New disturbing reports have surfaced about Kayla Mueller’s experience while in captivity of ISIS. Â The terrorist group announced earlier this month that Mueller had perished in a bombing raid.Â President Obama Â confirmed Ms Muellerâ€™s death but said there was no proof to back up ISISâ€™s claims she perished during air strikes.
Counter-terrorism officials are now saying it was likely she had been forced to wed during her time in captivity.
With the confirmed death of Kayla Mueller, new details have emerged about the American hostageâ€™s experience in ISIS captivity, including the belief by some officials that she had been given over to a commander in the jihadi group.
“ISIS didn’t see her as a hostage or a bargaining chip,” a counter-terrorism official told ABC News.
“Reflections” in the limited collection of intelligence in Syria — like indirect indications of a person’s presence somewhere, such as ISIS fighters referring to her in calls or spotted guarding a sensitive site where she might have been held — indicated Kayla was still alive and sometimes in the company of an ISIS leader being actively tracked who had custody over her, possibly by forced marriage, officials told ABC News.
Sometimes she was with her ISIS keeper and other times she was not, two officials said.
Matt Olsen, former head of the National Counterterrorism Center, said ISIS is known to for the â€œpractice of essentially selling off, or putting young women and girls in the company of ISIS militants.”
According to a former law enforcement officer involved in the case, Mueller was able to pass written messages to male hostages. Â For the most part, she was kept away from the other hostages, the official said.
In a letter written last year but released today, Ms Mueller said she was â€œin a safe location, completely unharmed (and) healthy. I have been treated with the utmost respect (and) kindnessâ€.
Mueller’s family Â said the terrorists had referred to her as a “guest” in private communications.
Over the weekend, Ms Muellerâ€™s parents, Carl and Marsha Mueller, were emailed at least three photographs showing their deceased daughter. The correspondence has since been authenticated.