A 19-year-old woman was found dead inside a freezer at a hotel in Rosemont hours after she was reported missing, according to the police.
As reported by NBC Chicago, Kenneka Jenkins was last seen leaving her home on Chicago’s West Side at 11:30 p.m. on Friday to attend a party at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. Kenneka Jenkins’ mother, Teresa Martin, said her daughter told her she was “going to the show and bowling” on Friday. According to police, she was last seen on the ninth floor of the hotel texting her sister at 1:30 a.m. early Saturday morning.
Martin said that Kenneka’s friends informed her that her daughter was missing after 4 a.m. Calling from the car Martin had lent her daughter for the night, Jenkins’ friends told the mother they left her daughter after failing to find her.
“Hurt, pain, suffering,” mother Teresa Martin said.
The family then tried to look for Jenkins in the hotel several times. Unable to find her, they called the police. The Rosemond Police Department, however, told her to wait a few hours before filing a missing persons report to see if Jenkins would turn up.
“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 Jenkins was reported missing, the Crowne Hotel staff and management searched the building to find her. After searching surveillance records, they found footage of Jenkins entering the hotel. No footage of her leaving the hotel was found.
Around 10 p.m. Saturday, police told Jenkins’ family they had spotted footage of her “staggering drunk” near the front desk. The time stamp on the video reportedly indicated 3:20 a.m.
After an extensive search of the hotel premises, hotel staff finally found Kenneka Jenkins’ body inside an unused freezer on Sunday after 1:30 a.m. Officials said she was “beyond resuscitation” and pronounced her dead at the scene.
After an investigation, officers believe that Jenkins entered the employee lounge while drunk and somehow got herself inside an unused freezer. The freezer was running and cold but it wasn’t being used to store food, according to police.
“I just happen to know there’s work being done on some new facilities over there, so there is some construction activity where a new restaurant is being built, and (she was found) in that vicinity,” said Gary Mack, a spokesman for the village of Rosemont, as reported by Chicago Tribune. “This is not an area where anyone would typically be who was a guest in the hotel.”
Martin questioned the police’s claims, insisting that if her daughter was drunk she would have struggled to open the doors and would have realized she was not entering an elevator or the hotel’s entrance.
“Those were double steel doors, she didn’t just pop them open,” she said.
Police officials are still unclear on whether there was foul play involved in Kenneka Jenkins’ death.
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