This story is over 5 years old.


American Hostage Kayla Mueller Was Reportedly Kept as Sex Slave By Islamic State Leader

Mueller, an aid worker from Prescott, Arizona, was captured in 2013 in Aleppo, Syria and held by the militant group until her death in February this year.
Kayla Mueller is seen in this undated handout photo.

Before Kayla Mueller, the 26-year-old American aid worker captured by the so-called Islamic State, was killed in February, she was reportedly repeatedly raped by the militant group's leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who kept her in the home of one of his top commanders.

Mueller's parents, Carl and Marsha Mueller, told ABC News in an interview Friday that US intelligence officials informed them that the self-proclaimed "Caliph" of the Islamic State kept their daughter as a sex slave during her time as a hostage.


"We were told Kayla was tortured, that she was the property of al-Baghdadi," the Muellers said. "We were told that in June by the government."

Mueller, originally from Prescott, Arizona, was captured in Syria in August 2013 as she left a building in Aleppo, which was being managed by Doctors Without Borders (MSF). She was not affiliated with MSF at the time, but instead had gone to the building with a technician who MSF had contracted for repair work.

Counterterrorism officials told ABC News that Mueller was personally bought by Baghdadi, who reportedly kept her at the residence of, Abu Sayyaf, a leading commander who was in charge of overseeing gas and oil operations. There, Baghdadi repeatedly raped Mueller when he visited to speak with Abu Sayyaf, according to the officials.

Related: Death of American Islamic State Hostage Kayla Mueller Confirmed

The militant group had previously demanded a 5 million euro ransom in exchange for releasing Mueller in mid-August, 2014. According to a White House statement in January, negotiations for the aid worker's release were underway.

But on February 6, IS claimed that Mueller had been killed. At the time the group, through affiliated social media accounts, said her death had been the result of Jordanian bombs that hit northern Syria. Initially, officials from both the US and Jordan denied the aid worker had been killed during Jordanian strikes, brushing the reports off as propaganda. But days later, Mueller's parents confirmed their daughter was dead.


Three months after Mueller's death, Abu Sayyaf was killed by US counterterrorism commandos on May 16 when they raided his compound. The commandos allegedly tried to capture the commander alive, but were forced to shoot Abu Sayyaf when he raised a weapon, according to officials.

The allegations that Mueller was repeatedly raped contradicts the contents of a letter Mueller wrote to her parents in the spring of 2014, which was allegedly passed on by unidentified fellow hostages upon their release. In the letter, Mueller wrote that she was unharmed, healthy, and in a safe location, while adding that she still had "a lot of fight" left inside her.

Officials said the reports of Mueller's capture and Baghdadi's personal involvement came from a number of witness statements, including from two teen Yazidi slave girls formerly held in Sayyaf's residence and from Abu Sayyaf's wife, Umm Sayyaf, who was captured in the May raid.

Watch the VICE News documentary The Islamic State: