Girl, 12, dies after snow fort collapses in suburbs, police say

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Illinois (Sun Times Media Wire) - A girl died and another was injured Sunday afternoon when a makeshift snow fort collapsed on top of them in northwest suburban Arlington Heights, police said.

Esther Jung, 12, and another girl, 9, were attending services with their families at Rothem Church at 106 E. College Dr. when the girls went outside at 2:40 p.m. to play in a nearby snowbank, according to Arlington Heights police and the Cook County medical examiner's office.

A makeshift fort the girls had built then collapsed on top of them, police said. The families of the girls began looking for them about an hour later and found them under the snow, Arlington Heights Police Sergeant Charles Buczynski said. It was unknown how long the girls were trapped.

The girls were taken to Northwest Community Hospital, where Jung was pronounced dead at 4:30 p.m., police and the medical examiner's office said. She lived in Elk Grove Village.

An autopsy Monday found she died of asphyxia and hypothermia caused by entrapment in the snowbank, according to the medical examiner's office. Her death was ruled an accident.

The 9-year-old was treated for hypothermia and was held for observation, police said. She was expected to survive, Buczynski said.

"This appears to be a tragic accident," the department said in a statement.

Police said they did not suspect foul play.