Dominican officials now believe contact with an electric cable caused Elder Brennan Conrad to fall from the roof of his apartment building to his death on Wednesday, according to a news release issued by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Conrad, 18, of Hyde Park, Utah was serving as a missionary in the Dominican Republic Santo Domingo East Mission. His mission companion reported that Conrad had gone to the roof with a bucket to look for water, according to the release, which was issued by Sala de Prensa, the church's official public relations website in the country.
The release also said investigators determined Conrad "had contact with an electric cable that is presumed to have caused his fall," the church release said.
Conrad was a noble servant of God, said Rafael Gutiérrez, the church's director of public affairs in the Caribbean.
"As a Christian community, the Latter-day Saints wish to honor the memory of Elder Conrad by remembering him not as the young man who died falling from a height, but as a missionary who rose to the top, voluntarily leaving the comfort of his home and the security of his life in the United States to come and serve, for love and faith in God, his Dominican brothers. The people he taught and the companions he influenced are the legacy of good works that we have left of the service of this noble servant of God," he said.
Conrad spoke by phone with family members on Monday and told them he had never been happier, the family said in a statement.
"Brennan was a great son, grandson, uncle, nephew, brother and friend to all those with whom he came into contact," the family statement said, adding, "He also repeatedly expressed his sincere love for people in the Dominican Republic. In his five months as a missionary, he worked diligently and really makes us proud."
The mission president, Bret Smith, said Conrad diligently learned Spanish, exercised faith and preached. A week before his death, Smith assigned Conrad to be a district leader with responsibility for six other missionaries.
Conrad was living in the Brisas del Este section of Santo Domingo.
The U.S. embassy expressed condolences to the family and was assisting with church officials and a funeral home on arrangements.