be a fact in our lives--

Mohyeldin: This is really well made.

Collins: Isn't it?

Archival Recording: --are told to us through our stories or the news that we hear. So my question would be, if they were deceiving you with the stories they tell you, would you be able to recognize that? So we've all heard the term conspiracy theory. Personally for me I've never--

Collins: So there you go. That's--

Mohyeldin: That's the hook.

Collins: That's the hook, and you're, like, "Oh man, I'm in."

Mohyeldin: I'm in.

Collins: Yeah, let's roll. These videos don't, like, start with the pedophile stuff. They start with, like, "Why are all these problems existing? Why is there income inequality? You know, why are all these real things happening?" Why does the world feel out of your control?

The cool thing was, you had to find the videos. Like, they were getting taken down from YouTube. They were, like, oh my god, there's secret information. People thought there was this puzzle element to it that, you know, it was the secret information that was being hidden from all the folks. So that's what was happening over the last year is that they found their own sort of sacred texts, and they were all YouTube videos that kinda felt like straight to DVD Walmart documentaries.

Mohyeldin: We reviewed scores of messages between Rosanne and some of the most important people in her life, including her sisters, Lonna and Blaire and two close friends. Those exchanges showed a clear pattern, that in late July Rosanne had started devouring videos, memes and posts about the alleged pedophilia ring taking over the country and sharing them at an alarming rate. On July 23rd, just one day after discussing the Wayfair conspiracy with her sister, Rosanne sent Lonna a YouTube video.

Cave: She says, "Watch 4:20, Good Lion Films, Tom Hanks, Dead or Alive, America's Dead with body double, Gear's (PH) SNL Joe Gitmo." And it's linked to YouTube.

Mohyeldin: This was a video about a conspiracy theory that had been making the rounds about Tom Hanks's Saturday Night Live appearance in April. Rosanne now believed that it wasn't really him on camera.

Cave: She had reason to believe that Tom Hanks wasn't him talking, and he was locked up in Guantanamo Bay. Him and, like, Oprah and Ellen and all these celebrities were freaking out, because they didn't have the adrenochrome because everyone was on lockdown. And they couldn't get the blood of the children.

Mohyeldin: Adrenochrome is a naturally occurring chemical formed by the oxidation of adrenaline. But in the QAnon world, it's something different. Q believers think adrenochrome is a powerful psychedelic harvested from children's blood by Satan-loving elites.

Mohyeldin: In fact, on an Instagram group chat with her sisters, Rosanne sent a screenshot of a post about Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez that claimed that Hollywood glitterati had killed their unborn child. The post was extensive, and included vivid descriptions of men in masks extracting the blood of a fetus.

That same week, Rosanne sent two friends a screenshot of a post from Instagram. The title of the post was, "What Words to Get You Down the Rabbit Hole," and included phrases like Pizzagate, Satanic child sacrifices, and celebrity cannibalism. It was around this time that her family started noticing a shift in her social media posts.

Blaire Boyland: She posted the fact that "no news channel talks about child trafficking should concern everyone." And this was apparently, she put in her own caption, "Today, July 30th is hashtag WorldDayAgainstHumanTrafficking. Just wanted to let y'all know, since I find it strange to not see or hear anything about it." Initially when I first saw it, I didn't really see it related to any, you know, conspiracy theories like there being a deep state where--

Mohyeldin: But there was something that caught Blaire's attention. The hashtags that appeared at the end.

Blaire Boyland: She put, yeah, a hashtag, SaveTheChildren, among a bunch of other ones, hashtag, TakeTheRedPill, then hashtag, DownTheRabbitHole.

Collins: Save The Children, you know, is a real NGO that attempts to save the children. But this hashtag had nothing to do with that charity organization.

Mohyeldin: Ben says, this hashtag is part of a much larger QAnon story that actually starts back in 2016 with a conspiracy called Pizzagate.

Collins: Pizzagate really kicked all of this stuff. QAnon is just Pizzagate on, like, meth. It's, like, it's Pizzagate with answers.

Mohyeldin: It was born from leaked emails between Hillary Clinton's campaign chair John Podesta and a D.C. pizzeria. Some people started to believe the emails were actually code, and that this pizzeria was really the headquarters for a child sex trafficking ring led by Clinton.

