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Karen Hunt's family hopes extradition of Libyan official will lead to convictions in Flight 103 bombing

Karen Lee Hunt was 20 when she died in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 in 1988.
Karen Lee Hunt was 20 when she died in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 in 1988.

When Pan Am Flight 103 was destroyed by a bomb over Lockerbie, Scotland, nearly 34 years ago, Karen Hunt of Webster was one of the 270 people who died in the terror attack.

Hunt and 34 other Syracuse University students were returning home for the holidays after a semester abroad in 1988. It was just four days before Christmas.

Today, Karen's father, Bob Hunt, takes some comfort in the news that a Libyan intelligence official accused of making the bomb has been taken into U.S. custody.

"It's been a long time, but no one has given up hope," he said. "I'm just glad that this has finally happened with him being extradited to the U.S."

Hunt has known about the suspect, Abu Agila Mohammad Mas'ud Kheir Al-Marimi, for several years.

Each year when the families of the victims meet, Hunt said they get updates from representatives of the Department of Justice and the FBI and intelligence officials from Scotland. He said they assured them they were still working toward Mas'ud's extradition.

"We were always skeptical that this would actually happen because of the situation in Libya ever since Ghadafi was overthrown, where basically, you have different factions claiming they're running the country, et cetera, et cetera," Hunt said. "But this is great news."

He said he and his family have relied on their faith and the support of the families of the other victims to give them strength over the past three-plus decades. While Hunt, his wife, Peggy, and daughter Robyn have learned to live with their grief, this time of year has added significance.

On the Dec. 21 anniversary of the bombing each year, they pray together and look at old videos, read letters, or find other ways to remember Karen.

Hunt said there are times when he finds himself imagining what Karen's life would be like had she lived. She would have been 55 on Jan. 7.

Beth Adams joined WXXI as host of Morning Edition in 2012 after a more than two-decade radio career. She was the longtime host of the WHAM Morning News in Rochester. Her career also took her from radio stations in Elmira, New York, to Miami, Florida.