Tereasa Martin was left devastated after her daughter, Kenneka Jenkins’, dead body was found in a hotel freezer on Sept. 10. Now, she’s speaking out about why she’s very unhappy with how police handled Kenneka’s disappearance.
Kenneka Jenkins, 19, went to a party at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Rosemont, Illinois at 11:30 p.m. on Sept. 8. At 4:00 a.m. on Sept. 9, Kenneka’s mother, Tereasa Martin, received a call from the 19-year-old’s friends, explaining that they did not know her whereabouts. The friends told police that they were leaving the party with Kenneka when they realized the teen forgot her cellphone, so they went back to get it, leaving Kenneka alone in the hallway. When they returned, she was gone. Tereasa says she raced to the hotel and arrived by 5:00 a.m., but was told that hotel staff could not review any surveillance footage without a missing persons report from the police.
Naturally, she called the Rosemont police immediately, but they told her to wait a few hours before filing the report, just in case Kenneka showed up. Later that morning, Kenneka’s sister filed the report, but the search did not begin until 1:15 p.m. It wasn’t until 12 hours later that Tereasa was informed that her daughter’s dead body had been found in a walk-in freezer at the hotel. “If [police] had taken me seriously and checked right away, they could have found my daughter much sooner,” Tereasa tells The Chicago Tribune. “And she might have been alive.”
Police viewed the hotel’s surveillance footage around 3:00 or 4:00 in the afternoon, and initially told Tereasa they didn’t see Kenneka in any of the videos. After hours of begging, Tereasa finally got a responding officer to agree to take another look, and around 10:00 p.m., she was informed that cameras captured Kenneka appearing to be “staggering drunk” by the front desk at 3:20 a.m. At 1:00 a.m on Sept. 10, police told Tereasa that they had discovered Kenneka’s body in the freezer, but the 19-year-old was, tragically, beyond the point of resuscitation.
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The police told Tereasa that they believe Kenneka let herself into the freezer while intoxicated, then died inside. However, Tereasa is convinced that there is more to the story. “Those were double steel doors,” she explains. “She didn’t just pop them open.” Plus, Tereasa also says she’s a bit skeptical about what Kenneka’s friends have told police because “their stories changed over and over.” A spokesperson for the medical examiner’s office confirmed to HollywoodLife.com that an autopsy has been completed, but the “cause and manner of death is pending further studies.”
HollywoodLifers, leave your thoughts for Teresa and the rest of Keneeka’s loved ones in the comments section below.