Mom Killed in NJ Train Crash Recently Moved From Brazil | NBC Southern California
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Mom Killed in NJ Train Crash Recently Moved From Brazil

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Fabiola Bittar de Kroon leaves behind a husband, a young daughter and many other heartbroken people. Jen Maxfield reports. (Published Thursday, Sept. 29, 2016)

    Fabiola Bittar de Kroon was in a rush to catch the train.

    When she dropped off her toddler daughter at daycare on Thursday morning, she barely had a moment to chat.

    "She was dropping off the daughter, I was closing up the stroller," daycare director Carlos Magner recalled. "We had a good talk for like a minute. And she said she was in a rush."

    De Kroon sprinted off to the Hoboken Terminal.

    A short time later, a train traveling too fast crashed through a barrier and into the station, killing de Kroon amid falling debris and injuring more than 100 other people.

    Daycare director Maria Sharp said de Kroon, who had recently moved to the United States from Brazil with her husband and daughter, was very involved, always wanting to know how her daughter was growing academically.

    "You just saw a smile on her face every time she came to pick up her daughter," Sharp said, "and that's what I keep seeing."

    De Kroon, 34, worked for the software company SAP in its legal department in Brazil until earlier this year, when she moved to New Jersey after her husband got a job with an international liquor company.

    SAP spokesman Andy Kendzie said the company was "shaken by the news" of the train crash and de Kroon's death. He said the company expressed its deepest condolences to de Kroon's family and friends and to all of those affected by the "tragic event."

    When Sharp learned what happened to de Kroon, she rushed to her child's side.

    "I went right to her daughter and I hugged her and I hoped that everything would be OK," Sharp told NBC 4, tearing up.

    De Kroon's husband Daan was on a business trip in Pennsylvania. He rushed home, and when he arrived at the day care to pick up their daughter, he asked the owner for advice: how do you tell an 18-month-old that her mother is gone?

    Close-Up Video of Crashed NJ Transit Train

    [NATL-NY] Close-Up Video of Crashed NJ Transit Train
    Close-up video shows the train that crashed in to Hoboken Terminal Thursday morning. (Published Thursday, Sept. 29, 2016)

    "'What should I say, how should I address this?'" Magner recalled Daan asking him. "And I said, 'You're not born knowing how to address this. Just stay strong, be there for your daughter."

    Magner was emotional as he thought about the girl.

    "That poor child doesn't have a mom," he said. "And she doesn't know that. Her whole life changed a few hours ago." 

    De Kroon, a 2011 master's degree graduate from Florida International University's College of Business, previously lived in Florida but was a Brazil native.

    'It Was Super Packed': Survivor Recounts NJ Train Crash

    [NATL-NY] Survivor Recounts NJ Transit Train Crash
    Jamie Weatherhead-Sal, a passenger aboard the NJ Transit train that plowed into Hoboken Terminal, recounts the harrowing experience. (Published Thursday, Sept. 29, 2016)

    Dolf Wiemer, a former LG Electronics co-worker who lives in Brazil, said he knew the couple well and in April had visited them before they moved to the U.S. De Kroon was excited about the change and her husband's major career move, Wiemer said.

    The de Kroons, he said, were "an international couple not avoiding any adventure by even moving countries in (pursuit) of a better (life)."

    "Even if this means that you have to follow your partner and have to get used to other cultures and ways of living," he said. "It is tragic that she had to be in such a bad place at that time while pursuing their dreams of life."

    De Kroon's eagerness to explore the area with her family was apparent in a recent post on the Hoboken Mommies Facebook page. 

    "Mommies, we are planning a day trip to the beach this weekend with public transportation," she posted to the group's page on Aug. 5. "Just moved to NJ, so no idea which beach would be nice in a fair distance (traveling with a 18 months baby). Any tips? TIA!!"