HOUSTON (CBSDFW.COM) – Police in Houston are searching for a North Texas native who was last seen shortly after heavy rains flooded the city three days ago.
Jill Renick, 48, was inside the Omni Hotel helping her fellow employees evacuate as the rain pounded down near Memorial Park in West Houston. She had checked into the hotel with her dog on Saturday before the city flooded.
“She couldn’t walk away. The place was flooded. At final point there, it was 20 feet underwater in the lobby,” said Pam Eslinger, Renick’s sister.
Eslinger has not heard from her sister since Harvey began to flood Houston on Sunday. Renick is from Dallas but had moved to Houston to work as director of Spa Services for the Omni Houston Hotel. Eslinger believes the last conversation her sister had was a frantic phone call to another employee.
“Saying ‘I’m in an elevator. The water is rushing in. Please help me,’ ” said Eslinger. “Don’t know if she got out. My thought is that she probably didn’t.”
Crews spent Wednesday pumping water from the Omni Hotel. Police said they are investigating a report of a body in the basement but have yet to find any trace of Renick.
“Of course I’m hoping she’s still alive. I’m hoping that we find her soon,” said Eslinger. “But as every minute ticks by, I’m still trying to keep the faith. I just want her back.”
Eslinger is frustrated after three days of no answers.
“You know, we’ve called shelters. We’ve called hospitals. We’ve called everywhere. No luck,” said Eslinger. “I know its chaotic down there right now. But when you think that somebody is here. Look here.”
Eslinger said her family just wants Renick back and to know what happened.
“Honestly if she’s not here anymore there’s a huge bright light that’s gone from this world,” said Eslinger.
The flooding was so severe at the Houston Omni, a hotel staffer said they will not be open until late October.
A spokesperson released the following statement on Wednesday:
“We regret to confirm that amid rapidly rising flood waters at the Omni Houston Hotel near the Galleria, our associate Jill Renick went missing and remains unaccounted for. When we determined Jill was missing, we immediately contacted emergency responders to request assistance in locating her. We also launched our own search of areas of the property we could still safely access despite the rising flood waters. The Houston Police Department is now handling the search efforts at the property. Our thoughts and prayers go out to our associate’s family during this difficult time.”