A Family Searches For Answers After 19-Year-Old Girl Is Found Dead In Hotel Freezer After Going Missing At A Party

A Family Searches For Answers After 19-Year-Old Girl Is Found Dead In Hotel Freezer After Going Missing At A Party

And why Kenneka Jenkins's family suspects there was foul play.

Published September 11, 2017

A Chicago family was devastated after learning their 19-year-old was found dead in a hotel freezer after going missing during a party. 

Officials found Kenneka Jenkins inside a walk-in freezer at a Rosemont hotel Sunday morning, a day after her friends and family reported her missing from a party at the hotel, reported the Chicago Tribune.

After the initial examination, police told Jenkins's mother, Tereasa Martin, her daughter Kenneka walked into the freezer while she was intoxicated and died while she was inside. However, the cause of death remains undetermined and Kenneka’s parents suspect foul play, according to the police report.  

"[I'm] horrified," Tereasa told Chicago Tribune. "It's something that no one could ever imagine. It's unbelievable."

According to Martin and police, Jenkins left her house just before midnight on Friday night to go to a friend’s party at the Crowne Plaza Chicago O'Hare Hotel & Conference Center in Rosemont. Jenkins’s sister last communicated with her around 1:30 a.m. on Saturday, according to Gary Mack, a spokesman for the village of Rosemont.

Martin told police her daughter's friends called her after 4 a.m. Saturday when they were leaving the hotel and could not find Jenkins. The friends added they were in the vehicle Martin lent her daughter for the evening and they had her daughter’s cellphone.

On Saturday morning, Martin went to the hotel to find her daughter and was told by hotel staff that she would need to file a missing person’s report with police before they could review surveillance footage.

After Jenkins’s sister filed the report, an 11-hour search of the hotel was conducted by hotel staff and police viewed the hotel footage.

Around 10 p.m. Saturday, police told Jenkins's family they spotted her on a surveillance video around 3:20 a.m. The footage reportedly showed Jenkins was "staggering" drunk near the front desk, according to Martin.

Police found Jenkins’s body in the freezer after 1 a.m. on Sunday.

Jenkins’s friends told Martin they were getting ready to leave the party but realized Jenkins had left her phone and car keys back in the room. When the friends went back to the room to get her things, Jenkins stayed in the hallway. When the friends returned to Jenkins’s location, she was gone, friends told Martin.

However, Martin said the friends' "stories changed over and over."

Martin also said she had a hard time believing the police account that Jenkins got into the freezer on her own, saying if her daughter was drunk she would have had difficulty opening the heavy freezer doors.

Jenkins would have realized the freezer doors weren't the doors to an elevator or a hotel entrance, Martin said. "Those were double steel doors, she didn't just pop them open," Martin told the Chicago Tribune

Written by Rachel Herron

(Photo: ABC 7 Chicago Eyewitness News)

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