The Hamptons realtor who died with her daughter when their plane crashed in rural Virginia met her adoptive parents after ‘standing in line for something’ and they bonded over her rough upbringing.
John Rumpel and his wife Barbara informally adopted Adina Azarian, 48, when she was 40 after working with her on a building they own in New York City.
Barbara and John, still mourning the loss of their daughter Victoria who died aged 19 in 1994, took Adina, then single and childless, under their wing.
Azarian and his two-year-old daughter were killed along with his nanny when the family Cessna went down in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, Sunday.
Now, her half-brother Steven White has revealed the couple and their soon-to-be-adopted daughter had a random first encounter.
Speaking to the New York Post, he said: ‘Adina mentioned something about an arbitrary meeting, literally perhaps standing in line for something, but that’s about all I know.’
Adina Azarian, 48, and her two-year-old daughter Aria were killed on Sunday in a hellish Cessna private plane crash. She welcomed Aria via sperm donor and IVF in 2017
John and Barbara Rumpel, pictured here in an NRA Women’s Leadership Forum feature, informally adopted Adina eight years ago
White also told the Post their relationship flourished because Azarian reminded them of their daughter Victoria, and for her, because she always wanted ‘proper parents’ after a rough childhood.
White added: ‘I think [they] fulfilled a need that Adina was looking for in terms of having a ‘proper set of parents.’
‘Because she never really had the mom, dad, dog, white picket fence.’
According to White, Azarian’s childhood was too much for her due to her mother being married multiple times.
He continued: ‘Adina was at a point where she needed to step back to settle her own mind, make peace with things. And I think Adina fulfilled a role that the Rumpels were looking for.’
Azarian’s biological mother, Christine Graham, now 78, also told the Post: ‘They had lost a daughter in ’94, and Adina, feeling rejected by her mother, me, I think it just clicked.’
Graham also told the newspaper he had struggled with alcoholism when Azarian was younger, although he has been sober now for 26 years.
Graham said she was mending her relationship with her daughter when she was killed.
On Sunday, Adina was flying from Tennessee to Long Island with nanny Evadnie Smith aboard the Rumpels’ Cessna V 560, which was being piloted by Jeff Hefner.
At around 2.45pm, the plane inexplicably performed a U-turn as it approached Long Island.
It then headed back towards the South, hurtling towards Washington DC and ignoring commands from the ground.
The lack of communications spooked security officials and two F-16 fighter jets were scrambled.
The plane crash-landed in the Shenandoah Valley, some 170 miles southwest of the capital.
Adina Azarian (left), her two-year-old daughter (center) and the child’s nanny Evadnie Smith (right) were killed when a jet they were in crashed in rural Virginia on Sunday
The jettook off at 1.13pm from Elizabethton Airport in Tennessee and was scheduled to land at MacArthur Airport in Islip, on Long Island. Instead, it flew north then performed an about-turn and then crashed in Virginia
Pilot Jeff Hefner was also killed in the crash. F-16 pilots who scrambled to reach the Cessna say he was slumped over in the cockpit
The Cessna tumbled at a terrifying 28,000ft per minute once it ran out of fuel. The devastating crash site was later revealed
Smith was a live-in nanny at Azarian’s home in East Hampton, New York, according to The Sun.
Originally from Jamaica, Azarian’s friends told the outlet Smith was a ‘beautiful soul of a woman’ who was incredibly close to the mother and daughter.
‘She was such an amazing woman,’ Azarian’s friend Sandy Castillo told The Sun in an interview.
The Rumpels are large-scale donors to several conservative political candidates, including former President Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis, having given a combined $250,000 to a PAC supporting Trump’s 2020 bid, and several thousand toward DeSantis’ successful Gubernatorial run as well.
In the decades before, the pair gained notoriety as a power couple after meeting in John’s native New York in the 1960s, at an office building that Barbara worked in and John, already a real estate mogul owned.
John Rumpel (left) owned the Cessna aircraft that crashed and adopted Azarian with his wife Barbara (right) when she was 40. The two are pictured at a 2017 NRA Foundation dinner
Adina’s adoptive parents are prominent GOP donors, John and Barbara Rumpel, shown with Trump in March 2020. They are pictured with Donald Trump in March 2020
State police confirmed the wreckage of the plane was found in the Staunton/Blue Ridge Parkway area, in a rural part of the Shenandoah Valley and there were no survivors.
At a briefing on Monday, NTSB investigator Adam Gerhardt said the wreckage was ‘highly fragmented’ and investigators will examine the most delicate evidence at the site, after which the wreckage will be moved to Delaware, where it can be further examined.
It was not clear if the plane had a flight data recorder. A preliminary report will be released within 10 days.
Preliminary information indicates the last air traffic control communication attempt with the airplane was at approximately 1:28 pm, when the plane was at 31,000 feet.
About eight minutes later, the FAA reported the situation to the Domestic Events Network, which includes military, national security, homeland security and other law enforcement agencies.
The plane climbed to 34,000 feet, where it remained for the rest of the flight until 3:23 pm when it began to descend and crashed about nine minutes later, according to the NTSB.
According to the Pentagon, six F-16 fighter jets were deployed to intercept the plane, including two from a base in Maryland, two from New Jersey and two from South Carolina.