An American couple’s dream vacation has turned deadly after they were killed in an ISIS-claimed attack in Tajikistan over the weekend.
Lauren Geoghegan and her boyfriend Jay Austin, both 29, of Washington, D.C., were killed when their group was rammed by a car before five men emerged from the vehicle and attacked them with knives.
ISIS took responsibility for the attack that occurred near the border of Afghanistan in a video of the five purported attackers pledging allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi.
“Devastation is the word I’ve been using the most,” their friend Molly Scalise told CBS News.
They were killed along with another couple they were traveling with, who were Dutch and Swiss.
Geoghegan, who worked with Georgetown University, and Austin, who worked in the federal government, had quit their jobs more than a year ago to cycle around the world using their life savings.
They chronicled their journeys on their website and Instagram account, both called Simply Cycling, as they cycled through Zambia, Spain, Kosovo and Kyrgyzstan before crossing over to predominantly Muslim Tajikistan, which borders Afghanistan.
Geoghegan’s parents said in a statement they had always supported their daughter’s travels.
"We are focused at this difficult time on the joy that Lauren brought to us, to her sisters, and to everyone she encountered," Geoghegan's parents said. “The yearlong bicycle adventure Lauren and her partner, Jay Austin, were enjoying was typical of her enthusiastic embrace of life's opportunities, her openness to new people and places, and her quest for a better understanding of the world."