A 19-year-old woman, who went missing after attending a party with her friends, was found dead inside of a hotel freezer on Sunday.
Kenneka Jenkins was pronounced dead at 12:48 a.m. on Sunday after a hours-long search led to authorities discovering her body inside of a walk-in freezer at the Rosemont Hotel.
Police told Kenneka's mother, Teresa Martin, she was apparently drunk and led herself inside of the freezer where she died. An autopsy performed on Sunday was unable to determine if foul play was suspected.
Via The Chicago Tribune:
According to Martin and police, Jenkins left her house in the 2100 block of West Warren Boulevard around 11:30 p.m. Friday to attend a party with friends in a hotel room at the Crowne Plaza Chicago O'Hare Hotel & Conference Center in Rosemont. Gary Mack, a spokesman for the village of Rosemont, said Jenkins' sister last spoke to her around 1:30 a.m. Saturday.
Mack said witnesses told police they saw Jenkins at a party on the ninth floor of the hotel.
Martin said her daughter's friends called her after 4 a.m. Saturday to say they had lost track of Jenkins in the hotel and left after they were unable to find her. The friends said they were in the car Martin had lent her daughter for the night and they had Jenkins' cellphone, Martin said.
Martin said she headed to the hotel around 5 a.m. Saturday to try to find her daughter. Hotel staff told her they needed a missing persons report from police before they could start reviewing surveillance video of the premises.
Martin said she then called the Rosemont Police Department and was told to wait a few hours before filing the report to see if Jenkins turned up.
Kenneka Jenkins' older sister, Leonore Harris, filed a missing persons report with Rosemont police later that morning, Mack said.
Authorities notified the hotel about the missing teen around 1:15 p.m. Saturday. The 11-hour search for Jenkins included all public areas and the ninth floor, where she was last seen by witnesses, Mack said.
"The hotel staff and management (were) actively canvassing the area at that time," Mack said.
Martin said around 3 or 4 p.m. Saturday, police viewed some of the hotel video footage and said they did not see Jenkins pictured.
The family left and came back a third time around 6 p.m. Saturday, Martin said, at which point relatives started knocking on room doors to see if any guests knew anything. The hotel called the police to complain about the knocking, Martin said. One of those responding officers listened to the family's plight and agreed to view the video footage again, Martin said.
Around 10 p.m. Saturday, police told Jenkins' relatives they had spotted her on video from about 3:20 a.m. that day, "staggering" drunk near the front desk, according to Martin.
Martin said the family members stayed at the hotel until after 1 a.m. Sunday, when police informed them they had discovered Jenkins' body in the walk-in freezer.
It was not clear who located Jenkins' body, but Mack said the hotel was doing some construction in the area where she was found. Martin said she was told the freezer Jenkins was in was turned on and cold but was not being used to store food.
"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," Mack said. "This is not an area where anyone would typically be who was a guest in the hotel."
This story is so unfortunate. We hope that her family gets the answers that they need.