The death of Kayla Mueller, an American hostage held by the terror group Isis, was confirmed by her family and US officials on Tuesday.
Many of the media reports on her death and humanitarian career claimed that the 26-year-old Mueller worked for the Danish Refugee Council (Dansk Flygtningehjælp – DRC), but the organization said in a statement on Tuesday that Mueller was actually employed by a Turkish partner.
“DRC feels obliged to make clear that contrary to some media reports, Ms. Mueller was not employed by DRC. Ms. Mueller worked for a local, Turkish organization with which DRC has collaborated,” the statement read.
The DRC said it was “profoundly saddened” by the news of Mueller’s death.
“DRC extends its deepest sympathy to the family of Ms. Mueller in this most difficult time. DRC, as a principle, does not comment on hostage situations and has no further comments,” the organization said.
Mueller was kidnapped in Syria in August 2013, but little was known about her situation due to her family’s concerns that media attention would put her in danger. But that all changed when Isis claimed that she was killed by a Jordanian air strike last week. That claim has not been confirmed and neither Mueller’s family nor American officials provided details on how or when the aid worker was killed.
"We are heartbroken to share that we've received confirmation that Kayla Jean Mueller has lost her life. 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 Mueller family statement read.
US President Barack Obama confirmed Mueller’s death on Tuesday.
"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," Obama said in a statement.
In an interview with Buzzfeed News, Obama said that the US had carried out "an entire operation at significant risk” to rescue Mueller and her co-captives that “probably missed them by a day or two”.
Obama said the decision to not pay a ransom for Mueller, the first American woman held by Isis, was “as tough as anything that I do” but stood by the US policy of not negotiating with terrorists.
“Once we start doing that, not only are we financing their slaughter of innocent people and strengthening their organization, we are actually making Americans even greater targets for future kidnappings,” he told Buzzfeed.