Islamic State hostage's family still hopeful she is alive

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Kayla Jean Mueller -- ISIS Hostage, Kayla Mueller
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Islamic State hostage's family still hopeful she is alive
Courtesy: Mueller Family
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#Obama confirms death of American #ISIS #hostage Kayla Mueller; Private Message from ISIS sent to Parents of ISIS Hostage, Kayla Mueller, Confirms Her Death http://read.bi/16QUgjt
Statement from the White House on the death of Kayla Mueller
Parents of #ISIS hostage Kayla Mueller urge her captors to contact them. http://t.co/oYOzFBF62r http://t.co/DTkx9od38u
The Mueller family have released new pictures of Kayla. http://t.co/vk7warF4OQ
The parents of American Islamic State (ISIS) hostage Kayla Mueller, who the extremist group claims was killed Friday by a Jordanian airstrike on the Syrian city of Raqqa, are hopeful that their daughter is still alive. Carl and Marsha Mueller said in a statement on Friday, "This news leaves us concerned, yet, we are still hopeful that Kayla is alive." Mueller's parents urged ISIS to contact them privately, and to treat their daughter as a guest.
.@ejmontini: For Kayla Mueller's family, waiting is not a game http://t.co/TvtOCrgFJv http://t.co/GEaSQNdKKv
Prescott stricken by loss, uncertainty of Kayla Mueller's fate. via @RebekahLSanders http://t.co/bfrIZc3aE4 #12news http://t.co/XdGdZjHznh
Family, others kept Kayla Mueller's capture a secret to protect her, @KarenBrown3TV reports http://t.co/bHlvjWYAqw http://t.co/noUUfRUS6m
Family of hostage Kayla Mueller breaks silence after #IslamicState claims: http://t.co/Dv5w7uOFwW | http://t.co/iSNja0KShX
JUST IN: ISIS sent Muellers an e-mail saying their daughter was dead and included a photo, David Martin reports; cause of death inconclusive
A local Palestinian man holds up a poster of slain ISIS hostage Kayla Mueller who worked in Palestine and was an activist with the International Solidarity Movement- a movement dedicated to supporting a free Palestinian state. In the Palestinian West Bank village of Bilin, west of Ramallah, the 10th anniversary of the popular resistance movement against the Israeli occupation was held on Friday afternoon. Israeli soldiers invaded the village on Friday, stopping protesters from marching into the olive orchards. Israeli soldiers assaulted Palestinians and international activists, beating them, spraying them with a chemical orange agent, as well as using hundreds of tear gas canisters. Live ammunition rounds were also fired at protesters, including sound bombs thrown at the feet of journalists. Journalists who were filming the protests were assaulted by Israeli soldiers as well. The village gained global notoriety when a decade ago locals as well as international activists would gather and organize weekly protests on Fridays, marching towards olive orchards and lands that were confiscated by the Israeli government to build illegal settlements and the separation barrier in the West Bank. The village gained even more popularity after one of its locals, Emad Burnat, filmed the Oscar-nominated film, Five Broken Cameras in which he showed the struggle of the Palestinian village against Israeli aggression. Scores of people, both Palestinian and international have been injured during weekly protests, the most infamous of whom was Basem Au Rahma who was killed in 2009 when a tear gas canister struck him in the chest. Two years later, in 2011, Jawaher Abu Rahma also died during a weekly protest after being hit with a tear gas canister. (Photo by Anna Ferensowicz/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Palestinian protesters hold placard to protest against 'terrorism' on February 13, 2015 before a demonstration against Jewish settlements in the West Bank village of Bilin, west of Ramallah. The poster shows a picture of US aid worker Kayla Mueller, who died as a hostage of Islamic State (IS) group jihadists. (Photo credit ABBAS MOMANI/AFP/Getty Images)
Palestinian protesters hold placard to protest against 'terrorism' on February 13, 2015 before a demonstration against Jewish settlements in the West Bank village of Bilin, west of Ramallah. The posters show pictures of US aid worker Kayla Mueller, who died as a hostage of Islamic State (IS) group jihadists. (Photo credit ABBAS MOMANI/AFP/Getty Images)
Feb. 14, 2015 - Bilin, West Bank, Palestinian Territory - A Palestinian girl holds the picture of Islamic State captive Kayla Mueller during a demonstration against Jewish settlements in the West Bank village of Bilin, near Ramallah February 13, 2015 (Credit Image: © Shadi Hatem/APA Images/ZUMA Wire via Alamy)
Laura Spaeth looks at a memorial honoring American hostage Kayla Mueller on the corner of courthouse plaza in Prescott, Ariz., Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015. Islamic State group reported Friday that Muller, whose 18-month captivity had largely been kept secret in an effort to save her, had died in a recent Jordanian airstrike targeting the militants. On Tuesday her parents and U.S. officials confirmed she was dead, although officials said they could not confirm how she died. (AP Photo/Felicia Fonseca)
A small memorial honoring American hostage Kayla Mueller is on display at a corner of courthouse plaza in Prescott, Ariz.,Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015. Islamic State group reported Friday that Muller, whose 18-month captivity had largely been kept secret in an effort to save her, had died in a recent Jordanian airstrike targeting the militants. On Tuesday her parents and U.S. officials confirmed she was dead, although officials said they could not confirm how she died. (AP Photo/Felicia Fonseca)
An unidentified woman kneels near a makeshift memorial for Kayla Mueller, Thursday, Feb. 12, 2015, in Prescott, Ariz. Mueller, a 26-year-old American woman held by Islamic State militants, was confirmed dead, her parents and the Obama administration said Tuesday. (AP Photo/Brian Skoloff)
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PRESCOTT, Ariz. (AP) - The parents of a 26-year-old American who has been held hostage for more than a year by Islamic State extremists were clinging to hope Sunday that their daughter is alive, having yet to receive information confirming otherwise.

Family friend Todd Geiler said that the parents of Kayla Jean Mueller of Prescott, Arizona, are in a very "fragile state."

"The strain of not knowing where their daughter is at and whether or not she is alive or not is something that is starting to wear on them," Geiler said. "But if we had to go on ahead and say in a word how they're doing, they're hopeful for her safe return."

The parents are asking the nation and the world to pray for Mueller's return, he said. "This thing, it's time to have an ending. It's time to bring Kayla home to her parents and her family," Geiler said.

The Islamic State group said Friday that Mueller died in a Jordanian airstrike. The government of Jordan dismissed the statement as propaganda. U.S. officials said they have not seen any evidence to corroborate the report.

Mueller is the only known remaining U.S. hostage held by the Islamic State group. She was taken hostage in August 2013 while leaving a hospital in Syria.

Her parents and a few close friends kept Mueller's situation a closely guarded secret to ensure her safety. Since her identity was publicized Friday, they have stayed out of public view but released a short statement addressed to Islamic State.

"You told us that you treated Kayla as your guest, as your guest her safety and well-being remains your responsibility," Mueller's family said.

Meanwhile, the road leading to their Prescott home remains blocked off by Yavapai County Sheriff's Office vehicles. In downtown Prescott, Mueller is on the minds of most people. Tourists stop to look at a handmade "Pray for Kayla" sign at the corner of a busy street.

Mueller is an aid worker who previously volunteered with organizations in India, Israel and the Palestinian territories. She had been working in Turkey assisting Syrian refugees, according to a 2013 article in The Daily Courier, her hometown newspaper.

"She knew where she was headed," Geiler said. "She knew what she wanted to do. There was compassion and caring for those less fortunate. She always wanted to help somebody in need."

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