The 12-year-old girl who was killed after a snow tunnel collapsed on her outside an Illinois church was the pastor’s daughter. Esther Jung was in cardiac arrest when police arrived on the scene Sunday, while another young girl was suffering from severe hypothermia.
“She cried out, ‘Help me. Help me,’ but nobody heard it,” said Jung’s great uncle, Jae, according to ABC-7.
Esther’s father confirmed that he is the pastor of the Rothem Church outside which the tragedy occurred. Esther was the youngest of three siblings and was described by the family as a “smart, strong and beautiful girl” who dreamed of becoming a vet.
“It’s just so sad,” said neighbor Peg Gradl. “It’s something she loved to do, and she did regularly, so she was probably confident in her skills. Two little girls just having fun in the snow. It’s so normal, but it’s a danger we don’t often think of.”
How did the accident unfold?
A weekend snowstorm had dumped several inches of snow on the Chicago area, and on Sunday, the two girls decided to go outside the church to have some fun in the fresh powder.
Just an hour later, concerned parents went outside to look for them, at which point they discovered the girls buried beneath the snow. According to WLS-TV, Arlington police determined that the incident was an accident and did not suspect any foul play.
“This appears to be a tragic accident,” the department said in a statement, as reported by the Chicago Sun-Times.
As for the 9-year-old girl who was also involved in the accident, she is expected to be out of the hospital very soon.
“The 9-year-old is expected to make a full recovery,” Arlington Heights police Sgt. Charles Buczynski told the New York Post. “She is expected to be fine. She doesn’t have any other injuries.”
Do continue to pray for the family at this devastating time.