19 Year Old Kenneka Jenkins Found In Hotel Freezer, Killed by Friends
Kenneka Jenkins was last seen early Saturday morning while attending a party on the ninth floor of the Crowne Plaza hotel. She was reported missing hours later around 1:15 p.m. Saturday before ultimately being discovered, ABC 7 Chicago reports. Hotel employees found the body of a missing 19-year-old Chicago woman Sunday inside a suburban hotel’s freezer. The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office says Kenneka Jenkins was pronounced dead at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in the Chicago suburb of Rosemont.
It says her cause of death is not yet confirmed although an autopsy has been completed. Rosemont police say hotel staff discovered Jenkins inside the walk-in freezer. They say she was last seen at a party at the hotel early Saturday morning. She was reported missing Saturday afternoon.
The woman’s mother, Tereasa Martin, told the Chicago Tribune that police told her Jenkins apparently let herself into the freezer while drunk. Police told her family that Jenkins was intoxicated and walked into the freezer, however, her family does not believe that is the whole story, suspecting foul play, the report notes.
Martin said that if her daughter was drunk, she would have had difficulty opening the heavy freezer doors and would’ve realized she wasn’t entering an elevator or the hotel entrance.
“It’s something that no one could ever imagine. It’s unbelievable,” Jenkins’ mother, Teresa Martin, told the news station. “I believe that someone in this hotel killed my child.”
To make matters worse, the friends said they were in the car that Martin had loaned her daughter for the night and that they had Jenkins’ cellphone, Martin said. The same friends said they were getting ready to leave the party when they realized the teen had left her phone and keys back in the room, and so they went to get her stuff while Jenkins remained in the hallway. They said that when they returned, Jenkins was gone.
After about 11 hours, Jenkins’ body was discovered in the freezer, with police saying that she was beyond resuscitation and they pronounced her dead at the scene, ABC 7 notes. “If they had taken me seriously and checked right away, they could have found my daughter much sooner and she might have been alive,” Martin said. Martin is also not ready to believe police accounts of what happened, wondering how her daughter could have gotten the heavy freezer doorsopen on her own if she were drunk.
“Those were double steel doors; she didn’t just pop them open,” she said. The Crowne Plaza hotel released a statement about Jenkins’ death, saying in part: “The Crowne Plaza Chicago O’Hare Hotel and Conference Center holds the safety, security and well-being of our guests and employees as our top priority and concern. We are saddened by this news, and our thoughts are with the young woman and her family during this difficult time. The hotel staff will continue to cooperate fully with local authorities. All further questions should be directed to the Rosemont Police Department.”
The family says the hotel claimed to have video footage of Jenkins walking down a hallway in the hotel before her death, but that the video offers very little information as to what may have actually caused the teen’s death. A medical examiner has yet to release any possible information about the cause of death in the case.
A GoFundMe page has been set up by Ms Martin “to get justice for my baby girl”.
All funds raised will go towards funeral costs and help with the investigation, she wrote. The hotel issued a statement about the incident and directed any further questions to police: “We are saddened by this news, and our thoughts are with the young woman and her family during this difficult time. “The hotel staff will continue to co-operate fully with local authorities. All further questions should be directed to the Rosamont Police Department.”