PHOENIX — Kayla Mueller, the Arizona aid worker who died in ISIS custody earlier this year, allegedly turned down an opportunity to escape from Islamic State control.
ForeignPolicy.com reported two individuals familiar with the case said Mueller stayed in custody out of loyalty to another female hostage who was not physically capable of fleeing.
The Prescott native was a humanitarian aid worker who traveled to southern Turkey to provide relief to Syrian refugees. She was taken hostage during a trip to Aleppo on Aug. 2, 2013.
Mueller was believed to be the personal captive of Abu Sayyaf, a senior Islamic State official. Sayyaf was killed last weekend by Delta Force members during a raid on his al-Amr compound, which led to the capture of his wife, Umm Sayyaf.
According to a former Obama administration official, Mueller, who was only 26 when she was killed, was either sold or given to Sayyaf as a personal slave.
Not long after he took Mueller into his custody, the militant leader held at least two additional female prisoners, according to two individuals interviewed by the website. One of the girls was a teenage Yazidi, a religious minority in Iraq, and the other was another Western humanitarian worker, who was reportedly in poor health.
The individuals believed the escape to take place in August 2014 and said, while the Yazidi teenager took the opportunity, Mueller stayed behind to remain with the other hostage.
The Yazidi girl either found her way or was taken to the headquarters of the U.S. special operations in Kurdistan, where she was interviewed by intelligence officers.
An earlier raid designed to rescue Mueller and other hostages failed when the Islamic State moved them before eventually splitting them up after the failed mission.
Islamic State officials declared Mueller dead on Feb. 6 from a Jordanian airstrike. The group provided her family with photos of her corpse in a traditional Muslim white burial shroud, which was opened to show her bruised face.
The fate of the hostage whom Mueller possibly risked her life for is unknown.