DOHUK, Iraq — Somewhere in territory controlled by the Islamic State, Kayla Mueller, an American aid worker, was chained in a room with other female captives. The leader of the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, would regularly enter and lead Ms. Mueller away, her parents said.
“She would be gone for some time, taken to Baghdadi’s room, and then she would come back crying, and tell the other girls what had happened,” said her mother, Marsha Mueller, in a telephone interview on Friday, relaying the account of her daughter’s rapes, shared with the family by United States officials.
The information, first published by the British newspaper The Independent, confirms reports that Ms. Mueller, 26, was a sexual slave of the Islamic State, which has created a system of organized rape of women considered infidels.
Details of her captivity, including her repeated rape by the leader of the organization, were pieced together by American officials based on interviews with two girls from the Yazidi religious minority enslaved alongside Ms. Mueller, her parents said.
Matt Hinshaw / The Daily Courier, via Associated Press
“We were told that Kayla had to ‘marry’ Baghdadi, but we all understand what that means,” said her father, Carl Mueller. “She was his property.”
Ms. Mueller was abducted on Aug. 4, 2013, in northern Syria. The Islamic State said she was killed in a Jordanian airstrike this past Feb. 6. The group sent her parents photographs as proof.
The parents, of Prescott, Ariz., said they first thought Kayla had become the sexual slave of a man known as Abu Sayyaf, an ISIS operative. But in June, they said, American officials told them she had been the captive of Mr. Baghdadi. The officials drew that conclusion partly by interviewing Abu Sayyaf’s wife and a Yazidi slave seized in an American Special Operations raid on Abu Sayyaf’s Syrian compound in May. He was killed.
Marsha Mueller said her daughter was a protector to the younger Yazidi girls. “They looked at her as a mother figure,” she said. She and her husband have established a humanitarian foundation in Kayla’s name.
Eric Schmitt contributed reporting from Washington.