The Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) claims United States aid worker Kayla Jean Mueller, 26, died in airstrikes from Jordan in Syria. The terrorist group did not provide proof of her life or death.
Mueller became interested in aid work while attending high school in Prescott, AZ. She received numerous youth awards due to her activism. The Daily Mail reports that, in her small town, she raised awareness about genocide in Sudan and held two silent protests about the issue. She constantly wrote to the United States government to change its foreign policy.
She graduated from Northern Arizona University in 2009 and immediately left to India to work at an orphanage. Afterwards, she flew home to work at an HIV/AIDS clinic. Mueller worked at schools and for aid organizations in Israel and the West Bank. She “taught English to Tibetan refugees” in Dharamsala, India.
In 2012, she began to work with aid groups in Syria after the country dived into a civil war. She spoke to the Prescott Kiwanis Club in May 2013 about life in Syria:
Syrians are dying by the thousands, and they’re fighting just to talk about the rights we have. 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 disappeared in August 2013 with her Syrian boyfriend. Both were working with Spanish Doctors Without Borders in Aleppo, Syria. Her parents received a ransom letter in mid-August and she allegedly appeared in a video “begging for her life.”
Jordan announced an extensive bombing campaign against Islamic State after the terrorists released a video of militants burning Jordanian pilot Mu’ath al-Kaseasbeh alive. The Islamic State has only presented photos of rubble as proof of Mueller’s death, however, and the Jordanian government has denied the charges, stating, “They are now trying to drive a wedge between the coalition with this latest low PR stunt.”