It’s been over a year since the horrifying death of Kenneka Jenkins. The 19-year-old was found dead in the walk-in freezer of The Crowne Plaza Chicago-O’Hare hotel. Kenneka’s mother, Teresa Martin, is now suing the hotel for negligence in the amount of $50 million according to TMZ. Teresa claims the company and its staff could have prevented Kenneka’s death, which still remains somewhat a mystery.
TMZ is reporting that documents claim the hotel knew of Kenneka’s disappearance from a party in one of the rooms. Crowne Plaza staff said they would check surveillance and try to track Kenneka after she left the party, but Teresa is saying that’s not what happened.
Teresa believes the staff didn’t watch the surveillance cameras at all or didn’t pay close enough attention because Kenneka can obviously be seen stumbling into the hotel’s kitchen. The distraught mother also said Kenneka walked by several staff members who didn’t help her in her frazzled state. Teresa also said it was too easy for anyone to access the kitchen and the freezers, which she also believes, had a very faded sticker detailing instructions on how to exit the room.
The lawsuit also alleges that the party in the hotel should have been shut down by staff because the room was overpopulated when it was only meant for four people, the smoke detector was disabled, and a strong scent of “intoxicants” was coming from the room.
The 19-year-old was missing for almost 24 hours before she was found dead. Disturbing images were later released of Kenneka in the freezer, which terrified the nation. Her death was eventually ruled accidental, and her official cause of death was hypothermia. While foul play was always suspected, nothing ever came of it then, or now a year later. The case is now closed.
Teresa is seeking $50 million from The Crowne Plaza, who appears willing to fight the lawsuit.
In a statement released to the Chicago Tribune, the hotel made their stance very clear.
“The death of Kenneka Jenkins was a tragedy, but the proximate cause of her death were the unsavory individuals who used a stolen credit card to book a room and host an illegal party which Ms. Jenkins attended. Those criminals escaped the hotel before police arrived and have never truly been held accountable. This lawsuit has no merit and we will vigorously contest it,” the statement read.
No one was arrested in connection to Kenneka’s death and the criminals the hotel spoke of in their statement have never come forward to address the mysterious situation.