Lexington native Stephanie Shults and her husband Justin Shults have been confirmed dead in Belgium, according to their employers.
The couple were at the airport in Brussels when terrorists attacked Tuesday, killing 31 people and wounding 270 others in bombings for which the Islamic State group claimed responsibility.
Stephanie Shults’ employer, Mars Inc., posted the following statement on its Facebook page Saturday night: “Today we learned from Stephanie’s family that she and her husband, Justin, were among those killed in the attack on the Brussels airport. We are mourning the loss of our colleague and friend. Our hearts and thoughts are with their families, and with all those who are suffering during this terrible time.”
Justin Shults’ employer, Clarcor, had posted a similar statement on its website Saturday, saying “We have learned today that Justin Shults died in the bombing at Brussels Airport.
“We grieve with his family and continue to offer our support as they mourn this unimaginable loss. Justin has been an integral member of our global finance team since May of 2012 and he has lived with his wife, Stephanie, in Brussels since 2014. He will be remembered by his CLARCOR community as an intelligent, kind and loyal friend and employee. Justin will be greatly missed by those who knew him.”
The couple were at the airport to say goodbye to Stephanie Shults’ mother, Carolyn Moore of Lexington, who had been visiting them. Moore is accounted for and remained in Belgium after the attack to await word of the couple.
Stephanie Shults, 29, was a graduate of Bryan Station High School and Transylvania University who worked for a division of Mars in Brussels.
Justin Shults, 30, was a graduate of Vanderbilt University who was from Gatlinburg, Tenn., according to his Facebook page.
The couple met at Vanderbilt while getting their master’s degrees. Both are certified public accountants.
An aunt of Justin Shults, Debbie Vargo, posted on Facebook on Saturday afternoon, saying that her sister and Justin’s mother, Sheila Branam Shell, had identified his body at a Belgian hospital on Saturday.
Justin Shults’ brother, Levi Sutton, said via Twitter that “Stephanie was always so happy. I really enjoyed any chance I got to be around her. The world lost two amazing people today. It’s not fair.”
He also tweeted that “the last thing my brother ever told me is that he loved me.”
“I was blessed to have Justin as a big brother,” he wrote. “He was smart and kind and generous. I never met a single person that didn’t like him. He worked hard his whole life and achieved goals that most could only dream about. He traveled the world leaving each destination better than when he arrived.”
Sutton had tweeted earlier Saturday that Stephanie Shults’ car had been found at the airport in Brussels.
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Congressman Andy Barr, Gov. Matt Bevin and Mayor Jim Gray were among those who offered condolences.