Erin Jo Findlay
20 Years Old

January 11, 1979 to August 28, 1999

When Erin Jo Findlay from Brookfield, Wisconsin was born, our family knew she was someone very special. She was the happiest and cutest baby ever! There was rarely a moment she did not display her “ear to ear” smile which glistened from her face. Erin began talking at seven months, was walking by the time she was nine months and speaking at 11 months! There was no doubt in anyone’s mind she was a talented and gifted child.

Erin was a typical teen who loved to be with her friends, an atypical teen who was bored with school; not due to ignorance but because she was brilliant. Her I.Q. was at a genius level. She was returning to college in fall 1999 to pursue a degree in Health Education.

Erin absolutely adored animals. Her two cats were Solo and Toast. Summer 1999, Erin rescued a half dozen abandoned German Shepherd puppies that were a few days old. She began raising them as her own. Erin gave the only female puppy to our step-father in appreciation of him “being there” for her and because she loved him. These are the puppies in the above photo.

Erin loved children and hoped to have several of her own someday. Parents of small children and their children were always excited to see Erin.

Water skiing, snow skiing and anything having to do with entertaining or helping others were things Erin enjoyed doing.

Erin’s vibrant personality, clever wittiness and goddess-like beauty would enlighten anyone’s day. Her energy and personality could motivate people. She was everyone’s friend; even the few who may have considered her an enemy.

Erin always believed she could help or help change other people’s lives for the better and would never give-up; unfortunately, this belief is what would take her life…

CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE MURDER

Early on Saturday morning, August 28th, 1999, Erin and her “boyfriend” Donald M. Kaltenbach returned to their home after having been out with friends.

With months of previous physical abuse that was “only hinted to us,” Don went on a rampage. We all feel Erin was finally going to break-up their relationship and that is what triggered Don to go to the extreme.

They fought and at some point after Erin was either asleep or unconscious, Don stabbed her through the heart, though he never confessed to the details.

The same morning, Don sent a suicide letter to his parents, which they received the following Monday.

For three days, Don left my sister’s body with her animals in their apartment.

Don’s father stopped by that same Saturday in the afternoon to visit. Don was outside, acting “normal.” His father wanted to go inside to visit with Erin but Don told him “she wasn’t feeling good.”

When Don’s parents received the suicide letter, they asked law enforcement to check on their son. When they did, they found only my sister’s body…..

Don M. Kaltenbach pled guilty to First-Degree Reckless Homicide which would give only the maximum sentence of 45 years. Fortunately, the Judge enforced the maximum sentence.

There was so much support for Erin in the previous court dates, the Judge requested a larger courtroom for sentencing, which again was overcrowded and spilled into the hallway.

Erin...your family and countless number of friends sadly miss you…..

Derek Steltenpohl
Eldest brother of Erin Jo

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Erin FIndlay