A Chicago teenager was found dead inside a hotel’s walk-in freezer after a night out with friends, police said after making the gruesome discovery. Now, the victim’s mother has come forward to call out the hotel and the police department for allegedly not telling the truth about what happened to her daughter.
19-year-old Kenneka Jenkins was found early Sunday morning inside an industrial freezer at the Crowne Plaza Hotel where she had partied on Friday night with her friends, WLS reported. She was last seen Saturday morning and reported missing at about 1:15 pm.
Police told the Jenkins family that the victim was intoxicated when she walked into the freezer and apparently could not find her way out, but her mother, Teresa Martin, believes that there were other factors that lead to her death.
“It’s something that no one could ever imagine,” Martin said. “It’s unbelievable.”
Jenkins was last seen leaving her home at 11:30 pm on Friday and texted her sister at 1:30 am on Saturday. When police received word that she was missing, they notified the hotel, who searched the premises before locating the victim inside a freezer.
“The Crowne Plaza Chicago O’Hare Hotel and Conference Center holds the safety, security and well-being of our guests and employees as our top priority and concern,” the hotel said in a statement. “We are saddened by this news, and our thoughts are with the young woman and her family during this difficult time. The hotel staff will continue to cooperate fully with local authorities.”
Martin went to the hotel around 5:00 am to try to track down her daughter but was turned away by hotel staff, who insisted that she needed a missing persons report before they could start reviewing surveillance footage, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Nearly twelve hours later, police performed a cursory review of the footage but did not see any sign of Jenkins. Martin and her relatives began knocking on doors of guests to ask if they had seen anything that evening, and when hotel staff called the police to complain, the responding officers agreed to review the footage again and found footage of Jenkins “staggering” near the front desk.
While it is not clear who found Jenkins’ body, Martin claims she was told that the freezer she was discovered in was turned on and cold but was not being used to store food at the time. It was also situated in an area that was under some construction at the time and was closed to the public.