HOUSTON - As Hurricane Harvey roared toward the Texas Coast, Omni Hotel employee Jill Renick volunteered to work through the weekend to help guests before, during and after the storm.
The spa services director packed a bag, loaded up her dog and went to work at the hotel near Woodway and the South Loop.
Nearby, the Buffalo Bayou was slowly creeping out of its banks as the relentless rainfall continued.
Sometime early Sunday morning, Renick entered an elevator in the hotel basement and became trapped.
Her sister told CBS DFW that Renick called the front desk for help.
“Saying ‘I’m in an elevator. The water is rushing in. Please help me,’ ” Pam Eslinger said.
Omni employees immediately began looking for her. However, due to rising flood waters and loss of power, they were unable to raise the elevator.
After learning she was missing, frantic relatives called shelters, hospitals and law enforcement looking for answers.
HPD said several attempts were made by their dive team and the Houston Fire Department to locate Renick.
On Thursday, her body was found in the basement near some elevators.
Renick's sister, Pam Eslinger of Frisco, released the following statement:
“It is with heavy hearts that the search for my sister, Jill Renick, has concluded with the confirmation of her death. We are heartbroken. To know Jill is to have loved her. She could light up a room just by walking in and adored life. She was loved by so many people and we will feel the impact of her absence in our hearts forever.”
Twenty feet of water eventually flooded the first floor of the Omni. Hotel managers issued the following statement Thursday.
"We are very sad to report that a body has been found in the hotel. Authorities are on site and we are offering any assistance we can. While it has not been confirmed, we presume it is our beloved associate, Jill Renick. We are heartbroken and shaken by this development. 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. This is a difficult time for us all. We ask that you please respect everyone’s privacy as we deal with our tragic loss."
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