A Clearwater, Kansas, newlywed couple has died after sustaining fatal injuries in a car crash just one day after exchanging their vows. Each of them was 19 years old.
According to KWCH, deputies reported finding a silver Ford pickup truck on its side against a tree.
Austin J. Wesson was pronounced dead at the scene. Evidence collected at the site showed the driver lost control of his vehicle, veered off the road, and struck the tree.
Wesson's new bride, Rebekah C. Bouma, was a passenger in the car. Suffering from critical injuries, she was transported by EMS to a local hospital, where she died two days later, according to KTRK.
In an official statement, Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office Lt. Lin Dehning confirmed that "the vehicle left the roadway and struck the tree."
According to a GoFundMe site started in memory of the couple, Wesson is from South Africa and his family still lives there. Authorities confirmed that Wesson was residing in Kansas when he died.
Friends and family fondly recalled memories of Bouma as a pleasant and kind-hearted woman, reports KAKE.
"Well, she was a real sweet girl," reminisced retired swim team coach Bob Cummings.
Bouma was an honor student at Trinity Academy. English teacher Renee Edwards said she remembers exactly where Bouma sat. "She was just one of those students who makes an immediate impression, just full of life, full of these great sparkly eyes, she really did have a light about her."
Edwards said she visited Bouma in the hospital before she died, according to KRTK.
She described herself as incredibly "heartbroken for her family, shocked, but also very aware that Rebekah was living her life just fully for Christ in a beautiful way at such a young age."
The couple originally met and fell in love six months earlier while on a Christian mission to South Africa, according to the New York Daily News.
Wesson was a native of the Cape Town area of South Africa, and the two remained in close contact in the months after they met, feeding their long-distance romance with hours of video-chat time before deciding to get married.
"Lucky I'm in love with my best friend, said Bouma at the time. "Can't wait for forever."
Wesson's parents had planned to fly to the U.S. for a larger ceremony that was being planned at the time of the couple's untimely demise.