FORT WORTH, Texas (SWBTS) – Asian Rural Life Development Foundation (ARLDF) released a statement Tuesday, Feb. 26 that said although they have no confirmation of their deaths, they are fairly certain that Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary graduate, Cyd Mizell, and her driver, Muhammad Hadi, have been murdered by the gunmen who kidnapped them Jan. 26 in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

A native of Eureka, Calif., Mizell followed in the footsteps of her father, George Mizell, who received his Bachelor of Divinity from Southwestern in 1957. Cyd graduated in 1990 with a Master of Divinity in biblical languages.

Dr. Terri Stovall, dean of women’s programs at Southwestern, lived near Mizell when they were both seminary students in Fort Worth and described her as “a woman of quiet strength who had a heart for women and girls. She possessed a deep faith which sought to meet the needs around her through practical expressions and mentoring relationships.”

Stovall remembers that when her grandmother died several states away, Mizell’s face was the first one at her door. “I remember her saying, ‘We’ve got to find a way to get you to an airport.’”

ARLDF officials said Mizell “dedicated her life to serving the people of Afghanistan. Since 2005, she taught English to high school students and helped women learn income-producing skills, such as sewing and embroidery.” She also participated in irrigation, rehabilitation, health care and restoration projects as well as assignments to help Afghans work for food.  

In Wednesday’s chapel service, seminary president Paige Patterson said, “We have had a tragedy in our seminary family.” After announcing the seminary’s flags would be flown at half-staff in Mizell’s memory, Patterson voiced a prayer for the Mizell and Hadi families, as well as for her captors.

Statements from friends, professors and co-workers alike resound that Mizell possessed a gentle spirit, nurturing heart and commitment to service that will be greatly missed, but she also lived a testimony that should be celebrated.

“Though she and I lost touch in recent years, I am one of the many lives that was significantly impacted by knowing her,” Stovall said. “I am sure the mark she has left will not easily be erased.”