Collins: QAnon happens because Pizzagate is banned from Reddit. It's banned from Facebook and Twitter. And they realize that they can't get those talking points out there anymore. So they kind of reframe it to QAnon in October of 2017.

Mohyeldin: But social media platforms started catching on and moderating content associated with QAnon too.

Collins: So QAnon started to realize that it was not going to go anywhere if they kept calling it QAnon. It was getting downranked in algorithms for Instagram and Facebook. So what they started to do was they started to coopt other hashtags. So Save The Children was the big one at the time.

Mohyeldin: Save The Children became a vehicle for QAnon without using the word QAnon. It's why so many people who fell for videos with the hashtag SaveTheChildren didn't realize they were actually falling down a QAnon rabbit hole.

Collins: You know, the person from ISIS does not go up to you and say, "Hello, would you like to join ISIS today?" It's not what happened with QAnon either. So that's where it really took off. It was, like, there was this hashtag movement in Instagram Stories, on places like Twitter and Facebook to Save The Children. There was this group of elites that were secretly smuggling, you know, little girls named Ashley from the mall and then selling them to the political cabal.

Mohyeldin: Mm-hmm. Yeah, it's funny you would talk about terrorism, because for me I've noticed that, I mean, in the same context with ISIS, they don't tell you "Come join ISIS because you can become a hero." It's "You need to save the children of Afghanistan, and the best way to do that is to attack the infidels, come protect the children."

Collins: It presents itself as selflessness, as doing something for the future, as doing something for other people.

Mohyeldin: So it makes sense that SaveTheChildren was such catnip for Rosanne. Because doing things for others was what she was all about.

Blaire Boyland: She has a couple of friends that she has known, you know, through treatment or whatnot. And if she knew that they were kind of having a rough time, she'd go and pick up their kids and, you know, take 'em to get ice cream or do something like that.

You know, she really wanted to have kids, and she got cervical cancer a few years ago. So she was not able to have children 'cause she got her cervix removed. So that really upset her, 'cause she's, like, "I know that I don't have anybody to have kids with, but one day I would, you know, like to think that I might have somebody." So she was really upset about that.

Mohyeldin: You think that kinda shaped her worldview about children?

Blaire Boyland: I think that made her drawn to other people's children for sure.

Mohyeldin: It's pretty interesting that you would say, like, one of her qualities, one of her nicest qualities was also probably one of her vulnerabilities.

Blaire Boyland: Yes. I think that they, you know, pulled her in and thought how much she loved the kids. And, you know, "We're gonna set these children free," whatever. And so she didn't really think about anything else, like, you know, what might happen, you know, what she might leave behind.

Mohyeldin: But it was more than just Rosanne's devotion to kids that made her susceptible to these ideas.

Collins: People who believe in QAnon are generally down on their luck, and they've usually recently had some sort of trauma, to be honest with you. Like, there's usually a precipitous event that takes them out of their element and has them try to reassess a lotta stuff.

Mohyeldin: Lonna says that the pandemic and the isolation that came with it was really hard on Rosanne. She didn't have a job, and she couldn't go to AA meetings in person.

Cave: She stayed sober during the quarantine. She had a lotta friends that didn't and relapsed and passed away, or a lotta people committed suicide. So she was really messed up mentally. And then, you know, she was stuck at home. My mom and her, you know, would bicker. "She's makin' me crazy, I need to get out."

Mohyeldin: But Rosanne couldn't get out. The pandemic stretched on. She had nothing but time on her hands, and suddenly a brand new way to think about what was happening in the world.

Collins: If you, say, lost your job during the pandemic, or if you lost a family member, if things just started to become really unclear over three or four months of time and you start to lose hope, this is a really good fix, right? It gives you the idea that it's not you.

The problem is very solvable. It's just like Hillary Clinton and her cabal of people. Once we get rid of them, everything's gonna be fine. We're gonna fix it all, and by the way, you get to know about it on the ground floor. It's like a pyramid scheme. You get to be the person who told all your friends about this, and then people will come to you months later and be, like, "Oh my god, you were right. What else do you know?"

Mohyeldin: But believers didn't just get the satisfaction of being right. They got the satisfaction of joining a political movement with defined villains and a clear hero.

