When Elijah Snow, 35, didn't return to his hotel room on Sunday night, his wife, Jamie, notified Mexican police, who discovered his body early Monday trapped in a bathroom window in another hotel.
"It's just so out of character for him to try to get into a room he shouldn't be in," David Oujesky, Snow's stepfather, told ABC News' "Good Morning America" in an interview that aired Thursday. "He just wouldn't do that. The only way he would do that is if he was in fear for his life and he knew that was his last resort to try and get through there."
Snow was a firefighter of eight years with the Arlington Fire Department, and he and his wife were celebrating their 10-year anniversary. Snow went missing after the couple got drinks at a hotel bar; he had decided to stay behind after his wife went back to their room, Snow’s father-in-law, Randy Elledge, told a local CBS affiliate.
"Her text message to me was, ‘I don’t want to alarm you, but Elijah's missing,'" Oujesky told GMA of the moment Snow's wife reached out to him.
He added later that when she arrived at the police department to inform officials of her husband's disappearance, one of the officers already had a photocopy of Snow's driver's license in his hands when she arrived at the police station, signaling that something was wrong.
"She knew something bad had happened," Oujesky told GMA. "That is where they told her that he'd been found in what they told her was homicide without suspects."
Officials in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo said Friday that Snow died of mechanical asphyxiation after getting trapped in the bathroom window of the hotel, which was different from the one he and his wife were staying at, several miles away, NBC News reported.
Elledge said Snow’s family has suggested that Snow may have been kidnapped and hired an attorney, who obtained crime scene photos showing he had been beaten over most of his body.
Officials, however, said they found no evidence of violence at the scene. An investigation is ongoing and the U.S. Embassy in Mexico is monitoring the case, according to reports.
Snow’s remains were returned to North Texas from Cancun on Friday. His funeral will be held Tuesday in Arlington.
Fox News' Jessica Chasmar contributed to this report.