12-year-old Illinois girl killed after snow fort collapse outside church identified

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. -- Authorities have released the identity of a 12-year-old girl who died after a snow fort collapsed on her in Arlington Heights Sunday..

The girl has been identified to the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office as Esther Jung of Elk Grove Village.

Investigators said Esther and a 9-year-old girl dug the fort Sunday in a snowbank near Rothem Church while their parents were at services inside the church. The adults found the collapsed fort about an hour later and called for help.

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Esther Jung was in cardiac arrest when she was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead. Her friend is being treated for hypothermia.

Esther's father said he is the pastor of the Rothem Church where they were playing. Family members said Esther was the youngest of three. They described her as a smart, strong and beautiful 6th grade girl who had dreams of being a veterinarian.

Jae Kim, the 9-year-old's great uncle, said she was not completely buried and tried to yell out for help.

"She cried out, 'Help me. Help me,' but nobody heard it," he said.

Arlington police called the incident an accident and did not suspect foul play.
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