Dozens were killed and hundreds were injured in a devastating terror attack in Brussels on Tuesday. Officials have confirmed that nine of those victims came from the United States. One young couple had been peacefully living in the capital city of Belgium prior to the tragic incident. Justin and Stephanie Shults, American victims of the Brussels attacks, were seeing off Stephanie's mother at the airport when two explosions occurred in the main terminal near the check-in area. They were assumed missing as authorities continued to investigate the attack. Stephanie's car was found at the airport days later. Their deaths were confirmed by family on Saturday.
It was Stephanie's job as an accountant with Mars, Inc. that took the Shultses from the United States to Belgium. A graduate of Tennessee's Vanderbilt University, Stephanie had met her husband at the Owen School of Management, where the two went on to earn masters degrees in accounting in 2009. They married two years later. Eric Johnson, dean of the graduate school, had this to say about the couple and their time in the graduate program:
The couple met at Owen, developed many lasting friendships here and chose to become global citizens by moving to Belgium for their careers. Faculty and staff remember the pair as genuine, kind, and loving — leaving Owen on a shared adventure that stretched them both professionally and personally.
Brussels marked a major shift for Stephanie, who hails from Kentucky, and Justin, a native of Tennessee. His home state not only helped hone the accountant's skills but offered him similar opportunities thanks to his job with Clarcor, Inc. — the filtration company had acquired a Belgian competitor in 2013, thus it can be assumed that Justin was able to maintain his job with the Tennessee-based corporation thanks to that expansion. Justin's brother fondly remembered his older sibling in a moving tweet on Saturday.
The couple were seeing off Caroline Moore, Stephanie's mother, who had been visiting from the U.S. Moore reportedly fell to the ground following the explosions just as she'd exited security and was set to head to her gate; she has since suffered from hearing issues following the incident.
This tragic incident has cut the young couple's lives incredibly short. Justin had just turned 30, while Stephanie was just 29 years old, and they were expected to return to live in America next year.
The series of explosions are still under investigation. According to ABC News, neither the U.S. nor Belgian government have released official statements about what happened to the Shultses.