Isis US hostage: Family won't give up on hope that Kayla Jean Mueller is still alive

Kayla Jean Mueller's parents have asked Isis to get in touch privately

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The Independent Online

The family of American Isis hostage Kayla Jean Mueller has refused to give up hope that she is still alive after the militant group yesterday claimed she was killed by a Jordanian airstrike.

Carl and Marsha Mueller have reached out to "those in positions of responsibility for holding Kayla" to get in touch privately, according to a statement.

They said: "This news leaves us concerned, yet, we are still hopeful that Kayla is alive.

"You told us that you treated Kayla as your guest, as your guest her safety and well-being remains your responsibility."

Kayla Mueller is shown after speaking to a group in Prescott, Ariz in May, 2013

Isis has said she was killed in bombing by Jordanian fighter jets after the Middle Eastern state stepped up its military involvement in the wake of of the release of a video this week of pilot Muath al-Kasasbeh's murder.

US officials have said they are unable to confirm that Mueller had been killed, and Jordanian leaders have questioned the claims.

Aid worker Mueller was taken captive in August 2013 while working at a hospital with Spanish Doctors Without Border in the Syrian city of Aleppo.

A year later it was reported that Isis was demanding equivalent to 4.3m for her release, and had provided a proof-of-life video.

She was the last known US hostage of Isis, following the execution of three others in 2014, as well as two British and, more recently, two Japanese hostages.

Most of these were aid workers or journalists.

Mueller, from Prescott, Arizona, was resolved to helping others at an early age, according to her family.

They said: "When asked what kept her going in her mission, she said 'I find God in the suffering eyes reflected in mine, if this is how you are revealed to me, this is how I will forever seek you'."

An award-winning volunteer, she graduated from Northern Arizona University in 2009 and went on to work for humanitarian aid groups in India, Palestine, and Israel before returning to the US to work at an HIV/AIDS clinic and volunteer at a woman's shelter.

She moved 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.

Her parents said they had previously remained silent about her capture "out of concern for Kayla's safety," and to abide by the group's warnings.

Additional reporting by Reuters