A young couple from Kansas exchanged vows in front of loved ones in a small courthouse ceremony on Friday, August 5. But their celebration quickly turned to horror. On Saturday, just hours after saying “I do,” the newlyweds’ pickup truck went off the road and crashed into a tree near Clearwater, according to the Wichita Eagle.
Austin Wesson, 19, was pronounced dead at the scene, while Rebekah Bouma, 19, was rushed to a Via Christi Hospital St. Francis in Wichita. She died Monday.
Wesson and Bouma met while on separate mission trips in South Africa in February. “I think her greatest love in life was to serve other people and invest in them,” Rebekah’s mother, Rachel Bouma, told the Wichita Eagle. “Beech was selfless. She loved to get close to people and help with whatever they needed.”
Per the paper, Wesson was a surf instructor who grew up in the Cape Town area of South Africa. He asked Rebekah’s father, John Bouma, for permission to date his daughter. “We talked for a little bit on FaceTime,” John told the Wichita Eagle. “He was very a very serious and respectful your man. I gave him my blessing.”
Rachel was equally impressed with her daughter’s suitor. “Everybody questions the marriage because they’re 19,” she told the paper. “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.”
The pair were planning a bigger wedding in September with Wesson’s family flying in from his native South Africa. “They were excited about the future,” John said. “From all appearances, they were meant for each other.”
Rebekah’s mother, meanwhile, asked for prayers in a Facebook post on Sunday, August 6. “She is with the Lord that she loved so deeply and so joyfully and she is with her husband of just one day, Austin Wesson, whom she loved with all her heart,” Rachel wrote. “We thank God that they are together while grieving their loss so very deeply.”
The cause of the accident is still under investigation.
A family friend has set up a GoFundMe to help cover the cost of funeral expenses.