The parents of Kayla, a US woman held by IS militants have confirmed her death. Kayla’s parents; Carl and Marsha Mueller were notified over the weekend of her death through a private message by her captors.
The U.S intelligence community authenticated the information but could not determine how or when Kayla died, the White House said on Tuesday.
“We are heartbroken to share that we’ve received confirmation that Kayla Jean Mueller, has lost her life,” Carl and Marsha Mueller said in a statement. “Kayla was a compassionate and devoted humanitarian. She dedicated the whole of her young life to helping those in need of freedom, justice, and peace.”
Mr. Barack Obama hailed Kayla as an aid worker who traveled the world with zeal to support humanitarian organizations dedicated to helping Syrian refugees who “epitomized all that is good in our world.”
“No matter how long it takes, the United States will find and bring to justice the terrorists who are responsible for Kayla’s captivity and death,” the U.S president pledged.
The statement from the Pentagon also confirmed that Mr. Obama had personally sent his condolences to Mueller’s parents.These all were brought live to its viewers on cnbc live stream
Mueller, of Prescott, Arizona, was taken hostage by the IS militants while leaving a Syrian hospital in 2013. However, her identity was concealed out of fears for her safety.
The Islamic State reported on Friday that Mueller had been killed in a Jordanian airstrike. Jordan, which has recently launched retaliatory strikes for the horrific killing of one of its pilots who was burned to death by the militants, has since disputed that claim.
Meanwhile in the U.S., Josh Earnest, the White House spokesman denied IS claims citing that Jordan’s airstrikes only targeted an IS weapons base near Raqqa, one of the group’s stronghold in northern Syria and that there was no evidence of civilian presence in the area before the strike. A U.S. intelligence official added; “She was not killed in that airstrike.”
On Tuesday, Mueller’s parents released a letter they had received from their daughter while in captivity. In the undated letter, Mueller said she was, “in a safe location, completely unharmed.”
“I am also fighting from my side in the ways I am able + I have a lot of fight left inside of me,” she wrote. “I am not breaking down + I will not give in no matter how long it takes.”
Mueller’s family added that after two-and-a-half years at Northern Arizona University, Kayla graduated in 2011. She then traveled to the Turkish-Syrian border in December 2012 to support various humanitarian groups, including the Danish Refugee Council and Support to Life.
The 26 year old had also worked with aid groups in India, Israel and the Palestinian territories as well as at a HIV/AIDS clinic and women’s shelter in Arizona.
“We are so proud of the person Kayla was and the work that she did while she was here with us. She lived with purpose, and we will work every day to honor her legacy,” Mueller’s family added.
The U.S Secretary of State John Kerry said that the country was “unshaken” in its decision to defeat the IS, a group he referred to as an “ugly insult to the civilized world.”
The representative of Arizona, Mueller’s home state, republican Sen. John McCain, said, “The thoughts and prayers of the people of Arizona, America, and the civilized world are with the Mueller family at this terrible hour.”