Cops: Teen Made Fatal Mistake by Entering Hotel Freezer

Chicago police say Kenneka Jenkins was intoxicated after party
By Linda Hervieux,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 11, 2017 10:38 AM CDT
Teen Missing From Party Found Dead in Hotel Freezer
A screen shot of Kenneka Jenkins from a WGN report on her death.   (YouTube)

The family of a young Chicago woman who was found dead inside a hotel freezer is questioning the police account of how she got there. Kenneka Jenkins, 19, was found dead on Sunday, one day after she had wandered away from a party in a room at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, the Chicago Tribune reports. Police told Jenkins' mother, Tereasa Martin, her daughter walked into the freezer while drunk, but a "horrified" Martin says she's not buying it. Martin says she doubted her daughter, if impaired, could have opened the freezer's double steel doors. "She didn't just pop them open," Martin says. Jenkin's sister adds, per ABC7, that the police theory doesn't "add up." Jenkins' family rushed to the hotel near O'Hare Airport at 5am Saturday, after Martin got a call from her daughter's friends saying she had gone missing.

The family's last contact with Jenkins was a text message she sent her sister at 1:30am, per the Tribune. Hotel staff rebuffed the family's initial pleas to review security camera footage, saying they needed a missing persons report from police. It took Martin several hours to get one after police told her to wait in case Jenkins came home. A search of the hotel didn't begin until after 1pm on Saturday. An initial review of surveillance video didn't turn up images of Jenkins, but Martin says a second look after the family complained turned up pictures of her daughter "staggering" near the front desk. Jenkins was finally found in a walk-in freezer at 12:48am on Sunday, in an area of the hotel undergoing renovation. "It's something that no one could ever imagine," says Martin. "It's unbelievable." (More missing persons stories.)

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