Kenneka Jenkins Hotel Freezer Death Ruled An Accident By Coroner

The coroner's office blames hypothermia, alcohol and a prescription drug that she was never prescribed. 

The death of Kenneka Jenkins has been ruled an accident. The 19-year-old was found dead in a hotel’s industrial walk-in freezer in Rosemont, Illinois last month. Jenkins was attending a party on the ninth floor of the hotel with friends a day and a half before her body was found.

The medical examiner's office said her death was due to hypothermia, "cold exposure in a walk-in freezer."  "Ethanol and topiramate intoxication” contributed to her tragic death, the findings concluded. Topiramate is medication used for epilepsy and migraine treatment. According to CNN, an autopsy found stomach lesions consistent with hypothermia.

"There was no other evidence of external or internal trauma," the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office stated.

Toxicology results revealed that the topiramate in the teen’s system matched normal prescription levels. However, she was never prescribed the drug. Test results also showed that Jenkins had a high level of alcohol in her system. That combined with the topiramate could have made her disoriented, according to the medical examiner’s office.

"When combined, the effect of either or both drugs is enhanced. Topiramate, like alcohol, can cause dizziness, impaired memory, impaired concentration, poor coordination, confusion and impaired judgment. Central nervous system depression, or impairment, combined with cold exposure can hasten the onset of hypothermia and death," a release from the medical office said. They concluded that her death was caused by "hypothermia due to cold exposure in a walk-in freezer. Alcohol and topiramate intoxication are significant contributing factors. The manner of death is: Accident."

Jenkins’ death originally sparked speculation of foul play. Numerous protests were held outside the hotel following her mysterious death. Her mother Tereasa Martin initially told  WGNTV, "I believe someone in this hotel killed my child.” Surveillance footage from the hotel and Facebook Live videos of the party fueled conspiracy theories of her death online.

[Photo: Rosemont Police Department]

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