Before Hurricane Harvey hit, Jill Renick checked into Houston’s Omni Hotel. She had just moved to Houston from Dallas after accepting a position as the luxury hotel’s spa director.
According to KJRH, Renick offered to stay at the hotel to help care for guests who couldn’t make it home. Now, the 48-year-old is missing.Screenshot/CBS DFW
As CBS DFW reports, Renick checked in on Saturday ahead of the storm. Over the weekend, the hotel flooded.
Sunday was the last time Pam Eslinger heard from her sister. The last time anyone else saw Renick, she was helping employees evacuate.
Dear Omni Family,It is with a heavy heart that I write to inform you about a tragic incident. Jill Renick, our Spa…
By Tuesday, Renick was confirmed missing at the hotel. Her dog was found in her hotel room, and her car was still in the parking garage. Eslinger told CBS DFW it would have been impossible for her sister to just up and leave:
“She couldn’t walk away. The place was flooded. At final point there, it was 20 feet underwater in the lobby.”
Although Harvey’s floodwaters have begun to recede in some areas, the Houston Chronicle reports officials have not been able to search the Omni because the water is contaminated with gas and oil and is still too deep.
If they were able to search, Renick’s family thinks they know where they would find her — the spa. According to Eslinger, her sister called a colleague “frantic” because she had gotten into an elevator when water started pouring in. Eslinger explained to CBS DFW her sister was heard saying:
“‘I’m in an elevator. The water is rushing in. Please help me.’ Don’t know if she got out. My thought is that she probably didn’t.”
The Chronicle reports that Renick’s niece, Tina Turk, was told by friends that Renick had also called 911, but between the calls for help, no one was able to reach her.
Houston police reportedly were called later to the Omni about a possible deceased person in an elevator, but they did not find a body. The Chronicle reports Houston Police Department spokesman Kese Smith declined to clarify whether or not police searched the remainder of the hotel at that time.Screenshot/GoFundMe
According to CBS DFW, on Wednesday, officials responded to reports of a possible body in the hotel basement but have not found “any trace” of Renick.
In an interview with KJRH, her sister said:
“If she’s not here, if she’s no longer with us, that the world has lost a huge ray of sunshine.”
Friends have set up a GoFundMe page to help Renick’s family launch their own rescue efforts. In a statement to KJRH, her family said:
We are so grateful to the good Samaritans who have reached out to our family with information about Jill. However, it has now been more than 72 hours of uncertainty. We need to find Jill. We know she is somewhere in the Omni Houston Hotel. Her dog was found in her hotel room, and Jill never would have left the property without her. Her car was also found in the Omni Hotel parking garage. Our family has been in daily communication with the Omni Houston Hotel, yet no one is giving us any answers.
“Please don’t stop looking for my sister,” the statement continued. “She needs to be found.”