'You Can't Help But Notice Her': What We Know About 3 Brussels Victims
In the aftermath of Tuesday's deadly attacks in Belgium, the world is learning about people who died, including a mother of twin daughters, a university student mourned by classmates, and a public servant who was "a bit of a joker."
The attacks, which were claimed by ISIS, killed at least 31 people and wounded at least 270 others. Head here for the latest news on the manhunt for an accomplice to the attacks.
Some people are still searching for their loved ones. And families are in mourning.
Belgian authorities aren't releasing names of the victims, but some information has trickled out. Here's what we know about three of the deceased:
Adelma Tapia Ruiz
The Peruvian national was killed during the attack on Brussels International Airport, Peru's Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
"A split-second decision saved her husband and 4-year-old twin daughters, Maureen and Alondra, from sharing her fate," The Associated Press reported. "Her Belgian husband, Christophe Delcambe, had taken the girls out of the check-in line to play for a moment when a loud explosion ripped through the concourse."
The wire service adds one of the twins was injured and is hospitalized.
Her friend Lady Jouan tells All Things Considered that Ruiz was an extrovert who loved to cook. The two met through a Peruvian cultural association and became fast friends.
"You can't help but notice her; she's the kind of woman who, as soon as you know her, she sticks with you because she's someone who is very kind, very friendly. It really hurts me," Jouan says.
The 20-year-old student was a victim of the Maelbeek subway station bombing, according to a statement from the rector of Universite Saint-Louis – Bruxelles.
"There are no words to describe our dismay at this news. All our thoughts are with his family and friends," the rector says.
NBC News reporter Cassandra Vinograd tweeted a photo of Hecht's classmates placing flowers and lighting candles in his memory.
Classmates mourn slain law student Leopold Hecht, "It's so unjust...He was brilliant,kind" #BrusselsAttacks pic.twitter.com/ekmccPnJkC— Cassandra Vinograd (@CassVinograd) March 23, 2016
Delespesse's employer, La Federation Wallonie-Bruxelles, confirmed his death in a post on Facebook.
The organization supports French speakers in the Brussels and Wallonia region.
According to the The New York Times, Delespesse was killed during the subway bombing. One of his colleagues told the Times that "he had been in catering before he turned to public service, working in the ministry for the French-speaking part of Belgium on issues such as curriculums."
The colleague, Olivier Dradin, told the Times that the 45-year-old was a "bit of a joker."
"The Famille de l'Administration just lost one of its members, someone available, helpful, considerate, always smiling," another of Delespesse's colleagues wrote on Facebook, BuzzFeed reported. "Olivier had many other qualities. May your joy of life stay with you on this new journey."
Information is also emerging about the scores of injured, including several American citizens.
State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner said Tuesday that they are "aware of approximately a dozen U.S. citizens injured in the attacks," and no deaths. He added that "a number of U.S. citizens" were unaccounted for.
Four Mormon missionaries are among those injured in the attacks, according to a statement from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Richard Norby, 66, Joseph Empey, 20, and Mason Wells, 19, who are all from Utah, were hospitalized for burns and shrapnel injuries. The three were accompanying 20-year-old Fanny Rachel Clain of France to the airport, the church says. Clain sustained minor injuries.
And the Air Force has confirmed that a U.S. airman and his family were injured during the attack on the Brussels airport. It said he serves in the Joint Force Command Brunssum in the Netherlands but did not release his name or any details about his family or their injuries.