The parents of a 26-year-old American hostage that ISIS claimed was killed in an airstrike released a statement Friday, saying they are hopeful their daughter is still alive and asking the terror group to contact the family.
The statement is aimed at "those in positions of responsibility for holding Kayla."
"This news leaves us concerned, yet, we are still hopeful that Kayla is alive," Carl and Marsha Mueller said in a statement.
Kayla Mueller, an aid worker and a native of Arizona, was captured by ISIS in Syria in 2013, and her parents have taken pains to keep her name out of the public eye until Friday’s claim.
On Friday ISIS claimed that Kayla Mueller was killed in a Jordanian airstrike, although the only proof it offered were photographs of a flattened building.
"You told us that you treated Kayla as your guest, as your guest her safety and wellbeing remains your responsibility," the statement says.
"Kayla's mother and I have been doing everything we can to get her released safely. At this time we ask you, who are holding Kayla, to contact us privately."
U.S. officials Friday were trying to verify the claim by ISIS. Jordanian officials said they were skeptical. Jordan launched airstrikes this week against ISIS in retaliation of the militants’ execution of one of its fighter pilots it had captured.
The full statement is below:
We, Carl and Marsha Mueller, are the parents of Kayla Jean Mueller. She has been held by ISIS in Syria since August 4, 2013.To those in positions of responsibility for holding Kayla; in adherence to your warnings and out of concern for Kayla's safety, we have been silent until now.After going to extraordinary efforts to keep Kayla's name out of the media for so long, by securing the cooperation of journalists throughout the world, her name was released today.This news leaves us concerned, yet, we are still hopeful that Kayla is alive. We have sent you a private message and ask that you respond to us privately. We know that you have read our previous communications, John Cantlie made references to them in October.You told us that you treated Kayla as your guest, as your guest her safety and wellbeing remains your responsibility.Kayla's mother and I have been doing everything we can to get her released safely.At this time we ask you, who are holding Kayla, to contact us privately.
— Phil Helsel