KEANAE, MAUI (HawaiiNewsNow) - A family trip to Maui ended in tragedy when a Missouri woman accidentally fell to her death at a waterfall. Susan Stephens, 46, and her husband, Bob, were childhood sweethearts. Their three daughters joined them on a trip to the Valley Isle to celebrate his 50th birthday.
"She was a mother, a granddaughter, a daughter, a teacher, a servant, a friend. Just everything to so many people," said friend Kelly Morse.
While one daughter stayed behind, police said the rest of the family hiked about two miles along the Bamboo Forest Trail just before Keanae on Sunday afternoon.
"According to the witness accounts, the victim who was 25 to 30 feet up on the waterfall, slipped and fell, landing on some rocks in the pond below," said Lt. Wayne Ibarra of the Maui Police Department.
Emergency crews rushed to the remote spot just past mile marker 6 on Hana Highway. Stephens suffered severe head injuries and died before being transported to the hospital.
"Condolences do go out to the husband and family," said Ibarra. "It's pretty tragic."
"She had a lot of close friends, so it's been good just to connect with them and just talk and pray and cry and laugh and remember," said friend Julie Hough.
Stephens was an active member of Chesterfield Presbyterian Church and also taught preschool there. She even reached out to the less fortunate through missionary work in Haiti and Africa.
"I don't know of a more precious and gentle person," said preschool director Melissa Tarantino.
As friends struggle to grasp this sudden loss, they are clinging tightly to their faith.
"We don't understand, I don't think we will, this side of heaven, but we do believe that God is in control," said Hough.