The last time anyone had heard from 19-year-old Kenneka Jenkins was at 1:30 am on September 9, 2017. Kenneka had borrowed her mother’s car in order to attend a party hosted at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, located in the Chicago suburb of Rosemont. The following day, her friends and family would learn that the teen was dead.
During that party, other partygoers say Kenneka had a little too much to drink. The teen’s friends report that the last they had seen her was when they briefly left her alone in the nineth floor hallway while they went back into the room to retrieve her keys and her cellphone. When her friends returned to the hallway Kenneka was missing.
A Facebook live video recorded at the party by a young woman wearing mirrored sunglasses has been of particular interest to authorities investigating the case. Police say they have used the video to help identify individuals who had also attended the party that night and are questioning them about the events that transpired in Kenneka’s final hours.
The Chicago Tribune reports that friends worried about Kenneka phoned the teen’s mother when they discovered she was missing. Those same friends then left in the car Kanneka had borrowed for the evening. Surveillance footage from the hotel later showed the woman stumbling near the front desk to the point that she had to lean against the wall in order to stand, the Chicago Sun Times reports. As little as 24-hours later Kenneka’s body was found in a walk-in freezer in a vacant area of the hotel undergoing renovations.
Theresa Martin, Kenneka’s mother, has lashed out at local police and hotel staff for not doing more to further along the investigation. Martin began her own investigation the minute she learned of Kenneka’s disappearance, repeatedly contacting police, hotel management, and even pounding on room doors until police asked her to stop.
Upon the discovery of Kenneka’s body, police told Martin that they believed the young lady had gone into the freezer herself while inebriated and ultimately died while inside. Martin believes that her daughter was met with foul play.
“It takes strength to open these doors,” Martin reportedly told local media. “So if she could barely hold herself up — she needed the wall to support her — how did she find strength to unlock both the double doors?”
So far, autopsy reports have come back inconclusive and it could be weeks or months before toxicology tests come back. Although police have stated that they believe the teen’s death had been the result of a tragic “freak accident,” until they complete their investigation they aren’t ruling anything out.