Collins: There are people who didn't even like Donald Trump and, like, 24 hours were, like, deeply into QAnon and really believed he was saving the world.

Savannah Guthrie: Let me ask you about QAnon. It is this theory that Democrats are a Satanic pedophile ring and that you are the savior of that. Now can you just once and for all state that that is completely not true?

Donald Trump: So I know--

Guthrie: And disavow QAnon in its entirety?

Trump: I know nothing about QAnon.

Guthrie: I just told you--

Trump: I know very little. You told me, but what you told me has--

Mohyeldin: On October 15th, 2020, President Trump joined an NBC News Town Hall moderated by TODAY show anchor, Savannah Guthrie. She pushed him directly and repeatedly to denounce QAnon. He wouldn't do it.

Trump: I just don't know about QAnon.

Guthrie: You do know.

Trump: I don't know, no, I don't know. I don't know. You tell me all about it--

Guthrie: Let me ask you another thing.

Trump: Let's waste a whole show. You start off with white supremacy, I denounce it. You start off with something else. Let's go. Keep asking me these questions, but let me just--

Guthrie: Okay, I do have one more in this vein.

Trump: Let me just tell you, what I do hear about it is they are very strongly against pedophilia. And I agree with that. I mean, I do agree with that.

Guthrie: Okay.

Mohyeldin: By 2020, QAnon followers had come to believe that Trump had a secret plan to overthrow the pedophile cabal for good. But he needed to win the election to make it happen, so they were preparing to mobilize.

Collins: Yeah, he kinda has to play footsie with these people because he kinda needs these people, right? Like, a lot of people believe this stuff. It's the hardcore-ist hard core of his base. They believe he is literally a Messianic figure.

Mohyeldin: Rosanne began to buy into that part of the theory too. The first time Blaire remembers seeing a shift in Rosanne's politics was on Instagram about a month before the election, and it really caught her off guard.

Blaire Boyland: It was after Trump had gotten COVID, and it's basically, you know, the Leonardo DiCaprio from Django Unchained meme, kinda the smug face meme. And it has Trump's face superimposed, and it says, "Survived COVID-19 and still your president."

And then he's holding a little cup, and the little cup says, like, "Liberal Tears." And I remember seeing that, and I texted Lonna. I was, like, "Is Rosanne a Trump supporter now?" And that's kind of, I remember the day where things kicked of us being, like, well, you know, what's goin' on here?

Mohyeldin: Soon Rosanne's social media feeds were filling up with pro-Trump posts. So was the family Instagram chat.

Cave: Blaire's very liberal, and it got to the point where Blaire was, like, "Quit sending me all this shit. You know, I don't know why you're sending this to me." Like, it was all this pro-Trump shit. And she's, like, "You know, I don't like Trump. I'm not voting for Trump. You know, Lonna's not voting for Trump. Just quit sending it." And so I'm, like, trying to talk to Blaire, like, "Well, you know, she's just really passionate about this. You know, we should be thankful that she's, you know, passionate about something."

Mohyeldin: But Blaire was still worried. Rosanne's behavior and posts scared her. And so one day, she asked her older sister to go and talk to her.

Cave: I was over at my parents' house picking up the girls after school. And I was trying to talk to Rosanne. And I said, "Hey, you know, Blaire's just really worried, you know. I'm kinda getting worried. Let's talk about this." And she would not even speak to me. She literally walked into another room and shut the door in my face.

Mohyeldin: Lonna was shocked. This wasn't like Rosanne. She'd always been stubborn, but she was usually open to talking things through. So Lonna leaned up against Rosanne's door and kept trying.

Cave: Not even yelling, just literally trying to have a conversation so she can understand Blaire's side of the whole thing. "Hey, put yourself in your shoes. You know, she's worried about you." And she just completely shut off. She cussed me out, you know, "Fuck you," and called me the C-word, and, like, wouldn't even have a conversation. So I just left, and I'm, like, crying, you know. I got the girls in the car, I'm crying, my hands are shaking. So I get home and I text her. I'm, like, "I don't know why you can't even have a conversation with me about this."

Mohyeldin: There is a reason Lonna was so shaken up after this fight. Her sister had only ever called her the C-word one other time in her life, and that was back in 2010 when Rosanne was high and belligerent. Now she seemed to have swapped one addiction for another.

