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American Couple Aboard Missing Flight

Mary Miley expected to hear from her sister, Anne Debaillon Harris, once Harris and her husband, Michael, reached Paris on Sunday and had time to unpack.

The couple, who lived in Lafayette, La., until four years ago when they moved to The Woodlands, Texas, headed to France for a training seminar involving Michael Harris' work with Devon Energy, and then planned some vacation time in France and Spain.

But the two never reached Paris. They were among 228 people aboard Air France Flight 447, which disappeared over the Atlantic Ocean on Sunday en route from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to Paris.

Anne Harris, 54, a noted physical therapist, and 60-year-old geologist Michael Harris lived in Lafayette, La., were married for 16 years.

Officials in Brazil and France feared the worst while beginning a search for the aircraft on Monday, but Miley is braced.

"Timothy Eydelmant with the consulate office said they were on the manifest, so I fully expect they were on the plane," said Miley. "We're all in a state of shock."

"I last spoke with Anne last week, but we were in daily contact by e-mail," Miley said. "I got an e-mail from her day before yesterday, and she said her son would have their itinerary, but he never got it. He is a pilot with Continental who lives at their house in The Woodlands."

Harris began working with Devon as a contractor in Houston in July 2004 supporting international projects, then on Jan. 31, 2006, became a fulltime geological adviser on projects in West Africa and Asia. Last July, Devon transferred the couple to Rio de Janeiro.

"They enjoyed Rio," Miley said. "Anne said she'd never have that experience again, so they went. They enjoyed Carnival. They had friends at the American Club. They were making the best of it."

Miley recalled consulting her sister for "e-mail PT (physical therapy)" once they were apart, and that Anne's favorite reply was always "put some ice on it."

She described Anne as "a brilliant redhead. As a single parent with a small child, she put herself through physical therapy school and was first in her class. She was just brilliant.

"Michael," Miley added, "was a brilliant geologist. He was someone who always seemed to be right at the end of any discussion."

The Harrises were planning a December visit to Lafayette to visit family and friends.

"They were both gregarious, caring, patient, kind, fun-loving individuals," Miley said. "My only comfort is that they died together."

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