This story has been updated and expanded at
On February 11, 2015 I wrote the following about a young woman, Kayla Mueller, who had died-
I cannot think of anything else worth saying today other than to express my sadness for and sympathy to the family of Kayla Mueller. On the evening news last night I heard Kayla’s aunt describe her as “noble beyond her years.” I had never heard of Kayla until a few days ago, but her story touches my heart. I have a son about the same age; and like her, his work and passions take him all over the world. I cannot imagine getting an email like the one her parents received confirming her death. At only 26 years old, Kayla had already traveled to India, Israel, Palestine and Syria on humanitarian endeavors and in Arizona worked at a women’s shelter and with AIDS patients, In a letter to her family from captivity, she expressed regret that she was causing them pain. I hope the memory of this beautiful young woman brings some comfort to their grieving hearts.
Her complete story is now known, and reported publicly by ABC News.
“American hostage Kayla Mueller was tortured, verbally abused, forced into slave labor for ISIS commanders in Syria and raped by the group’s top leader,
but her fellow hostages say she never surrendered hope, she selflessly put the welfare of fellow captives above her own and
she even stood up to executioner “Jihadi John” to defend her Christian faith.”
Here is a link to video of her and her family , interviews with those who knew her in captivity, and the details of the inhumane way she was treated.
“She was amazing. She was a really strong girl,” Chavez said of Mueller.
For Saide, the younger Mueller at 25 years old had a surprisingly positive personality and “a strong faith that gave her a lot of strength.
As a person, she was a very good friend. She was smart. She was fun to be with. She was very kind, extremely generous.”
“She was always considerate of others, even though she herself was in a very difficult situation,” Saide added.
“She was always concerned for other prisoners. She never stopped being concerned for the Syrian population living through just horrible things in this war and still are.
She never stopped caring for others.”