Cave: Like, she was completely consumed with all this. And that's how she was when she was on drugs. She was completely consumed. She just spent every minute trying to get more information and figure out what she can do.

Mohyeldin: There was another parallel too. Back in 2010, Rosanne had been convicted of felony drug possession and had been sentenced to ten years probation, which meant that she couldn't vote. Now her probation was coming to an end just in time for her to cast a ballot for Donald Trump.

Bret Boyland: She was super excited. It took a lotta work on her part to get herself freed up to vote. I mean, she was happier than she had been in a long time.

Mohyeldin: But on November 7th, after days of uncertainty, she was confronted with the news that the election was being called for Joe Biden.

Joe Biden: They've delivered us a clear victory, a convincing victory. We've won with the most votes ever cast--

Mohyeldin: Rosanne was distraught, and in her home state of Georgia, she was in good company.

Collins: In the days after the election, he lost, and, like, just these people could not accept this. So they started to comb through all of these private videos, these security videos at these voting centers. Georgia becomes the epicenter for the election fraud conspiracy theory, which, by the way, is basically just the next season of QAnon.

Kasie Hunt: In the state of Georgia where there is currently a hand recount being done, Joe Biden is the apparent winner. Again, Joe Biden the apparent winner--

Mohyeldin: Joe Biden won Georgia by the narrowest of margins, about one-quarter of 1%. It was the first time a Democrat had won the state in nearly 30 years. The ballots were counted again by hand under a state policy, and then again by machine, at the request of the Trump campaign.

Hunt: The Trump campaign has requested that Georgia perform another recount of the presidential election results. The request came from--

Mohyeldin: The results didn't change, but the process uncovered isolated incidents where ballots hadn't been included in the initial tally. And with Trump crying foul, Republicans made the case they'd seen dirty tricks by Democrats in the rooms where the votes were being counted, including in Cobb County where Rosanne lived.

Jackie Bettadapur: When we have the chair of the Cobb County Republican Party testifying or giving statements before our board of elections accusing them of election fraud, of mishandling of ballots, you know, it's about democracy at this point.

Mohyeldin: Jackie Bettadapur is the chair of the Cobb County Democrats. She dismisses all of this.

Bettadapur: How could Trump have possibly lost Cobb County? It just can't be. They're just incredulous. It couldn't have happened. So they go in search of other explanations for how he lost.

Mohyeldin: This was certainly true of Rosanne. Many conspiracy theories that she posted about on Facebook around this time were explanations for Trump's loss, from a screenshot of a tweet about military absentee ballots to fake news about Biden votes in Wisconsin, and even a meme of Biden's face photoshopped on an image of Mao Tse Tung.

People would often comment on her posts things like, "This is misinformation," or "fake news." And sometimes she'd get into fights arguing back. One time she wrote, "You believe what you see on the news. What a waste of a beautiful mind." It should be noted that Georgia's Secretary of State's office did launch an investigation into systemic election fraud in Cobb County. They found nothing. But ten months later, a lot of people in Northwest Georgia still believe the election was stolen, including one of their elected representatives in Congress.

Archival Recording: I'm just gonna have a cheese omelet with cheddar cheese. You should get the hash browns. The hash browns are really good.

Preeti Varathan: Oh really? Okay, I'll get the hash browns. (VOICES)

Archival Recording: So it's 8:20 on Saturday morning. I flew into Atlanta last night. We're here at the Waffle House just a few miles away from a site where Marjorie Taylor Greene is about to speak at a Republican breakfast for the GOP in Cobb County. (APPLAUSE)

Salleigh Grubbs: It is my pleasure to introduce to you Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene. (APPLAUSE)

Marjorie Taylor Greene: Good morning everyone. (CHEERS) I am so tickled to be here with you all. Boy do I have a lot to tell you about.

Mohyeldin: If you don't know who she is, Marjorie Taylor Greene is one of the most ardently pro-Trump politicians on the national scene. She's famous for having posted about QAnon, though she later reportedly apologized for that, for refusing to wear a mask on the House floor, and for suggesting in 2018 that a California wildfire may have been started by a space laser. She won the same day Trump lost, but she says the election needs to be overturned. (APPLAUSE)

Greene: We need safe, secure elections so that we do not ever, ever again have the catastrophe of the stolen election like what happened on November 3rd, 2020. (APPLAUSE)

Mohyeldin: At this point, people in the crowd start yelling "Audit."

