Chicago Teen Found Dead in Rosemont Hotel Freezer

on Sep11

11 September 2017 | 3:39 am

A 19-year-old Chicago woman was found dead in a freezer at a hotel in suburban Rosemont early Sunday, hours after she was reported missing, according to police.

Kenneka Jenkins was pronounced dead at 12:48 a.m. at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, located at 5440 N. River Rd., according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office.

“Hurt, pain, suffering,” her mother Teresa Martin said. 

Jenkins, of the 2100 block of West Warren Boulevard, was last seen leaving her home on Chicago’s West Side at around 11:30 p.m. Friday night to got to a party at the hotel. 

Jenkins’ sister said the two last spoke via text message around 1:30 a.m. early Saturday, according to police. 

Martin was told that her daughter was missing around 4:30 a.m. Saturday morning, and said that the family went to the hotel several times trying to look for her. The family also called police trying to get help, according to Martin. 

“These are all precious hours, especially when I went, between 4 and 5 ish,” she said. “Within that time, maybe we could have saved my child’s life.” 

After she was reported missing, Crowne Plaza Hotel staff and management canvassed and searched the area, authorities said. Investigators allowed Jenkins’ sister to look at surveillance video, which showed her entering, but never leaving, the hotel. 

“‘We do see your daughter again on this camera,'” police told Martin. “She can barely hold herself up (in the video). She’s like holding onto the rail, walking along the wall.” 

After searching for her in the hotel, staff finally located her in an unused freezer on Sunday morning. She was “beyond resuscitation,” officials said, and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Investigators told the family it’s believed that the 19-year-old stumbled into an employee lounge and got into an unused freezer. It’s unclear whether she tried to get out, but her family has their doubts. 

What is most upsetting to the family is that they tried to find her just a few hours after she disappeared, but were unable to until it was too late. 

“If it weren’t for us studying, pushing to find out what happened, my sister’s life would still be in that freezer right now,” her sister Leonore Harris said. 

An autopsy was scheduled to be conducted Sunday, according to the medical examiner’s office, and an investigation into Jenkins’ death remained ongoing.

“I had all the hope in the world that she would just come back,” Harris said. “Maybe there was something wrong, but I asked God, not death. He let me down. He let me down.” 

Rosemont detectives are still working on the timeline of what led up to Jenkins’ death. Police have not said whether they have ruled out foul play in the case. 

Published at 3:23 PM CDT on Sep 10, 2017 | Updated at 10:39 PM CDT on Sep 10, 2017

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