A young couple died less than a day after they got married.
Austin Wesson, who was driving with his newly-wedded wife, Rebekah Bouma, lost control of his pickup truck and struck a tree on Saturday, Aug. 5. Wesson died at the scene. Bouma died from her injuries two days later, according to KCTV News 5.
The Sedgwick County sheriff’s office is still investigating the crash. It is still unclear how Wesson lost control of the silver Ford F-150.
Bouma was from Clearwater, Kansas, 20 miles from Wichita. Wesson was from Cape Town, South Africa. The two met each other while Bouma was in South Africa as a Christian missionary. After four months, they were married. Both were only 19-years-old, The Wichita Eagle reported.
“She was a delightful young lady,” said Tony Ryff, a dean at Trinity Academy, to the Eagle. “She was a great student, had great character, and she loved people. She was the kind of person who looked for ways to encourage friendships among other young ladies.”
Bouma was mostly homeschooled, but attended Trinity Academy in Wichita for her sophomore and junior years of high school. She had been on mission trips to the Philippines and Albania before her nine-month stay in South Africa.
Wesson was a surfing instructor in South Africa. After meeting, a lot of their communication occurred via video chat. Wesson chatted with Bouma’s dad via FaceTime to ask if he could date his daughter. “He was a very serious and respectful young man. I gave him my blessing,” John Bouma told the Eagle.
The pair were married at the courthouse in a short, informal ceremony was partly to help with Wesson’s immigration status. The family was planning a larger wedding ceremony for September and Wesson’s family was set to fly in from South Africa for the event.
Wesson and Bouma planned to then move to Grand Rapids, Michigan, together, where they would attend school and continue their Christian missionary work.
“Everybody questions (the marriage) because they’re 19,” Bouma’s mother, Rachel, told the Eagle. “But there was no doubt they were meant for each other and how greatly they loved each other.
“If you saw them together, you would know. They were such a beautiful couple.”