26 year old Kayla Mueller, a humanitarian aid worker from Prescott, Arizona, died while in the hands if ISIS, her family confirmed Tuesday with this statement:
“We are heartbroken to share that we’ve received confirmation that Kayla Jean Mueller has lost her life,” Carl and Marsha Mueller, of Prescott, Ariz., said in a statement. “Kayla was a compassionate and devoted humanitarian. Â She dedicated the whole of her young life to helping those in need of freedom, justice, and peace.”
Exact details of her death are not known at this time. Â ISIS propaganda channels claimed that she was killed in a Jordanian air strike last week, but that cannot be confirmed. Â Her family is reported to have had direct contact from her captors which was authenticated by U.S. intelligence.
Mueller, a beautifully passionate Christian committed to helping others, first went to Turkey in December 2012, before the rise of ISIS and their capturing of westerners for ransom and propaganda purposes. Â At the time, she was moved by the images of refugees during the Syrian civil war to work with Doctors Without Borders. Â On August 4, 2013, she was captured leaving a Spanish hospital in Aleppo, Syria, along with her Syrian boyfriend who was released and unsuccessfully petitioned ISIS for her freedom.
As of November 2014, Mueller was known to be alive via her family’s reception of a letter that said:
If you could say I have ‘suffered’ at all throughout this whole experience it is only in knowing how much suffering I have put you all through.”
“I have a lot of fight left inside of me. I am not breaking down + I will not give in no matter how long it takes. I know you would want me to remain strong. That is exactly what I am doing. Do not fear for me, continue to pray as will I + by God’s will we will be together soon.”
Barack Obama has pledged to “bring to justice” those who are responsible for Mueller’s death.
Mueller’s fate underscores the warnings coming from a number of places – including Paul Cruickshank at CNN – that regardless of the humanitarian needs of so many people suffering and oppressed by ISIS, extreme caution must be taken when travelling in the countries adjacent to the caliphate territory, and that the State Department warnings must be updated to reflect this reality.