Hope Proves False: US Couple Confirmed Dead in Brussels

Justin and Stephanie Shults were seeing her mother off at airport
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 27, 2016 8:42 AM CDT
A man and a boy light a candle at floral tributes at a memorial site at the Place de la Bourse in Brussels, Sunday, March 27, 2016.   (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)
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(Newser) – There was one agonizing glimmer of hope, but it turns out that a young American couple missing after the bombing of the Brussels airport were in fact killed in the attack. "We found out today that cowards took my brother's life," wrote Levi Sutton, brother of 30-year-old Justin Shults, on Twitter. He also confirmed that Justin's wife, Stephanie, 29, was killed along with him. Both were accountants who moved to Brussels in 2014. They were at the airport to say goodbye to Stephanie's mother, Carolyn Moore, who had come for a visit, and were waving goodbye when the blasts occurred, reports NBC News. Moore wasn't injured.

Justin Shults was from Gatlinburg, Tenn., and his wife was from Lexington, Ky., and both went to grad school at Vanderbilt. "This bright young couple chose, in the spirit of discovery, to become global citizens in order to grow, to learn and to broaden their perspective," said Vanderbilt Chancellor Nicholas S. Zep in a statement. The pair wed in 2011 and moved to Belgium when Stephanie's job at Mars Inc. took them there. "It seemed like the perfect fit for the two adventurers," observes the Tennessean. Their families got a false glimmer of hope earlier in the week when US officials said the couple had been located, but that turned out to be "misinformation," Sutton tweeted at the time. (Read more Brussels attack stories.)

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