Twin sister hopes for change after Eau Claire murder

(WQOW)– July 30 marks the second anniversary of a tragedy that shook an Eau Claire neighborhood, but nobody felt the impact more than the victim’s twin sister.

“Jenny was my other half, I don’t know if I don’t have a memory growing up that she wasn’t present,” said Jamie Kirchoff.

Jenny and Jamie were twin sisters, not identical, but in some photos you can’t tell them a part.

“It’s hard to go on throughout everyday and not call her,” said Kirchoff.

It was two years ago a call came, not from her sister, but her husband, telling her Jenny had been murdered.

Related Story: Shane Helmbrecht arrested on murder charges

“I was devastated, I didn’t believe it, I kept on saying I can still feel her. I didn’t understand. It was the longest drive of my entire life,” said Kirchoff.

The killing came after an admitted meth binge. Shane Helmbrecht told police he heard voices telling him neighbors were eating babies, that’s why he shot Jenny.

“I needed to hold onto some strength and within that strength was some anger, but once he has been remanded to a mental facility there’s nothing that can happen, the case is essentially gone and he will spend his time trying to get better,” said Kirchoff.

After five competency hearings, a judge ruled Helmbrecht could not stand trial, because of mental illness. He was sent to a state mental health institution.

Related Story: Helmbrecht found not competent 

“I have accepted what happened, that there’s nothing that anyone can do to change the situation,” said Kirchoff. “I have, through the help of my faith in God, I have forgiven Shane for taking my sisters life and feel for him and his family.”

“At some point she would have forgiven Shane as well because she wouldn’t want anyone in any sort of suffering of any kind, especially a veteran who fought for our country who needed help. Because, if he would have asked for help, she would have given it,” Kirchoff said.

Helmbrecht never claimed PTSD is what led him to shoot Jenny, but his family said that may have been a factor.

Two years have helped heal Jamie’s heart, and now she’s hoping to help others.

“My goal in all of this is, I want to get the numbers and the contact information out there for people who have post traumatic stress disorder who need assistance, because I don’t know for sure what the VA has been doing to help them,” Kirchoff said.

The incident may have taken her sister, but it will never take her memories.

She loved ‘Twilight’, in fact the song we played at her funeral was “A Thousand Years” and every time we hear it on the radio it’s her,” Kirchoff said. “I just miss that the person who sometimes I fought against because we were always thought of as one person. Man, if I could have one second with her again to hold, to love her, to kiss her, to tell her what she meant. I miss the little things.”

Kirchoff said Jenny’s family still lives in the home where she was murdered, because although something tragic happened in the home, there’s still a lot of good memories they share there.

For more information about PTSD see our links below.

What is PTSD
Symptoms of PTSD
PTSD Conditions
Where to Get Help
Helping Someone with PTSD
PTSD Alliance
For Families of Someone with PTSD
Treatment for PTSD



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