SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah man serving as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Dominican Republic died in a fall Wednesday morning, church officials said.
Elder Brennan Conrad, 18, of Hyde Park, died from injuries suffered from falling from the roof of his apartment building, officials said. Church spokesman Daniel Woodruff said Conrad had been serving in the Dominican Republic Santo Domingo East Mission since August.
"Our deepest condolences go out to his family. We pray they will be comforted as they deal with this tragedy and mourn Elder Conrad's passing," Woodruff said in a statement.
Further details about the fall weren’t immediately released. Steven Durrant, the stake president over the region where Conrad's family attends church and the spokesman for the family, said the fall is under investigation.
“Hopefully, as time goes on, we’ll learn more about that,” Durrant said.
Durrant called Conrad “a wonderful young man” who was a positive influence. He said the family was devastated about the news, but that they are a strong family.
Conrad had spoken with his family on the phone just two days before his death, due to the recent changes to missionary procedures that were announced Friday, Durrant added.
“That (call) meant everything to them today,” he said, speaking of the family’s chance to talk with Conrad on Monday. “Just two days ago, they had been able to talk to him directly, personally — that otherwise wouldn’t have happened had it not been for that change last week.”
In a family statement, Conrad's sister-in-law, Hailey Conrad, said her brother-in-law was "smiling from ear to ear as he talked with us."
"It was a blessing we were all together as family and Brennan had the capability of calling us," she wrote. "During his video chat and throughout his mission, he often repeated his motto, 'Let’s go!' In Spanish, he would say, 'Vamos!' We will remember him by these words and how his whole face lit up, each time he said them. This phrase was his way of expressing his desire and excitement to keep moving forward, even when times get rough."
She added her brother-in-law had also received a package of handwritten letters from the family last week.
It wasn’t clear Wednesday when Conrad’s body would be returned to Utah, and funeral arrangements have not yet been made. Durrant said the Conrad family was still processing the news.
“I would just ask for everybody to pray for this wonderful family in their time of sorrow and tragedy,” Durrant said. “It’s obviously the most difficult news that any family could get. … The strength of prayer is real, and that would be a wonderful thing to ask for.”
A GoFundMe page* was set up Wednesday to help cover expenses.
Contributing: Kira Hoffelmeyer, KSL NewsRadio
*KSL.com does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account, you should consult your own advisers and otherwise proceed at your own risk.