UPDATE: Brookfield man stuck in Costa Rica hospital has died
BROOKFIELD (WITI) -- FOX6 News has learned on Tuesday, May 7th Steve Flesch, a Brookfield man stuck in a Costa Rican hospital, in a medically induced coma since he was shot in the the head on April 2nd has died.
Flesch's sister on Facebook posted an update Tuesday afternoon, saying: "Some very sad news this morning, Steve Flesch passed away fighting the battle of his life. He fought to the very end and it in a happier place now. Thank you all for your thoughts, prayers and kind words during the last month. Please continue to pray for my parents."
FOX6 News spoke with Flesch's sister, Nikki Lannert on Tuesday. She said it still feels like her brother just hasn't come home yet.
"I'm so used to not seeing him for so many months, that this just doesn't seem right," Lannert said.
When Lannert got a call from her parents on Tuesday, she hoped her parents had secured Flesch's return to the United States. Instead, they told her Flesch's heart had stopped.
"His heart worked really hard to fight the infections, so it can only take so much," Lannert said.
Steve Flesch, a 2000 graduate of Brookfield Central High School, had spent months backpacking around the world. When he didn't make his scheduled return home on April 4th, his family was beyond worried.
When Lannert called the hostel where Flesch was staying, they told her his bags were in his room, he hadn't paid his bills, and they hadn't seen him in three days.
Lannert messaged everyone she could on Facebook and heard back from two men Flesch had been backpacking with. The found him eight hours away in a hospital in San Jose.
"He said 'Nikki, we found him. He's in the hospital. It's not good. He's been shot in the head,'" recalls Lannert.
According to Costa Rican police, Flesch had been assaulted, robbed, and shot in the back of the head.
Flesch's parents were with their son in San Jose, but for unknown reasons, they were unable to secure his release from the hospital.
"I've talked to the embassy, the State Department, Sensenbrenner, and nothing," said Lannert. "There is something, somewhere that's being told to be -- to hold things up, and we don't know what it is."
Flesch's family was concerned about the quality of his care.
Reflecting on her brother's trip on Tuesday, Lannert said Flesch told her this would be his last, big trip.
"He told me that he was gonna grow up. He was gonna get a job and hang up his backpack for a couple of years and maybe settle down and have some kids. At 31 years, he's probably lived more of a life than we all have," Lannert said.
Flesch's family hopes his body will be flown back to the United States this weekend. There are plans underway for fundraisers to help with medical bills and funeral costs.
CLICK HERE to learn more about fundraising efforts tied to this story.