Bryant Neal Vinas became a mystery to his family, rejecting the religion of his childhood in favor of Islam and finally disappearing abruptly almost two years ago. It wasn't until they learned of his arrest on terror charges that they knew where he'd been.
"The FBI asked me all kinds of questions about him, but they don't tell me nothing," his father, Juan Vinas, an engineer, told the Los Angeles Times, adding that he doesn't know where his son is. "I think so many times, is he in trouble?" he said. "I don't think he would be in trouble with, like, terrorists. I think he was in Pakistan because he was excited about the religion."
His parents, immigrants from Argentina and Peru, seemed to have lost track of him, literally and figuratively, in recent years as he began to reject the Catholicism they reared him on and express keen interest in Islam, according to The Los Angeles Times.
All the while, he withdrew physically from his father, whose home he shared in Patchogue, a drift that followed a migration years earlier from his mother, who lives in nearby Medford. He reportedly began spending more time away from home and more time at the Islamic Association of Long Island, in Selden.
The newspaper reported that Vinas once asked his father to convert to Islam.
His stepmother, Rosa Gutierrez, called Vinas "a good person, really. . . . He's really normal."