Thursday 21 September 2017

Hundreds light candles to honour Isis hostage Kayla Mueller

Tonya Castillo, left, comforts her daughter Tiffany Reid during a candlelight memorial for Kayla Mueller in Prescott, Ariz., Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2015. (AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, Michael Chow)
Tonya Castillo, left, comforts her daughter Tiffany Reid during a candlelight memorial for Kayla Mueller in Prescott, Ariz., Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2015. (AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, Michael Chow)
Reverend Kathleen Day speaks about aid worker Kayla Mueller at a candlelight memorial honoring her at the Prescott's Courthouse Square in Prescott, Arizona, February 18, 2015. REUTERS/Deanna Dent
People attend a candlelight memorial honoring aid worker Kayla Mueller at the Prescott's Courthouse Square in Prescott, Arizona, February 18, 2015. REUTERS/Deanna Dent
Reverend Kathleen Day speaks about aid worker Kayla Mueller at a candlelight memorial honoring her at the Prescott's Courthouse Square in Prescott, Arizona, February 18, 2015. REUTERS/Deanna Dent
Eric Mueller reads a poem about his late sister aid worker Kayla Mueller at the Prescott's Courthouse Square in Prescott, Arizona, February 18, 2015. REUTERS/Deanna Dent
Carl and Marsha Mueller hold candles being lit during a vigil at a candlelight memorial honoring aid worker Kayla Mueller at the Prescott's Courthouse Square in Prescott, Arizona, February 18, 2015. . REUTERS/Deanna Dent
Meg Moyer, 9, and her father, Kip Moyer from Flagstaff, look at a temporary memorial that lights up the Campus Ministry Center for Kayla Mueller at Northern Arizona University, Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2015. (AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, Tom Tingle)
A temporary memorial lights up the Campus Ministry Center for Kayla Mueller at Northern Arizona University, Wednesday, February 11, 2015. (AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, Tom Tingle)
Pedestrians stop to view a memorial to Kayla Mueller in her hometown of Prescott February 10, 2015. REUTERS/Nancy Wiechec
The Mueller family and friends listen to a prayer about aid worker Kayla Mueller during a candlelight memorial honoring her at the Prescott's Courthouse Square in Prescott, Arizona, February 18, 2015. REUTERS/Deanna Dent
Carl Mueller is greeted by friends and family after a candlelight memorial honoring his daughter aid worker Kayla Mueller at the Prescott's Courthouse Square in Prescott, Arizona, February 18, 2015. REUTERS/Deanna Dent
Carl Mueller holds his candle during a candlelight memorial honoring his daughter aid worker Kayla Mueller at the Prescott's Courthouse Square in Prescott, Arizona, February 18, 2015. REUTERS/Deanna Dent
Brandi Robinson (L), 25, and her mother Bonnie Robinson, 54, tear up at a candlelight memorial honoring aid worker Kayla Mueller at the Prescott's Courthouse Square in Prescott, Arizona, February 18, 2015. REUTERS/Deanna Dent
People attend a candlelight memorial honoring aid worker Kayla Mueller at the Prescott's Courthouse Square in Prescott, Arizona, February 18, 2015. REUTERS/Deanna Dent
People attend a candlelight memorial honoring Kayla Mueller at the Prescott's Courthouse Square in Prescott, Arizona, February 18, 2015. REUTERS/Deanna Dent
Carl Mueller is greeted by friends and family after a candlelight memorial honoring his daughter Kayla Mueller at the Prescott's Courthouse Square in Prescott, Arizona, February 18, 2015. REUTERS/Deanna Dent
Marsha Mueller (L), is greeted by friends and family after a candlelight memorial honoring her daughter Kayla Mueller at the Prescott's Courthouse Square in Prescott, Arizona, February 18, 2015. REUTERS/Deanna Dent
People attend a candlelight memorial honoring Kayla Mueller at the Prescott's Courthouse Square in Prescott, Arizona, February 18, 2015. REUTERS/Deanna Dent

Press Association

Candles lit up the plaza of an Arizona courthouse as hundreds gathered to honour the American woman taken hostage by Islamic militants.

Kayla Mueller's death earlier this month was confirmed by her family and US officials.

The 26-year-old international aid worker from Prescott had been captured in Syria in August 2013.

Friends, family and strangers wore pink ribbons on their shirts as they listened to speakers reflect on Ms Mueller's life and work.

Friends and strangers dropped off cards and wrote messages for a scrapbook, calling her an angel and saying she represented the best of humanity.

Ms Mueller's brother, Eric, encouraged the crowd to live as his first friend, best friend and sister did by reaching out to those who are suffering and give them a hug.

His father, Carl Mueller, stood up and met him at the bottom of the stage and hugged him tightly.

"May God keep you from any more harm, any more hurt," Eric Mueller said to his sister.

Read more: Kayla Mueller's tender letter home during captivity: 'I have learned that even in prison, one can be free'

"You are in his hands now. You do not have to suffer anymore. Only now will you be able to see how much you did and truly did for this world by looking down on it from above."

Ms Mueller's friends set up tables to accept canned goods and monetary donations for the needy, saying that is what she would have wanted.

Rebecca Dunn, who went to school with Ms Mueller in Prescott, said: "She was a saint.

"I'm hoping someone can take on her legacy. There was nothing she couldn't do."

Churches and community groups in Prescott organised the candlelight memorial.

As it opened, a live band sang He Who Began A Good Work In You, a song that Ms Mueller's mother used to sing to her as a child.

The crowd lit candles toward the end of the ceremony on the courthouse plaza and seemingly followed Carl Mueller's lead as he stretched his arm toward the sky.

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