The parents of an American journalist beheaded by terrorists on video expressed pity for the "tragic" choices by their son's apparent killer, "Jihadi John," but said ISIS must be destroyed.
Hours after the masked man's identity was revealed Thursday by The Washington Post and confirmed by government officials, slain journalist James Foley's mother Diane told ABC News that she was surprised to learn alleged ISIS "executioner" Mohammed Emwazi came from a "well-to-do" family in London.
"He had a privileged background, if you will," Foley said, referring to Emwazi's purportedly middle class background and college degree in computer science from the University of Westminster. "So, to me, it's just tragic that he would, such a talented young man would lose his way and become part of such a brutal network as ISIS."
"It's not all about him. It's about, you know, this whole culture of hate and brutality and all that ISIS is. I mean, if it hadn't been this young man, it would have been another one. This young man is one of the very saddest," she said.
But that's as much as Foley said she's willing to think about Emwazi.
Asked how she reacted as a mom to the public disclosure of the name of the man who drew a knife across her son's neck on video, she replied, "We would like, you know -- ISIS needs to be stopped."
James's father, John Foley, agreed that Emwazi is only one of the terrorists who must face justice for brutally slaying their son and so many others. If ever captured alive, he might not attend his trial. "I doubt it. I really doubt it. I mean I'm not interested in who he is or what he's done. I'm done with the guy," he told ABC News in Tucson.
The Foleys spoke to University of Arizona journalism students on Wednesday on a visit to the desert southwest state and said they may visit the family of another American killed while in ISIS hands, Kayla Mueller of Prescott.
Before Foley’s death, his family was able to assemble a team of hostage negotiators to hunt for their son.
When some Spanish and French hostages were ransomed in March and April last year, the team debriefed them and learned that all the Westerners, including James and Kayla, were held captive together as a group at sites near Raqqa, Syria -- intelligence they feel the U.S. government didn't act on fast enough.
"Obviously, at that point we wanted as much as possible to be done to secure his release and that obviously didn't happen," John Foley said on Wednesday in the interview.
A raid by an entire squadron of America's elite Delta Force hit an aging oil refinery site on July 3. But President Obama recently told BuzzFeed News that they missed the hostages being moved by "one or two days."