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Crime News

Everything We Know So Far About 19-Year-Old Kenneka Jenkins, Who Was Found Dead In Hotel Freezer

A viral Facebook Live video is being investigated in connection to her death. 

By Gina Tron

The search for a missing teen ended Sunday when her body was discovered inside a walk-in freezer at a hotel. Nineteen-year-old Kenneka Jenkins was pronounced dead at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in the Chicago suburb of Rosemont, according to AzCentral.

Here’s everything we know so far:

1. She went missing early Saturday.

Her family last saw her on Friday evening before heading to the Crowne Plaza Chicago O’Hare Hotel & Conference Center in Rosemont, Illinois for a party on the ninth floor, AzCentral reports. Jenkins last spoke to her family at 1:30 am on Saturday, when she spoke to her older sister, Leonore Harris.

2. Her friends had her cell and car.

The Chicago Tribune reports that friends of Jenkins called her mother, Tereasa Martin, a little after 4:00 am saying they had lost Jenkins. They called Jenkins’ mother from Jenkins’ cell, which was in their possession. Also in their possession: Jenkins’ car. Martin had lent the vehicle to her daughter for the night.

3. Her mother rushed to the hotel.

When she learned that her daughter had gone missing, Martin drove to the hotel. She arrived at around 5:00 am to look for her teen daughter.

But, hotel staff stopped her, according to the Chicago Tribune. They told the distraught mother that police had to issue a missing person’s report before they could start looking for the teen. Martin then called police, who told her to wait a few hours.

4. She became a missing person Saturday afternoon.

Jenkins became a missing person at approximately 1:16 pm on Saturday, according to Rosemont police. Hotel staff then “actively canvassed and searched the immediate area,” cops said.

5. Eleven hours later, her body was found.

After an 11-hour search, and 24 minutes into Sunday, Jenkins was found in a freezer. She was “beyond resuscitation and was pronounced dead on the scene.” Martin stated that police told her they saw Jenkins on hotel surveillance footage at 3:20 am on Saturday “staggering” drunk by the hotel’s front desk.

“She was so drunk—that was his exact words—she was so drunk that she couldn’t hold herself up. She was holding onto the wall,” Martin told WGN.

6. Police allegedly said the death was probably an accident.

A medical examiner’s office carried out an autopsy on Sunday afternoon, but no cause of death has been identified as of this time. Police told Martin, according to her account, that Jenkins likely entered the freezer by herself while inebriated. Martin, and other family members, aren’t really buying that theory.

“The freezer door is heavy. So there’s no way. If they’re saying she’s drunk, she don’t have no strength. If she had enough strength to open that freezer door, she would have had enough strength to walk straight,” Harris, Jenkins’ sister, told WGN.

"I believe someone in this hotel killed my child," Martin told WGNTV.

7. The freezer was in a vacant part of the hotel.

The freezer where the teen’s body was found was located in a part of the hotel undergoing construction. As of now, it’s unclear if surveillance footage actually shows how Jenkins got into the freezer.

8. Videos posted on social media are being examined.

One Facebook video in particular has gone viral. It appears to show Jenkins sitting on a bed in a hotel room, surrounded by others. She is visible in the reflection of the sunglasses sported by the woman filming the video.

"Yes, they've [police] looked at it and continue to look at it and all the other social media videos and posts," Gary Mack, a spokesperson for the village of Rosemont, told the Tribune. Commenters allege they can hear someone screaming in the video and a woman yelling “help me.”

9. As of now, it’s not a criminal investigation.

It’s an unexplained death investigation. Police have not made any arrests. Authorities are currently investigating the death and are waiting on results of toxicology test.

10. People are calling for justice for Jenkins.

Jenkins’ death has sparked outrage and concern on social media. Many people feel connected to the victim and people are calling for justice for Jenkins. A lot of people have also been playing amateur detective, following potential clues in social media posts and videos, and coming up with theories on her tragic death.

[Photo: Facebook]