Jean and Scott Adam, from Marina Del Rey, were taken hostage with two friends as they sailed in the Arabian Sea.
The Adams, along with Bob Riggle and Phyllis Macay from Seattle, were shot to death on Tuesday, even as the U.S. Navy was working on negotiations.
During those talks, pirates on board the Adams' yacht fired an RPG at the naval destroyer. It fell short, but was followed by gunshots on board the yacht. Fifteen Navy Seals boarded the boat and found the hostages.
Friends describe the Adams as loving and caring, with a sense of adventure.
"They loved meeting new people, getting new ideas, and they wanted to spend the rest of their lives going around the world, just meeting people and loving them," said Judy Peace, a friend of the murdered sailors.
The victims' families are thanking the sailors and other people who risked their own lives to save the hostages.
Relatives of Scott Adam released the following statement:
"Our loved ones were tragically taken from us and our hearts are broken. While we wish to grieve in private, we would like to express our deepest gratitude to the brave men and women of the Navy and other military branches who risked their lives trying to save them. We would also like to thank the FBI and State Department for their swift and kind treatment of this matter. Our hearts also go out to the families of Bob Riggle and Phyllis Macay."
There are still unanswered questions about why the group had left the other boats they were traveling with, especially in such dangerous waters.
The U.S. Navy detained 15 men after the killings. They're being held on an aircraft carrier on the east coast of Africa. The military, FBI and Justice Department are working to figure out the next steps for those suspects