A lot of questions remain after a 19-year-old girl was found dead in a walk-in freezer at a hotel in Chicago.
The family of Kenneka Jenkins spent 11 hours searching for the teen girl before she was found in a walk-in freezer at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in the Chicago suburb of Rosement. Jenkins was last seen at a party at the hotel early Saturday morning before she apparently let herself in the freezer.
The Cook County medical examiner’s office performed an autopsy Sunday, but it wasn’t clear if foul play was involved, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Jenkins’ mother Tereasa Martin told the Tribune her daughter left home Friday around 11:30 p.m. to attend a party with friends in a hotel room at the Crowne Plaza Chicago O’Hare Hotel & Conference Center in Rosemont.
Martin said her daughter’s friends notified her of Kenneka’s disappearance after calling her after 4 a.m. Saturday, saying they lost track of her in the hotel. The friends were in possession of Kenneka’s car and cellphone.
Footage of the hotel party surfaced online.
Martin met with hotel staff around 5 a.m. in an effort to find her daughter. The hotel staff wouldn’t allow her to review surveillance footage, saying she would need to file a missing persons report from the police before they could start.
Martin’s search for her daughter was again delayed after Rosemont Police Department told her to wait a few hours before filing the report to see if Jenkins turns up. The search for the girl didn’t begin until 1:15 p.m. Saturday. Police reviewed hotel footage around 3 or 4 p.m., but didn’t see Kenneka in video.
The family left, but continued their search around 6 p.m. Saturday, and began knocking on the doors of guests to ask if they seen her daughter earlier that morning. The hotel called the police on the frantic family for disturbing the peace.
One of the responding officers was understanding of the family’s dilemma, and agreed to view video surveillance footage again. Police notified family around 10 p.m. they had spotted her on video from about 3:20 a.m. “staggering” drunk near the front desk.
At 1 a.m. Sunday, police found Kenneka’s body in the walk-in freezer.
Martin was upset with the lack of urgency from the Crowne Plaza Hotel and Rosemont Police Department.
“If they had taken me seriously and checked right away, they could have found my daughter much sooner and she might have been alive,” Martin told the Tribune.