A week after the brutal execution of American journalist James Foley, the fate of another hostage of the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria — journalist Steven Sotloff — is gaining international attention.

In an emotional video message, Sotloff's mother Shirley Sotloff pleads with Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi — the self-proclaimed leader of the Islamic state — to release her son.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters Wednesday that U.S. officials had been in touch with the Sotloff family, but would not confirm whether they were aware of plans to release the video.

Despite concerns for Sotloff and other hostages still held by the Islamic State, Earnest emphasized the U.S. does not and will not comply with demands for ransom.