Local woman's missing stepson found, injured in Brussels attack

HOUSTON – Gaetane Pauwels of Houston waited more than a day for news that her 22-year-old stepson, Gaetan, was safe after Tuesday's terrorist attacks in Brussels,Belgium.

She and her husband were notified about 8 a.m. Wednesday that he had survived and was OK, though he was injured in the attack at a Brussels subway station.

"When the thing went off, he was at a distance and he got blown against a wall," Pauwels said."And he was far enough so he didn't get very injured."

She said her stepson was moved from clinic to clinic for treatment of his injuries after a bomb went off in the subway that he took every day on his way to school. She said he was waiting on the subway platform when it happened.

"(He was) just blown off against the wall," she told KPRC 2. "And he kind of lost consciousness and had some pieces of things and cuts and bruises and things like that."

Pauwels and others from Belgium met at Café Brussels near downtown Houston to make plans for a public memorial here.

She knew that the story of her family and its brush with terrorists could have been much different. "Oh, it was a total nightmare," she said. "Because we are so far away, and so what do you do so far away? You don't know what numbers to call."

Catherine Duwez, the owner of Café Brussels in First Ward, also has family in Brussels. She is heartbroken and angry, but most of all she is afraid for her community.

“Brussels is a good city, good people...what's going on?” Duwez said.

The Belgian Honorary Consul General of Texas, Jacques Bouchez, called today a sad day and said he is "terribly shocked by the attacks.”

"Thoughts go to the victims and their families, people who are injured and fighting for their lives,” said Bouchez.

About the Authors: