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TERRORIST PLOT AT MID-CONTINENT AIRPORT Ex-wife of Terry Lee Loewen: ‘I would have never ever thought he would do anything this horrible.’

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013, at 4:47 p.m.
  • Updated Monday, Feb. 17, 2014, at 8:13 a.m.

Photos

Barry Grissom announces arrest of Terry Lee Loewen

United States attorney Barry Grissom announces the arrest of Terry Lee Loewen on terrorism charges on Friday. Loewen is accused in a plot to blow up Wichita's Mid-Continent Airport in a suicide bomb attack. (Travis Heying/The Wichita Eagle)

In the 10 years Terry Lee Loewen was married to his now ex-wife, Sarah, he was a peaceful, easy-going, quiet man.

Loewen, a native Wichitan and graduate of Heights High School, had loving parents and a normal childhood, Sarah Loewen said.

“Terry didn’t like confrontation; he was never one to start a fight,” Sarah Loewen said. “He was so mellow.”

He was a good father to their son, Damien, 24.

Terry Loewen has not been part of her life now for a long time, Loewen said.

Today, she’s angry for what he’s done and what he’s putting their son through.

The man who was capable of developing a suicide attack on the Wichita Mid-Continent Airport “is somebody I never knew,” Loewen said. “I would have never ever thought he would do anything this horrible. I can’t even put it in words.”

Terry Loewen, a 58-year-old avionics technician, was arrested early Friday as authorities allege he moved forward with a plot to detonate explosives at Wichita Mid-Continent Airport.

In the aftermath, some Wichitans are left trying to come to terms with what they knew and what they didn’t know about this man.

Damien Loewen declined an interview request.

Terry Loewen’s planned attack was designated to kill himself and inflict the maximum number of deaths, a detailed criminal complaint said.

Authorities arrested Loewen about 5:40 a.m. after they say he tried to open a security access gate to the airport and deliver a vehicle loaded with what he thought to be high explosives but were not.

What he didn’t know until his arrest is that the people he had been conspiring with were undercover FBI agents, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom announced Friday.

Loewen faces three federal charges: One count of trying to use a weapon of mass destruction, one count of attempting to damage property and one count of attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization that Loewen allegedly thought was al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, based in Yemen.

The news was a “total shock,” Sarah Loewen said.

“It angers me to no end that my son has to deal with this,” she said. “I don’t know how he could do this to his child.”

Her son and his father had a good relationship.

“They were close,” Sarah Loewen said. “This is going to be a hard road for him (Damien).”

She’s not seen Terry Loewen since their son’s wedding in April.

Sarah met Terry at the former Beech Aircraft Co., now Beechcraft Corp., in the 1980s.

At one point, Terry left the company to work at Learjet across town. She wasn’t sure when he rejoined the company or when he moved to his current position at Hawker Beechcraft Services at the airport.

“He was happy. He was a normal human being,” she said.

They filed for divorce in 1994.

She didn’t know why or how Terry Loewen had formed such radical ideas.

But recently, Damien told her that his dad had become a Muslim.

“I said, ‘What is wrong with him?’ ” Sarah Loewen said.

As for Damien, she and Damien’s wife will be there to support him, she said.

And for Terry Loewen, “He’s dead in my books,” she said. “He can rot in hell for all I care.”

Contributing: Amy Renee Leiker

Reach Molly McMillin at 316-269-6708 or mmcmillin@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @mmcmillin.

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