Surveillance reportedly shows Kenneka Jenkins letting herself into the walk-in freezer where she died.
Activist Andrew Holmes posted a video detailing the contents of surveillance footage members of the Chicago Police Department showed him.
“She got off the elevator. I can see where she was staggering,” Holmes said. “She walked back there, and as she went inside that door, she opened up. It’s just like a big steel door. It don’t take much to open it. You open up that door. You take one-half a step, to your right is another door to another freezer part. She had to open up that door to go inside of there. Mainly tryna find her way back to the lobby. She was impaired. We don’t know what’s in the toxicology. The door closed and the other door closed. It’s dark in the freezer room, so she probably got scared. Tried to find her way to push that door out. But there was a safety knob you can touch and the door will open.”
The Crowne Plaza Hotel offered to cover Jenkins’ funeral costs.
“Our hearts go out to the Kenneka’s mother, her family and friends. We hope covering the funeral costs provides a small bit of relief for them,” hotel spokesman Glenn Harston said in the statement.
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.
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.