Islamic State Hostage’s Family Still Hopeful She Is Alive

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.