Isis US hostage killed: Who is Kayla Jean Mueller?

The aid worker whom Isis claims has been killed in an air-strike was 26-years-old

Tim Walker
Friday 06 February 2015 20:05
Kayla Mueller, the US aid worker Isis is claiming has been killed in a Jordanian air strike
Kayla Mueller, the US aid worker Isis is claiming has been killed in a Jordanian air strike

Isis militants have claimed that Kayla Jean Mueller, a 26-year-old US aid worker, has been killed in a retaliatory air strike conducted by Jordanian planes.

A statement from Isis (also known as Islamic State), apparently identifying the hostage, said she was killed during Muslim prayers, but it has not yet been independently verified.

Mueller, an aid worker from Arizona, was taken hostage in Syria in August 2013

Mueller, who is a native of Prescott, Arizona, reportedly demonstrated an interest in aid and human rights work during her high school years, as a member of the Save Darfur Coalition. She graduated from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff in 2009 and afterwards worked at an orphanage in India, and at an HIV/AIDS clinic at home in the US.

She had volunteered for schools and aid organisations in both Israel and the West Bank, and in Dharamsala, India, where she taught English to Tibetan refugees.

According to the Washington Post, in 2012 Mueller began working with victims of the conflict in Syria for the humanitarian group Support to Life.

It is understood Mueller was seized in August 2013 while working with adults and children in Aleppo

She disappeared after driving into the norther Syria city of Aleppo with her Syrian boyfriend and was captured along with several other aid workers in August 2013 while working at a hospital in Aleppo.

Her colleagues received subsequently received a proof-of-life video, showing her wearing a hijab and begging for her life.

A year later, CBS News reported that Isis had demanded a ransom equivalent to £4.3m for her release.

Her identity was never disclosed by authorities out of concern for her safety when she was taken hostage.

Kayla Mueller was killed in a Jordanian air strike in February 2015

In 2013, Mueller spoke about her experiences to the Prescott Kiwanis Club, a volunteer group of which her father Carl is a member. “Syrians are dying by the thousands, and they're fighting just to talk about the rights we have,” she said.

“For as long as I live, I will not let this suffering be normal, something we just accept... It’s important to stop and realise what we have, why we have it and how privileged we are. And from that place, start caring and get a lot done.”

"When Syrians hear I'm an American, they ask, 'Where is the world?' All I can do is cry with them, because I don't know," she said.

The 26-year-old was captured by Isis in 2013 as she tried to help refugees in Aleppo

A statement from her family's representative said: "The suffering of the Syrian refugees drew Kayla to the Turkish/Syrian border... to assist families who had been forced to flee their homes.

"Kayla found this work heartbreaking but compelling; she is extremely devoted to the people of Syria.

"The common thread of Kayla's life has been her quiet leadership and strong desire to serve others.

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

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in