Barack Obama confirms the death of Kayla Mueller, a US aid worker who had been held hostage by Islamic State militants.
Mueller’s family said they are “heartbroken” to learn of her death and released a copy of a letter she had written in 2014 while in captivity.
The comments by President Obama and the family come four days after Islamic State militants said Mueller, a 26-year-old humanitarian worker, was killed on Friday when Jordanian fighter jets bombed a building where she was being held.
Everyone, If you are receiving this letter it means 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 utmost respect + kindness. I wanted to write you all a well thought out letter (but I didn’t know if my cellmates 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 in knowing how much suffering I have put you all through; I will never ask you to forgive me as I do not deserve 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 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. I have come to see that there is good in every situation, sometimes we just have to look for it. I pray each 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 will do w/ 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 women to support you; please seek their advice. If you have not done so already, [redacted] can contact [redacted] who may have a certain level of experience with these people.
None of us could have known it would be this long but know I am also fighting from 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 God's will we will be together soon.
All my everything, Kayla
“Over the weekend, the family received a private message from Kayla’s ISIL captors containing additional information,” National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan said.
“Kayla represents what is best about America, and expressed her deep pride in the freedoms that we…enjoy.” —Obama pic.twitter.com/bqnFABLJcn
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) February 10, 2015
“Once this information was authenticated by the intelligence community, they concluded that Kayla was deceased,” Meehan said. Neither Mr Obama nor the family gave details of the circumstances of her death.
Mueller was the last-known American hostage held by Islamic State fighters, which controls wide areas of Syria and Iraq. She was taken hostage while leaving a hospital in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo in August 2013.
Kayla Mueller, was from the small city of Prescott about 100 miles north of Phoenix. As a high school student at Tri City College Prep, she received several awards, in part for her volunteering with groups like AmeriCorps and Big Brothers Big Sisters, the statement said.
She graduated from Northern Arizona University in 2009 and went on to work for humanitarian aid groups in northern India, Palestine, and Israel before returning to Arizona to work at an HIV/AIDS clinic and volunteer at a woman’s shelter, it said.
Mueller relocated to the Turkish-Syrian border in December 2012 to help Syrian refugees, working with the Danish Refugee Council and the aid group Support to Life. She was taken by Islamic State while leaving a hospital in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo in August 2013.
See below last week’s Channel 4 News report on Kayla Mueller.