A spa manager at an exclusive hotel in Houston who went missing during Tropical Storm Harvey has been found nearly two weeks later, with authorities revealing that her body was discovered in a flooded elevator from which she had frantically sought rescue.
48-year-old Jill Renick was last heard from on August 27, when she is believed to have called a coworker for help after becoming trapped in the luxury hotel’s service elevator, the Houston Chronicle reported. She had planned to ride out the storm in a fourth-floor room alongside her dog so that she could volunteer once the storm passed.
After receiving the phone call, Renick’s coworker and other Omni employees immediately began looking for her, but rising floodwaters and a lack of power rendered them unable to raise the elevators. Subsequent searches carried out by the Houston Police Department Dive Team and the Houston Fire Department turned up empty.
The victim’s family confirmed Renick’s death on Thursday, when her body was found in the ceiling of the basement near the service elevators.
“It is with heavy hearts that the search for my sister, Jill Renick, has concluded with the confirmation of her death,” said Renick’s 62-year-old sister, Pam Eslinger, in a statement. “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.”
Her dog was found in Renick’s fourth-floor hotel room and her car was parked in the parking lot.
Renick’s cause of death is yet to be determined. She becomes one of more than 70 people who died as a result of Harvey, which devastated the Texas Gulf Coast with catastrophic winds and torrential rainfall.