Emotions ran high Wednesday night during a candlelight vigil at the Yavapai County Courthouse for Kayla Mueller, the 26-year-old woman who died after being taken hostage by Islamic State Militants.  Kayla’s brother, Eric, said the family appreciates the support they had received from the community and around

the world, “without a community like Prescott, I really feel that we would truly be lost.  It’s amazing the support that we get.”

Kayla’s capture and murder at the hands of ISIS has made international headlines.  Eric noted the magnitude of his sister’s death on such a small town. “There’s been a lot of stuff happen and this is very unusual for such a small town and as a town, we’ve dealt with it very well.” Eric says “We’ve come together and we’ve supported each other and that’s important, that’s what a community does.”
Eric says Kayla’s life should be an example for all of us.  He says “Let Kayla’s heart live on through all of us and the people she’s touched in her life – keep that in mind when you think about Kayla. Do what she would do – if you see somebody struggling, if you see somebody upset, go give them a hug, do what Kayla would do, make the community even stronger, that’s all it’s gonna do.”
Eric read a poem he wrote about the memory of his sister.

“You were my first friend, my best friend, my only sister, my heart aches for you and what you went through.  I have a hole in my soul that will never be replaced.  I miss you, I love you.  I cannot believe you are gone from my life.  I can feel you and your soul watching over me, I love you so much.  May God keep you from any more harm, or any more hurt.  You’re in his hands now, you do not have to suffer any more.  Only now will you be able to see how much you really did and truly did for this world by looking down on it from above.  We will make it, knowing that you’re still here in spirit.  I still feel your touch. I still feel your hugs.  I know that you’re protecting us.   God works in mysterious ways…ways we don’t agree with, ways we don’t understand, but sometimes he takes his angels home early.  I’ll never stop loving you.  I love you Kayla.”

Reverend Kathleen Day, a campus minister at Northern Arizona University, knew Kayla for a long time. Day remembered Kayla’s need to help other.  She said “Kayla’s engagement with the suffering grew out of the seeds of faith, love, compassion and justice.  Seeds nurtured in large part by her family and this community.”
Prescott Pastor John Wolfinger says Kayla lived out the Christian life in many ways, “She acted, she served, she loved, she gave it all!”  Wolfinger added, “There’s much about her life that has struck a chord in the hearts all around the world.  Her life and her efforts have touched many internationally.”

George Tanner/Kris Dugan