READ: Parents Release Letter From Female Aid Worker Who Died in ISIS Captivity
The parents of Kayla Mueller, the Arizona woman who was taken hostage by ISIS in August 2013, confirmed Tuesday their daughter died while in the hands of the terror group.
It is not yet known how or when 26-year-old Mueller died. ISIS claimed last week she was killed by a Jordanian airstrike, but offered no immediate evidence.
Officials said Mueller's family received information from the captors that confirmed her death and the info was authenticated by the intelligence community.
"We are heartbroken to share that we've received confirmation that Kayla Jean Mueller has lost her life," Carl and Marsha Mueller, of Prescott, Ariz., said in a statement. "Kayla was a compassionate and devoted humanitarian. She dedicated the whole of her young life to helping those in need of freedom, justice, and peace."
The family also released a handwritten letter from their daughter that they received last spring.
The transcript of the letter is below:
Everyone, If you are receiving this letter it means I am still detained but my cell mates (starting from 11/2/2014) have been released. I have asked them to contact you + send you this letter. It's hard to know what to say. Please know that I am in a safe location, completely unharmed + healthy (put on weight in fact); I have been treated w/ the utmost respect + kindness.
I wanted to write you all a well thought out letter (but I didn't know if my cell mates would be leaving in the coming days or the coming months restricting my time but primarily) I could only but write the letter a paragraph at a time, just the thought of you all sends me into a fit of tears.
If you could say I have "suffered" at all throughout this whole experience it is only in knowing how much suffering I have put you all through; I will never ask you to forgive me as I do not deserve forgiveness.
I remember mom always telling me that all in all in the end the only one you really have is God. I have come to a place in experience where, in every sense of the word, I have surrendered myself to our creator b/c literally there was no else…. + by God + by your prayers I have felt tenderly cradled in freefall.
I have been shown in darkness, light + have learned that even in prison, one can be free. I am grateful. I have come to see that there is good in every situation, sometimes we just have to look for it. I pray each each day that if nothing else, you have felt a certain closeness + surrender to God as well + have formed a bond of love + support amongst one another…
I miss you all as if it has been a decade of forced separation. I have had many a long hour to think, to think of all the things I will do w/ Lex, our first family camping trip, the first meeting @ the airport. I have had many hours to think how only in your absence have I finally @ 25 years old come to realize your place in my life. The gift that is each one of you + the person I could + could not be if you were not a part of my life, my family, my support.
I DO NOT want the negotiations for my release to be your duty, if there is any other option take it, even if it takes more time. This should never have become your burden. I have asked these women to support you; please seek their advice. If you have not done so already, [redacted] can contact [redacted] who may have a certain level of experience with these people.
None of us could have known it would be this long but know I am also fighting from my side in the ways I am able + I have a lot of fight left inside of me. I am not breaking down + I will not give in no matter how long it takes. I wrote a song some months ago that says, "The part of me that pains the most also gets me out of bed, w/out your hope there would be nothing left…" aka- The thought of your pain is the source of my own, simultaneously the hope of our reunion is the source of my strength.
Please be patient, give your pain to God. I know you would want me to remain strong. That is exactly what I am doing. Do not fear for me, continue to pray as will I + by God's will we will be together soon.
All my everything, Kayla
President Obama issued a statement Tuesday, also acknowledging the young aid worker's death.
"In how she lived her life, she epitomized all that is good in our world," Obama said of Mueller. "She has been taken from us, but her legacy endures, inspiring all those who fight, each in their own way, for what is just and what is decent. "
"No matter how long it takes, the United States will find and bring to justice the terrorists who are responsible for Kayla's captivity and death," he said. "On this day, we take comfort in the fact that the future belongs not to those who destroy, but rather to the irrepressible force of human goodness that Kayla Mueller shall forever represent."
Fox News Middle East and terrorism analyst Walid Phares reacted to the latest death of an American while in ISIS captivity.
He told Martha MacCallum it may be time to ban Americans from traveling to any areas that are even close to ISIS-controlled territory.
Watch his full analysis below.