The parents of Kayla Jean Mueller, the American aid worker being held hostage by ISIS, issued a statement to group leaders on Friday. As reported by the AP, the parents of the 26-year-old American said that the news of their daughter’s death “concerned them but they were still hopeful she was alive.”
The statement was issued after Islamic State extremists said that Mueller died in a Jordanian airstrike. Government officials in Jordan dismissed the statement as “propaganda” and noted the lack of evidence to support the claim.
Mueller is the only known remaining U.S. hostage held by the Islamic State group. Three other American hostages — journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff and aid worker Peter Kassig — were beheaded by the group.
Mueller had been working in Turkey assisting Syrian refugees with the humanitarian aid agency Support to Life. Her family said she was taken hostage by the Islamic State group on August 4, 2013 while leaving a hospital in Syria.
Until now, her identity had not been disclosed out of fears for her safety.
NBC reports that the family made a direct plea to ISIS.
“You told us that you treated Kayla as your guest, as your guest her safety and wellbeing remains your responsibility,” the statement says. “Kayla’s mother and I have been doing everything we can to get her released safely. At this time we ask you, who are holding Kayla, to contact us privately.”
In response to the videotaped execution of Jordanian pilot Lt. Muath al-Kaseasbeh, Jordan launched an aggressive bombing campaign against ISIS strongholds. ISIS claimed that Mueller was killed during a Jordanian led bombing raid in Raqqa. The group published photos showing a severely damaged three-story building but offered no proof or images of Mueller.
Jordanian and U.S. Officials are investigating the claim.
Below is the entire statement issued by Mueller’s family as provided by NBC News.
“We, Carl and Marsha Mueller, are the parents of Kayla Jean Mueller. She has been held by ISIS in Syria since August 4, 2013.
To those in positions of responsibility for holding Kayla; in adherence to your warnings and out of concern for Kayla’s safety, we have been silent until now.
After going to extraordinary efforts to keep Kayla’s name out of the media for so long, by securing the cooperation of journalists throughout the world, her name was released today.
This news leaves us concerned, yet, we are still hopeful that Kayla is alive. We have sent you a private message and ask that you respond to us privately. We know that you have read our previous communications, John Cantlie made references to them in October.
You told us that you treated Kayla as your guest, as your guest her safety and wellbeing remains your responsibility.
Kayla’s mother and I have been doing everything we can to get her released safely. At this time we ask you, who are holding Kayla, to contact us privately.”
Read more about Kayla Mueller by clicking here.