WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) released the following statement following news that Kayla Mueller, a young humanitarian aid worker from Prescott, Arizona, lost her life while being held captive by ISIS terrorists:
“My heart breaks for Kayla, her family and friends at the news of her death,” said Rep. Grijalva. “Kayla dedicated her life to helping people in need, and her commitment to ending suffering stands in stark contrast to those who would take her from her loved ones so senselessly. News of her passing is a loss for every Arizonan, every American, and everyone the world over who – like Kayla – seeks an end to human suffering.
“This tragedy further emphasizes that the reign of terror brought by ISIS must be stopped, once and for all. While the United States must support efforts to end the madness, only a coordinated response led and fully endorsed by Arab nations in the region will stop the bloodshed.
“Kayla placed herself in harm’s way to alleviate suffering where it was happening most. Her death underscores the profound need for Arab nations to unite and fight for the peace she gave her life to help bring to their region.”
About Kayla Mueller:
After graduating from Northern Arizona University in 2009, Kayla devoted her career to helping those in need in countries around the world. The suffering of the Syrian refugees drew Kayla to the Turkish/Syrian border in December, 2012 to work with the Danish Refugee Council and the humanitarian organizations Support to Life to assist families who had been forced to flee their homes.
Prior to her work in Syria, Kayla had been preparing for work in Africa and had been in France studying the language. From her college graduation through 2011, she lived and worked with humanitarian aid groups in northern India, Israel and Palestine. She returned home to Arizona in 2011, and worked for one year at an HIV/AIDS clinic while volunteering at a women’s shelter at night. In December 2011, she traveled to France to be an au pair so she could learn French in preparation for work in Africa.
Kayla attended high school at Tri City College Prep in Prescott, where she was recognized as a National Young Leader, and received the President’s Award for Academic Excellence in 2007, the Yavapai County Community Foundation Youth Philanthropist of the Year Award in 2005 and the Gold Presidential Volunteer Award in 2007 for her volunteer efforts with Youth Count, AmeriCorps, America’s Promise, Open Inn for troubled youth, Big Brothers Big Sisters and other organizations.
On August 4, 2013, Kayla was taken captive by ISIS in Aleppo, Syria while leaving a Doctors without Borders hospital, where she had been working to help those impacted by the humanitarian crisis created by the Syrian Civil War.