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The American Couple Whose Lives Were Claimed By Brussels Terror

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

And now we are learning more about some of the 35 victims in last week's attack in Brussels. Among them was a young married couple from the U.S. who were living in Belgium, Justin and Stephanie Shults. He was 30 years old. She was 29. For days, they were considered missing. It wasn't until the weekend that their families had learned that they had died.

BETTY NEWSOM: We were together when we heard the news, and we're just hugging on each other. I mean, there's not really anything else you can do.

MCEVERS: That's Betty Newsom. She's Stephanie Shults' aunt. We reached her earlier today by phone in Lexington, Ky. She told us the morning of the attacks the couple was dropping off Stephanie's mom, Carolyn Moore, at the Brussels airport. That's when the bombs went off. Moore survived the attack. Betty Newsom told us the couple had recently moved to Brussels for Stephanie's job as an accountant, and they were making the most of their time in Europe.

NEWSOM: Stephanie and Justin were two kids living the life that I think a lot of people would like to live. I mean, they spent a lot of their time that they were in Europe traveling. They had run with the bulls. They'd stayed in an ice hotel. They had been to the Vatican. They had been to Paris, and they had a trip planned to Finland for this weekend. So they were just really bright people.

MCEVERS: Newsom calls Stephanie Shults the peacemaker of the family, the one who calmed everyone down when there was a disagreement. And she says she still thinks about the last time the couple visited the family in Kentucky.

NEWSOM: I looked over at one point and Justin's sitting on the floor with about five or six little ones sitting around him, and he's reading them a book. So he - they were just very family oriented. They were very dedicated to each other. It's - they were just beautiful people.

MCEVERS: Betty Newsom says we need more people like the two of them in the world. Belgian authorities are continuing to identify the victims. The process has been slow because of the damage, which means some families are still waiting for news. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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