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2 missionaries back in Utah after Brussels

Posted at 10:54 AM, Mar 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-29 23:15:30-04

LATEST UPDATE: Joseph Embey and Mason Wells have returned to Utah after being injured in the Brussels attacks last week. They are receiving medical care at a Utah hospital.

Both of them will be released from missionary service, according to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The other two missionaries, Richard Norby and Fanny Clain, continue to receive medical attention in Brussels. Norby will eventually be transported to the U.S. while Clain is expected to resume missionary service when she is fit enough to do so.

UPDATE: 13 Action News spoke with the family and friends of Joseph Empey in Santa Clara, Utah Tuesday.

"We love him a lot and we just excited to see him again, and hope that he gets all the way better," said father Court Empey. "... Feel bad for people who lost their family today, who lost a son or a daughter and I feel so grateful that I have my son still and he's alive."

Empey, 20, was waiting with three other missionaries to get a ticket for one of them when the attack happened. His parents said he was badly injured with shrapnel in his legs and burns to his face, head and arms, but he stayed calm.

#breaking family of #BrusselsAttacks victim Joseph Empey speaks out to @KTNV live reports from Utah on KTNV Channel 13 Action News

Posted by Mahsa Saeidi - KTNV on Tuesday, March 22, 2016

His best friend, Navy Dalton, spoke with him about the tense moments after the attack.

"There was people yelling, and he heard just all sorts of sounds," said Dalton.  "... He was looking for the sister missionary, and his companion."

Through the chaos, the 20-year-old was able to find and help his friends.  When he looked down, he realized that he was seriously injured. 

According to family members, he had surgery on his legs on Tuesday. 

Empey had been serving in Paris for the past year and a half of his two-year mission.  His family has not seen him during that time. 

"I don't want to go around feeling like that could happen to me anywhere I go but it happens so that was kind of an eye opener," said his 18-year-old sister Isabelle Empey.


Three Mormon missionaries from Utah who were serving in Paris were seriously injured in Tuesday's explosion at the Brussels airport, according to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In addition, a fourth missionary was also hospitalized with minor injuries.

The three Utah missionaries had been accompanying a fourth missionary who was on her way to a mission assignment in Ohio, and who had already passed through airport security.

The injured missionaries, whose families have been notified, are:
Elder Richard Norby (66) of Lehi, Utah
Elder Joseph Empey (20) of Santa Clara, Utah
Elder Mason Wells (19) of Sandy, Utah
The missionaries were taking Sister Fanny Rachel Clain (20) of Montélimar, France, to the airport. Sister Clain had been serving in that mission while awaiting a permanent visa for the United States. Clain was also injured in the attack and was hospitalized with minor injuries.

All missionaries in the France Paris Mission have been asked to remain in their apartments.
The First Presidency of the Church promptly issued a statement this morning in response to the bombings:
With much of the world, we awoke this morning to the heartbreaking news of the bombings in Belgium. Our prayers are with the families of the deceased and injured, including three of our missionaries who were injured and hospitalized. We also pray for the people of Belgium and France as they continue to deal with the uncertainty and devastation caused by the recent terrorist attacks.

Empey Family Statement:

This has been a difficult day for our family, and our hearts are broken for those injured or killed by the attacks in Belgium. We are grateful our son, Elder Joseph Dresden Empey, is alive and doing well. He has been treated for 2nd degree burns to his hands, face, and head, and surgery was just completed for shrapnel injuries to his legs. We have been in touch with him and he is grateful and in good spirits. We have also been in contact with his mission president. We are thankful for the outpouring of love and prayers from throughout the world, and we pray for all those affected by this tragedy.
--  Court and Amber Empey