There are four Americans missing in Brussels following the bombings that killed 31 people and wounded 270 others. Family members are desperately awaiting word from their loved ones, which include a husband and wife from the South and a brother and sister from New York City.
The four Americans were last seen at the airport when two blasts rocked the check-in area in Belgium, according to Newser. About a dozen Americans were injured in the bombings, according to the State Department, leading one lawmaker to suggest an American counter at the airport was targeted.
“From my vantage point, it does look like an attack on Americans,” California Rep. Devin Nunes, the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said. Officials have not said American citizens were specific targets in the attacks.
The Brussels airport explosions were followed just over an hour later with another blast at a metro station in the Belgian capital. At least 31 people died and more than 270 were wounded between the two locations.
As the whereabouts of the four Americans missing in Brussels continue, there is still has been no word from Justin Shults and his wife Stephanie, accountants who moved to Brussels in 2014, or New York siblings Sascha and Alexander Pinczowski. At the time of the airport blasts, the Shultses were waving goodbye to Stephanie’s mother, Carolyn Moore, who was walking toward the security check-in.
Justin Shults, 30, is originally from Gatlinburg, Tennessee; 29-year-old Stephanie is from Lexington, Kentucky. Moore, Stephanie’s mom, survived the explosions without serious injuries. But the family does not know whether the couple was still in the building at the time.
The families of the Americans missing became angry after Justin’s brother, Levi Sutton, said that his family had been told his brother and Stephanie were found. “We do not know the severity of their injuries or what hospital they’re at,” he posted on Twitter. But that brief glimmer of hope was dashed later Wednesday when Sutton posted again that “misinformation … was given to my family.”
It was not immediately clear how the confusion arose. Sutton said that his mother, Sheila Shell, who lives in Tampa, Florida, had received a call from the State Department confirming the news.
In a statement issued through the office of Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, the couple’s families later said that “neither Belgium nor U.S. officials have confirmed that Justin and Stephanie Shults have been located.”
The State Department added that besides the four Americans missing in Brussels, there are “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.”
Justin’ brother voiced his exasperation on Twitter. “This is exactly what we were trying to avoid and now I’ve told friends and family members things that weren’t true,” he said in a message on Twitter. “Obviously we just want Justin and Stephanie to come home.” His mother was scheduled to arrive in Belgium on Thursday “and hopefully she can get some answers as things still seem to be uncertain right now,” he said.
Stephanie’s mother had her hearing damaged by the blast but has vowed to remain in Belgium until her daughter and son-in-law were found, her sister Betty Newsom said.
Less is known about siblings Sascha and Alexander Pinczowski, who had just arrived at the Brussels airport and were on the phone with a relative when the explosions went off. The line went dead after the blasts.
While the four Americans missing in Brussels are unaccounted for, another American, Emily Eisenman of Colbert, Georgia, said she was desperately awaiting word from her Belgian boyfriend.
Bart Migom who was headed to the airport to come visit her before the blasts went off, she said. “Bart told me that he would get in touch with me every step of the way,” she said. “His last words on the phone call was that I love you.”