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Missing U.S. couple confirmed as victims in Brussels airport attack

Justin Shults, 30, and his wife Stephanie Shults had not been seen since Tuesday.
Justin Shults, 30, and his wife Stephanie Shults had not been seen since Tuesday. Lexington Herald Leader/Facebook

A missing U.S. couple have been identified as victims in the attack at the Brussels airport, according to statements issued by their employers.

Justin Shults, 30, and his wife Stephanie Shults had not been seen since Tuesday.

Her employer Mars, Inc., said in a Facebook post Saturday evening that her family had confirmed that she and her husband died in the bombings at the Brussels airport. Justin Shults employer, Clarcor, had confirmed earlier Saturday that he died in the attack.

Justin Shults, originally from Gatlinburg, and his wife, a Lexington, Ky., native, graduated together from Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management.

The couple have been living in Brussels the past two years working as accountants – Stephanie for the global food company Mars, and Justin for Clarcor, a Tennessee-based firm that makes filtration systems and packaging products.

They were at the airport with Stephanie’s mother, Carolyn Moore, who had been visiting the couple in Belgium and was about to fly home to the United States when two suitcase bombs detonated Tuesday morning.

The couple had parked their car and waved goodbye to Moore, who was heading toward security when the blast happened, Moore’s sister, Betty Newsom, told NBC.

“When (Moore) got up, she looked where they were standing, and they weren’t there, and she couldn’t find them,” Shell told WTSP 10News Wednesday before leaving for Atlanta.

Moore escaped serious injury, but the blasts at the airport and another explosion about an hour later at a Brussels metro station killed 34 people and wounded 270, authorities have said.

The State Department has said that at least a dozen Americans were injured and that “a number of U.S. citizens remain missing and not every U.S. government employee or family member on the ground has been accounted for,” according to NBC.

The Shults’ family members had been in constant contact with State Department officials. Shell said the couple’s employers were taking their pictures to area hospitals trying to track down the couple.

In her message to the Tampa (Fla.) Times, Shell said Stephanie’s father had joined his wife in Brussels.

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