CHALMETTE, La (WVUE) - After Albert Jacob Stechmann III fell to his death from the 34th story of a high-rise building in Hawaii, his family back in Chalmette are hoping to find closure from the tragic accident and bring him home.
His sister, Rebecca Stechmann, said they were never expecting the news they received early Monday (Feb. 4).
“We never went to bed that night thinking like we were going to wake up and our life was going to be totally different,” Stechmann said.
One of her brother’s friends brought Stechmann the bad news.
“He’s like, ‘Your brother accidentally fell off his balcony,’" she remembered. “And from that point on, I knew what the outcome was, because he lives on the 34th floor, and that’s like 500 something feet, so you know?”
The Honolulu Medical Examiner said the 38-year-old died from multiple blunt force injuries.
A spokesperson with the police department said they do not suspect foul play.
Stechmann said her brother, who went by “Jacob,” has lived in Hawaii for two years. FOX 8 interviewed him last August during Hurricane Lane.
She said her brother’s death is still surreal, especially after having visited him at that same condo.
"A year ago, I actually spent two weeks with my brother in Hawaii, and I drank coffee with him on that same balcony that would ultimately end up taking his life," Stechmann said.
As a St. Bernard firefighter, Stechmann said she often faces tragic situations, but nothing could prepare her for this.
“You see these families and this is the worst day of their life, and you’re just kind of standing there and ... your heart goes out to them, and I’m like I would never want to be in their shoes, and you just ache,” Stechmann said. “And I would’ve never thought that I would be in their shoes, you know?”
Like many younger siblings, she said she looked up to her older brother and always will.
"I miss my best friend, I miss my brother. He would boil crawfish. He just embraced us, and his friends so much. Oh, my brother," Stechmann said.
Stechmann said her mother and sister will fly out tomorrow to make funeral arrangements and bring Jacob’s body home.
The family has a GoFundMe set up to cover funeral and travel expenses.