Jill Renick was a spa manager at the Omni Houston Hotel. She vanished during Tropical Storm Harvey, and 11 days later, her body was finally found near the luxury hotel’s elevators, after another employee reported it to police.
The Houston Police Department (HPD) found Renick’s body on Thursday, after an Omni employee saw it in the ceiling of the basement, near a set of elevators, police say. Renick’s family confirmed her death Thursday, but HPD did not release any details until Friday morning.
People have been searching for Renick, 48, since her disappearance. According to multiple reports, Renick volunteered to aid others during the worst of the Harvey storm.
According to the Chronicle: “She had ridden out the storm overnight in a fourth-floor room with her dog, and reportedly was contacted to help with guests as floodwaters poured into the lobby and basement and evacuations were getting underway.”
Around 6 a.m. on Aug. 27, she got into an elevator as a nearby bayou flooded over, its overflowing waters caused by Harvey’s heavy downpours. That’s when Renick became trapped in the elevator and, according to her sister, Pam Eslinger, she called the front desk for help.
“I’m in an elevator. The water is rushing in. Please help me,” Renick’s sister reports her as saying.
Employees of the Omni immediately rushed to Renick’s aid, but reportedly couldn’t get enough power to the elevator to move it up. As the Omni took on an estimated 20 feet of water, the rescue was prevented by those rising floodwaters and by a lack of power. Resnick’s co-workers proceeded to call authorities.
The HPD Dive Team and the Houston Fire Department tried multiple times to find Renick, reportedly, but were unable to reach her.
“It is with heavy hearts that the search for my sister, Jill Renick, has concluded with the confirmation of her death,” Eslinger said in a statement. “We are heartbroken.”
Omni also offered its condolences to Renick’s family. “We are communicating with the family to offer whatever assistance we can, and we are arranging grief counseling to help our associates process this shocking news,” managers reportedly said in a statement to KHOU. “This is a difficult time for us all.”
Renick’s dog was found in the fourth-floor hotel room she stayed in, reports say. The Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences will determine Renick’s cause of death.
Heartbreaking news from Houston. The body of Jill Renick was found following Hurricane Harvey. Thoughts and prayers are with her family. https://t.co/GQUKryXiiI
— ISPA (@ISpaDoYou) September 7, 2017
— ABC11 EyewitnessNews (@ABC11_WTVD) September 9, 2017
— Ashley Holt (@AshleyHoltKJRH) September 7, 2017
— DallasMetro (@DallasMetro) September 7, 2017
— Tiffany Alaniz (@TiffanyAlaniz) September 7, 2017
— Lela Fay Patton (@faydelady) September 2, 2017
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