Man charged with calling Charlotte airport with false story about his ex-girlfriend and ISIS

Johnathan Neely from a February 2017 arrest
Johnathan Neely from a February 2017 arrest Courtesy Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office

A man is facing federal charges after authorities said he falsely claimed that his ex-girlfriend was colluding with ISIS and phoned the allegation into Charlotte Douglas International Airport, where she works.

A federal criminal complaint said Johnathan Neely, 32, called the airport from a blocked number on March 20 and 22. Each time, the affidavit said he alleged his former girlfriend was in a plot with the terrorist group.

“She just might be connected with ISIS and you need to...get with her immediately, like immediately so I don’t want her to hurt any of the kids on the plane,” Neely said in a call on March 20, according to the affidavit. In each call, Neely hung up before providing his name, according to the affidavit.

Investigators said the woman has no connection to ISIS or any other terrorist organization.

The woman, whom officials haven’t identified, provides wheelchair assistance to passengers. Investigators traced the calls to Neely after bringing them to her attention. She listened to a recording of each call and identified Neely’s voice.

According to the affidavit, Neely and the woman were in a relationship for five years before it ended in February. The woman told authorities that Neely was both physically and verbally abusive toward her.

The affidavit alleges Neely has committed other “vengeful” acts against his ex-girlfriend, including setting her basement on fire, and shooting into a car while she and her brother were inside. The woman said Neely has also stalked her since the breakup.

Neely has served two previous stints in prison for robbery with a dangerous weapon, and has had two temporary restraining orders against him. The affidavit said Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police charged him for the incident where he shot bullets into the woman’s car, and he is currently on probation for felony possession of a firearm and assault with a deadly weapon.

Neely was arrested Tuesday and has an appearance in court April 7. He faces a charge of willfully and maliciously conveying false information concerning an attempt to commit violence.

LaVendrick Smith; 704-358-5101; @LaVendrickS