February 10, 2015
The family of Kayla Mueller, the American woman held hostage by ISIS said on Tuesday it has received a message from her captors that she is dead. Last week, ISIS released a statement indicating the 26-year-old was killed by Jordanian airstrikes but no one took the terror group serious since it released no proof of death.
After the statement by ISIS, Mueller’s family asked that the group talk to them directly to clarify since there was no proof other than an image of a building they claim was attacked by Jordanian airstrike. The family held hope Mueller might still be alive, until a private message to the family arrived this weekend to confirm what the family dreaded.
The information was authenticated by U.S. intelligence, which later concluded that Mueller had died. However, there is no confirmation on whether she died in the hands of her captors or her death was due to Jordanian airstrikes as ISIS claimed.
ISIS captured Mueller in August 2013 in Aleppo, Syria, as she left a Doctors Without Borders Hospital. In May 2014, the group reached out to her family and threatened to kill her unless the family provides $7 million by August 13, 2014, as ransom for her freedom. It remains unclear what kind of communication went on between Mueller’s family and ISIS, until the latest report confirming her death.
While the mystery surrounding Mueller’s death is still unsolved, there is no disputing the fact that ISIS is responsible for her death even if evidence later show that she died as a result of Jordanian bombings.
For more than a year ISIS held Mueller against her will and assumed the risk she might be killed as a result of ongoing conflict in the region. Despite appeal from her families and loved ones asking ISIS to secure her freedom, the terror group refused and instead decided to trade her for ransom, which they failed to get until her untimely death.
If indeed Jordanian strikes killed Mueller, it is inconceivable that anyone would blame Jordan for taking actions against ISIS after the group burned one of its pilots alive. Jordan would not attack the building knowing Mueller was inside, or if there was any intelligence indicating Mueller was held captive there.
At most, this is a case of collateral damage and if anyone is responsible for Mueller’s death, it is the hostage takers, a terror group that so far has carried out six beheadings including the gruesome burning of Moath Kasasbeh, the Jordanian pilot believed killed in January by ISIS.
Though Mueller died untimely, she lived her life to help others, working with humanitarian groups in Northern India, Syria, Palestinian territories and Israel, where she volunteered at the African Refugee Development Center.
In Arizona, she volunteered in a Women’s shelter and worked at a HIV/AIDS clinic, where she helped ease events and provided local coördination for World Aids Day, based on News Media report by her family.
Mueller worked for a year as an Au Pair in France, before moving to the Syrian-Turkish border, where she worked for the Danish Refugee Council and the humanitarian organization Support To Life, a group that assists families devastated by civil war in Syria.
“I am in solidarity with the Syrian people, I reject the brutality and killing that the Syrian authorities are committing against the Syrian people,” Mueller once said in a YouTube video.
Responding to the news that Mueller is dead, her family said: “We are heartbroken to share that we’ve received confirmation that Kayla Jean Mueller, has lost her life. 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.”
While expressing his condolences to Mueller’s family, U.S. President Barack Obama, has this to say about the humanitarian whose life was cut short by ISIS.
“Kayla’s compassion and dedication to assisting those in need shows us that even amongst unconscionable evil, the essential decency of humanity can live on.”
At this stage, no one knows how the U.S. will respond to the killing of Mueller, though, the Obama administration vowed those responsible for the young woman’s death would be brought to justice. It is unclear the kind of message or images received by Mueller’s family, but yet, unimaginable the pain and agony Mueller felt the last moments of her life, knowing she may not see her families again. The reality of dying in a war zone thousands of miles away from home.