Crowd: Audit.

Greene: Audit, yes. The Fulton County audit I have a lotta hope for.

Man 1: Domestic audit to the state.

Man 2: The whole state.

Man 3: Statewide audit.

Greene: I'll tell you, even though I have no control over what happens in the state, I support every single person in the state of Georgia that wants an audit. I do. I support it, (APPLAUSE) because it's all of our tax dollars here that pay for the elections. There's nothing wrong with checking, and the hand recounts did not go far enough.

Crowd: That's right.

Greene: I have two phone numbers that I need to give to you. The first one is the Senate, 202-22... the second phone number I'm going to give you is the phone number to the House switchboard, and this one's quite a few more people, 202-22... I need you to show up. I need you to take time to call. I need you to take time to email. I need you to gather with your friends and not just--

Mohyeldin: In April 2021, about three months after Rosanne died, her sister Blaire found a diary of hers. It only had two entries. The first one is kind of a mission statement about pressuring elected leaders in Georgia.

Blaire Boyland: It looks like she was kinda doing some research about election fraud, so she has a couple politicians' names written down. That she has Speaker David Ralston and has his phone number and his email address. And she just says, "Hear the evidence, correct false statements, demand a vote on decertification." And then she has Senate Majority Leader Mike Dugan, and then his phone number, contact information. And then, "Hear the evidence, correct false statements, demand a vote on decertification."

Mohyeldin: I mean, it's pretty incredible, like, the language that she's using about voter decertification matches pretty closely with the lawn that people that were Trump supporters were using about that day.

Blaire Boyland: Yes.

Mohyeldin: Do you think there is a direct correlation between President Trump and what he was saying about the election fraud and what your sister believed?

Blaire Boyland: Oh yeah, definitely. I think, you know, if he hadn't have said anything, I mean, there wouldn't even been an event up in D.C. on January 6th, so she wouldn't have been there and she wouldn't have died.

Mohyeldin: The other entry dated January 3rd is longer and hard to follow, but its end is clear. Rosanne wrote, "Trump is a genius." Around the time of those diary entries, Rosanne also wrote a message on Parler, the social networking site being used by Trump supporters heading to Washington.

"I want to say thank you to everyone involved in this movement. My family thinks I'm crazy, but I'm heading up from Atlanta to be shoulder to shoulder with my true brothers and sisters," she wrote. "I finally feel like everything and everyone has a purpose, and I'm super grateful that God kept me alive long enough and woke me up just in time to see all this.

"I cried last night reading comments from around the world realizing how close we are to a truly beautiful existence. I pray it happens. So thank you. God bless you all. See you on the 6th." She ended with a QAnon hashtag, WhereWeGoOneWeGoAll. And then Rosanne got into a car with Justin Winchell and headed North, full of genuine belief that stopping the certification of the election was a crucial first step in saving the world.

Her family can accept that it was those convictions that drove her to go to Washington, even to go up the Capitol steps to the tunnel where she died. But beliefs aren't what stopped her heart, so what did? That's what the Boylands are still struggling with, because according to her autopsy report, Rosanne Boyland died of an overdose. Next time on American Radical.

Cave: I got the phone call and dropped to my knees and started bawling. I think that probably hit me just as hard as when my mom called me to tell me that she was dead.

Archival Recording: The only thing that Rosanne had was her sobriety.

Blaire Boyland: I had always thought something was fishy and wrong, and I didn't believe the cause of death.

Philip Anderson: They killed Rosanne Boyland in front of everyone there, and they nearly killed me too.

Mohyeldin: The next episode of American Radical comes out this Thursday, December 16th. The series was reported and produced by Preeti Varathan with Eva Ruth Moravec and Ursula Sommer. Additional production help from Abe Selby and Olivia Richard. Original music by Brian Robertson and MJ Hancock. Sound design by Rick Kwan. Bryson Barnes is our technical director. Reid Cherlin is our executive producer. Madeleine Haeringer is our head of editorial.