Eric Mueller reads a poem about his late sister aid worker Kayla Mueller at the Prescott’s Courthouse Square in Prescott, Arizona, February 18, 2015. Reuters/Deanna Dent
Kayla Mueller, the U.S. aid worker killed this year while being held hostage by Islamic State militants, was raped repeatedly by the group’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, while in captivity in Syria, U.S. officials said on Friday.
Her parents, Carl and Marsha Mueller, were told by U.S. government officials that their daughter had been raped by al-Baghdadi and tortured during her captivity, family spokeswoman Emily Lenzner told Reuters by telephone. Mueller was 26 at the time of her death and would have turned 27 on Friday.
“We can confirm that the Mueller family learned in June of Kayla’s treatment from the FBI,” Lenzner said.
ABC News first reported al-Baghdadi’s sexual abuse of Mueller, and U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed the report. ABC News quoted Mueller’s parents as saying they were told by the U.S. government their daughter “was the property of al-Baghdadi.”
Islamic State said in February that Mueller, of Prescott, Arizona, was killed when Jordanian fighter jets bombed a building where she was being held outside Raqqa, a stronghold in Syria of the Islamist militant group. Jordanian and U.S. officials have expressed doubt about Islamic State’s account of her death following 18 months as a hostage.
Mueller was seized in August 2013 while leaving a hospital in Aleppo in northern Syria.
Al-Baghdadi personally brought Mueller to…