Kayla Mueller’s letter sent to her family about a year after she was captured reveals her inner turmoil, while awaiting a rescue that never came. U.S. authorities have confirmed from the interrogation of Umm Sayyaf, the wife of a key Islamic State commander killed in a U.S. operation in Syria, that Kyla was raped repeatedly by the self-proclaimed IS caliph, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi.
The letter kept her family’s hopes up throughout the U.S. government’s failed negotiations for her release. It reflects the agony Kayla suffered before eventuality dying in captivity. IS spokesmen blamed a Jordanian airstrike as cause of death, but U.S. authorities are treating the claim as a possible propaganda ploy.
From the handwritten letter posted by ABC 15 on February 10, 2015, here is a transcript, typos and shortcuts included. American aid worker Kayla Mueller, only 25-years-old at the time she wrote the letter, expressed her anguish vividly.
“Everyone, if you are receiving this letter it means that I am still detained but my cell mates (starting from 11/2/2014) have been released. I have asked them to contact you & send you this letter. It’s hard to know what to say. Please know that I am in a safe location, completely unharmed & healthy (put on weight in fact); I have been treated w/ the upmost respect & kindness. I wanted to write you all a well thought out letter (but I didn’t know if my cell mates would be leaving in the coming days or the coming months restricting my time but primarily) I could only but write the letter a paragraph at a time, just the thought of you all sends me into a fit of tears. If you could say I have “suffered” at all throughout this whole experience it is only knowing how much suffering I have put you all through. I will never ask you to forgive me as I do not deserve your forgiveness. I remember mom always telling me that all in all & in the end the only one you really have is God. I have come to a place in this experience where, in every sense of the word, I have surrendered myself to our creator. He literally there was no else…& by God & by your prayers I have felt tenderly cradled in freefall. I have been shown in darkness, light & have learned that even in prison, one can be free. I am grateful. I have come to see that there is good in every situation, sometimes we just have to look for it. I pray each day that if nothing else, you have felt a certain closeness & surrender to God as well & have formed a bond of love & support amongst one another…I miss you all as if it has been a decade of forced separation. I have had many a long hour to think, to think of all the things I would do with lex our first family camping trip, the first meeting @ the airport. I have had many hours to think how only in your absence have I finally @ 25 years old come to realize your place in my life. The gift that is each one of you & the person I could & could not be if you were not a part of my life, my family, my support. I DO NOT want the negotiations for my release to be your duty, if there is any other option take it, even if it takes more time. This should never have become your burden. I have asked these 3 women to support you, please seek their advice. If you have not done so already, can contact who may have a certain level of experience w/these people. None of us could have known it would be this long but I know I am also fighting for my side in the ways I am able & 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 wrote a song some months ago that says, “The part of me that pains the most also gets me out of bed, w/out your hope there would be nothing left…” aka – The thought of your pain is the source of my own, simultaneously the hope of our reunion is the source of my strength. Please be patient, give your pain to God. 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 Gods will we will be together soon.
All my everything,
Stars and Stripes reported that Umm Sayyaf was transferred on August 6 to the Kurdistan Regional Government to be prosecuted under Iraqi law. Sayyaf stands accused of complicity in Kayla Mueller’s kidnapping and detention by the Islamic State for more than a year before the aid worker was killed, allegedly by an airstrike on her prison compound.
According to CBC, intelligence officials told Kayla’s family in June that Abu Bakr al Baghdadi had married her, and visited her in the compound where she was kept as his property several times. Regarding this piece of information, Marsha Mueller, Kayla’s mother, made the following statement to the Associated Press.
“Kayla did not marry this man. He took her to his room and he abused her and she came back crying.”
Radio Iran reported IS chief al-Baghdadi’s death in April from injuries sustained in a coalition airstrike in March at the al-Baaj district of Nineveh. If the intelligence is accurate, then ironic justice for Kayla Mueller has been served.
[Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images]