The White House and the Mueller family confirmed today in separate statements that Kayla Mueller, who was taken hostage by the self-styled Islamic State in 2013 while on a humanitarian mission in Syria, has died.
Her parents released more information about her.
“Since graduating from Northern Arizona University in 2009 after only two and a half years, Kayla devoted her career to helping those in need in countries around the world. The suffering of the Syrian refugees drew Kayla to the Turkish/Syrian border in December, 2012, to work with Support to Life, the Danish Refugee Council and other humanitarian organizations to assist families who had been forced to flee their homes. Kayla found this work heartbreaking but compelling; she was extremely devoted to the people of Syria.
“From her college graduation through 2011, she lived and worked with humanitarian aid groups in northern India, Israel and Palestine. She returned home to Arizona in 2011, and worked for one year at an HIV/AIDS clinic while volunteering at a women’s shelter at night.
“Prior to her work in Syria, in December 2011, Kayla worked as an au pair in France to hone her fluency in French in preparation for her work in Africa.
“The common thread of Kayla’s life has been her quiet leadership and strong desire to serve others.”
They have also shared a handwritten letter which Mueller sent to her parents from her captivity in the spring of 2014. In part, she wrote,
I remember mom always telling me that all in all and in the end the only one you really have is God. I have come to a place in experience where, in every sense of the word, I have surrendered myself to our creator b/c 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.
Posted by Rosalind Hughes