The girl and her friend, another girl aged 9, had dug a tunnel through a large snow bank created by plows. The snow collapsed on the girls while their families were attending a church service. Their families began looking for the girls about an hour after they went outside to play. Rescue crews responded to the scene at 2:41 p.m., and the girls were taken to Northwest Community Hospital in Arlington Heights. Esther was pronounced dead.
The girl who died was the youngest of three children of the pastor. The 9-year-old was treated for hypothermia at a local hospital and expected to survive. Police say it’s unclear how long the girls were trapped. The temperature at the time was about 14 degrees. Arlington Heights police are calling the death a “tragic accident.” Esther was described as an energetic and smart student. She was a sixth grader at Collins Elementary School in Schaumburg.