Their daughter was stolen by terrorists, forced to “marry” the leader of ISIS and ultimately killed, and Carl and Marsha Mueller can only wonder if it all could have been different.

Kayla Mueller was an idealistic aid worker who went to Turkey in 2012 to help refugee children. She was taken hostage in August, 2013, when she and her boyfriend traveled to an Aleppo, Syria, Doctors Without Borders hospital. She would spend nearly a year-and-a-half in captivity before U.S. officials confirmed she had been killed.

“We believe that Kayla could have been released and still have many unanswered questions,” Marsha Mueller said Thursday at a conference convened by the Holy See’s ambassador to the world body.

n the years before she was taken hostage, and in a letter she was able to send her parents from within the Raqqa compound where she was held, Mueller told of the desperate plight of Christians in the Middle East. But only last month did the United States formally declare the grim situation amounts to genocide, a term that could spark UN action.

“Helping the suffering was her life’s work,” Carl Mueller said. “We worried about Kayla. We worried about what she was witnessing.”

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