Milwaukee man beaten, left for dead in Costa Rica


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Milwaukee man beaten, left for dead in Costa Rica

By Annie Scholz. CREATED May 3, 2013

A Milwaukee man was beaten and left for dead in a foreign country. He's in a coma and his family can't get him home.

Steve Flesch of Milwaukee is no stranger to adventure. He's traveled to dozens of countries. But during his most recent trip to Costa Rica, his family got a cryptic phone call from a hostel in town.

"He had been staying with them. He hadn't been there in three days," said Nikki Lannert, Flesch's sister. "His bags were in his room and his bill was unpaid."

It took her family days to find out Steve had been robbed and beaten.

"It sounds like when he turned around he was shot in the back of the head while running away," she said.

Flesch is alive, but his family says the conditions at the public hospital are making his recovery difficult.

"He keeps getting infection after infection," Lannert said. "He's in isolation now due to a bug we believe he got due to improper hand washing."

And they can't get him home. He's in a coma and doesn't have a medical directive. His family is trying to cut through the red tape, but they say the embassy isn't getting anywhere.

"They're not helping them with any of the forms so we don't know if what was filled out was accurate, so it's going to hold up the process," she added.

They also called Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner. He contacted the embassy, but so far, nothing's happened. A family, desperate to get their loved one on American soil, and on the road to recovery.

"It's like I'm living in the middle of a really bad movie that you watch," Lannert explained. "You turn on, you're like, ‘That really doesn't happen.’"

Flesch's family thinks the care he can get at Froederdt will make a huge difference. There is a special medical flight that can transfer him, but it costs about $50,000. They're fundraising now to get the money.