How Douglas McAuthur McCain became the first American to die fighting for the Islamic State

August 27, 2014 7:54 AM

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Douglas McAuthur McCain, tattooed and thin, never stayed in one place long. Born on Jan. 29, 1981, his 33 years would be spent hopping from school to school, from business to business, continent to continent — until, finally, he landed in Syria, where he became the first American known to have died fighting for the Islamic State.

Much of the Douglas McAuthur McCain story remains unclear. It’s unclear how he died in a recent Islamic State battle, an American passport and 800 bucks stuffed in his pockets. It’s unexplained what led him down a path to Islamic radicalization and violence. And it’s unknown whether he traveled alon...

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