The family of an aid worker, killed while being held hostage by ISIS, is accusing the U.S. of putting policy before her life.
Kayla Mueller's family say a decision by the White House hurt their chances of saving her.
CNN's Kyung Lah reports.
Twenty-six-year-old Kayla Mueller's capture mirrored others in many ways, a civilian grabbed by ISIS, the threat of death.
But her parents told NBC's Today Show there was one difference.
"I really feel that we had a chance to get Kayla out," says Carl Mueller, Kayla's father. "Because we were in communications with them, unlike the other families. But how do you raise $6.2 million?"
Even if they could, Kayla's parents would be breaking U.S. policy and violating federal law, giving money to a terrorist group.
Then, that vital communication with Kayla's captors fell apart, when the U.S. traded five Taliban detainees for American soldier Bowe Bergdahl, who was held for five years by the Taliban.
"That made the whole situation worse. Because that's when the demands got greater. They got larger," says Eric Mueller, Kayla's brother. "They realized they had something. They realized that, 'Well, if they're gonna let five people go for one person, why won't they do this?"
Why, because Kayla Mueller is a civilian.
Bowe Bergdahl, a U.S. serviceman.
An unfair distinction to determine which American hostages to negotiate for, say the Muellers.
"I actually asked the president that question when we were in the White House," Carl Mueller says. "Yeah that was pretty hard."
"I think they wanted to, but I think again, it's the policy," says Marsha Mueller, Kayla's mother.
A sentiment echoed by the mother of American hostage James Foley.
ISIS held Foley alongside Kayla Mueller and executed him.
Foley's mother says she felt her son was not a priority.
"It didn't seem to be in our strategic interest, if you will," says Diane Foley, James Foley's mother. "I was appalled as an American. Jim would have been saddened. Jim believed to the end that his country would come to their aid."
The White House defended the policy to not negotiate with terrorists for civilians, saying overall, it makes Americans safer.
"The president is confident that his administration did do everything that was possible within the confines of that policy using our military might, using our intelligence capability, using our diplomatic influence, to try to secure the safe release and return of Kayla Mueller," says White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest.