Kenneka Jenkins’s mother spoke on The Dr. Oz Show on Tuesday about her suspicions of a cover-up in the death of her daughter, who was found in an Illinois hotel freezer on Sept. 10, The Chicago Tribune reported.
Tereasa Martin, Jenkins’s mother, claimed that hotel staff refused to show them video surveillance from the incident, and that police intended to arrest her while she was searching the hotel.
Jenkins, 19, was found dead in a Crowne Plaza Chicago O’Hare Hotel freezer after going missing about 20 hours earlier from a party.
A medical examiner and Rosemont police said that her death was apparently accidental, after alcohol mixed with a prescription medication resulted in Jenkins stumbling through the hotel and locking herself in the freezer, where she froze to death.
And surveillance video shows Jenkins staggering through the hotel and hotel kitchen before apparently entering the freezer.
But Martin and Mehmet Oz expressed doubt about the official story, in particular saying that a post-mortem photograph of Jenkins as she was found by police raised “more questions than answers.”
In the photograph, Jenkins has her shirt partially up, exposing her breasts, and her pants are low, with one of her shoes removed. Oz said that this might be due to paradoxical undressing, in which victims of hypothermia suddenly feel hot and begin to take off their clothes.
“More than likely it’s not what happened, but it’s a possibility,” Oz said.
The autopsy report also showed that a prescription drug used for seizures and migraines was in Jenkins’s system that she had not been prescribed, according to Jenkins’s mother.
The drug likely contributed to Jenkins’s intoxication, since her blood alcohol level was 0.112, just slightly above the legal limit. Her mother wondered if someone had slipped the pill into Jenkins’s drink.
Jenkins’s family and friends searched the hotel for the missing teen, and at one point pulled a fire alarm, hoping to talk to hotel guests coming out of their rooms about whether they had seen Jenkins. Hotel staff called police.
“They came to arrest us,” said Jenkins’s sister Leonore Harris, though no arrests were made.
“I’m angry. I’m hurt also,” Martin added.
“There was no blockbuster information or proof from Nancy Grace or Dr. Oz,” said a statement from the Crowne Plaza hotel after the television special. “Just more speculation and sensational theories.”
“There has been little discussion of accountability for the parties who are truly responsible here: individuals who used a stolen credit card to book a hotel room,” the statement said. “Those individuals then held a party where they were serving alcohol to an underage minor and perhaps dangerous drugs.”
“What happened to Kenneka was a tragic and unforeseeable accident, which was enabled by the irresponsible actions of the people at a party she attended who then deserted her while she was in a severely impaired condition,” the statement added. “Discussion of holding these people accountable would be an appropriate use of the time of TV investigators, litigators and activists.”
[Image of Martin: Getty]