Former Tulsa resident Jill Renick missing after Houston hotel evacuation

Posted at 3:44 PM, Aug 30, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-31 22:04:54-04

HOUSTON -- A former Tulsa resident who lives in Houston is still missing after evacuations in the city due to Harvey.

48-year-old Jill Renick was in Tulsa just last month for her 30-year Memorial High School reunion. 

Now, her family and friends willing to give everything to have her back. 

“I’m barely holding it together. I don’t know where she is, I don’t know if she’s safe, I don’t know if she’s hurt," said Jill's niece in Bartlesville, Lela Patton. 

The Houston waters were relentless.

“I’ve been texting her because I need her to know that if she is somewhere and she is OK I want her to keep fighting and stay strong, and not give up.”

As the Tulsa native family's searches for answers after a terrifying phone call on Sunday. 

“When they started talking I thought maybe she’d been injured or something like that and they were letting me know she was in the hospital, or whatever. But when they said we fear the worst, my reaction was what do you mean?" said Jill's sister in Dalls Pam Eslinger.

She said Jill was the Spa Director at the Omni, and volunteered to stay the weekend to care for guests who couldn't make it home. 

Inches of rain turned to feet outside of the Omni on Saturday. 

“She was in an elevator, she did make a phone call to an employee there at the Omni saying she was in an elevator and the water was rushing in, and that’s the last anyone heard from her."

Her family panicked.

“I don’t know what to pray anymore, I want her to be ok," said Patton.

Considering what the water reaching the hotel garage's six feet clearance is capable of. 

“And then it started to sink in that they think she might not be alive," her sister said. 

The thought of losing their kind, giving sister, unbearable. 

“If she’s not here, if she’s no longer with us, that the world has lost a huge ray of sunshine.”

Her niece pleading with officials. 

“Don’t give up on her yet.” 

Praying they'll see her vibrant smile again. 

“And I want her to know that we need her to be ok.  I need her to be ok.”

Her dog was found in her hotel room, and her vehicle still sits in the hotel's parking garage. Family members believed she could be stuck in an elevator at the hotel, but she was not found there, officials said.

Her family sent 2 Works for You this statement: 

"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. She needs to be found."

The Omni Hotel made this statement to our sister station KPRC in Houston. 

"We have notified law enforcement and emergency responders and are cooperating fully to help locate the missing person. We pray our associate will be located safe and unharmed. In the meantime, our thoughts and prayers go out to our associate's family during this difficult time."

An estimated 100 guests and employees evacuated the Omni.

The hotel said the search resumed Monday, but she is still missing as of Thursday.

Renick graduated from Memorial High School in Tulsa in 1987.

A GoFundMe account has been created to aid in the search for the woman.

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