A 19-year-old Chicago woman named Kenneka Jenkins was found dead inside a hotel freezer on Sept. 10, leaving her family shaken and heartbroken. Here’s everything we know about the tragedy.
1. Kenneka Jenkins attended a hotel party on Sept. 8. At around 11:30 p.m. on Sept. 8, Kenneka Jenkins left her home to attend a party at the Crowne Plaza hotel in Rosemont, according to her mother, Tereasa Martin. The 19-year-old’s family last heard from her at 1:30 a.m. on Sept. 9, when she texted her sister. Around 4:00 a.m., Tereasa received a call from Kenneka’s friends, telling her they could not find the teenager and that they had Kenneka’s cellphone, which she left in the hotel room and they went back to retrieve (when the friends came back to the hallway where Kenneka was waiting for them, she was gone, they claim). A missing person’s report was approved by authorities by 1:15 p.m the next day, and the search for Kenneka began.
2. Her body was not found for more than 24 hours. It took until 10:00 p.m on Sept. 9 for police to locate Kenneka in hotel surveillance footage, after her mother, Tereasa, begged them to take a second look at what was on the cameras. Police told Tereasa that Kenneka appeared on the tape around 3:20 a.m., and appeared to be “staggering drunk” near the front desk. Around 1:00 a.m. on Sept. 10, Tereasa was informed that the 19-year-old’s body was discovered in the hotel’s walk-in freezer. Sadly, Kenneka was found to be “beyond resuscitation,” and was pronounced dead at the scene.
3. Her mother is not happy with how the situation was handled. Tereasa Martin is incredibly upset with how the hotel handled her daughter’s death — the employees refused to view the surveillance footage until an official missing persons report was filed by the police, which took hours. “If they had taken me serious and checked right away, they could have found my daughter much sooner and she might have been alive,” Tereasa argued.
In response, the hotel released this statement: “Anyone can understand how a parent can feel distraught over the loss of a child and feel the need to lash out due to the tremendous pain they’re feeling, and we can certainly understand that. But people can rest assured Rosemont is one of the top, highest trained, most respected police departments in Illinois and does a good job at what they do. Every situation has a lot of variables, and this one certainly did.”
— 🖇 (@justLASHAY_) September 11, 2017
4. Tereasa is convinced there’s much more to this story. With the details surrounding the night of Kenneka’s disappearance and death being so hazy, Tereasa also feels there is a lot that police still do not know. She is, first of all, skeptical about what she’s been told by Kenneka’s friends because, as she said, “their stories changed over and over.” Plus, she’s not convinced her daughter would’ve been able to get into that walk-in freezer on her own, especially if she was intoxicated. “Those were double steel doors,” she argued. “She didn’t just pop them open.” Plus, Tereasa explained that there was construction being done in the vicinity where Kenneka was found: “This is not an area where anyone would typically be who was a guest in the hotel,” she said. However, it’s unclear whether this construction meant the area was blocked or roped off.
5. Kenneka’s cause of death is still unclear. 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 Kenneka’s family and loved ones in the comments section below.