Teenage Partygoer Found Dead in Hotel's Walk-In Freezer
Kenneka Jenkins was pronounced dead at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in the Chicago suburb of Rosemont on Sunday.
Staff in an Illinois hotel made a tragic discovery Sunday when they stumbled upon the body of a teenage girl.
All the more startling about the grim find is the location of Kenneka Jenkins in Rosemont's Crown Plaza: The restaurant's walk-in freezer.
The 19-year-old had been at a party when she disappeared the day before, according to local authorities.
Jenkins' mother, Tereasa Martin, told the Chicago Tribune that police believe her daughter apparently let herself into the freezer while drunk.
"[I'm] horrified," she said. "It's something that no one could ever imagine. It's unbelievable."
However, on a GoFundMe page asking for donations to offset funeral costs, a writer who identifies as Martin suggests it may not have been just a tragic accident.
"We believe there is more to the story," the post reads. "Since this is still under investigation, there isn’t much I can say."
Jenkins left her house on Chicago's West Side to attend the party with friends at about 11:30 p.m. Friday, according to police.
A spokesman for the village of Rosemont said Jenkins' sister, Leonore Harris, last spoke to her around 1:30 a.m. Saturday.
Harris filed a missing persons report with Rosemont police later that morning and authorities notified the hotel of the situation that afternoon.
Her body was discovered after an 11-hour search of the premises.
A review of surveillance footage reportedly showed the teen "staggering" drunk early Saturday, Martin told reporters. The mother said that doesn't gel with suggestions she stumbled into the freezer on her own power.
"Those were double steel doors, she didn't just pop them open," she said.
The Cook County Medical Examiner had not released a cause of death as of Monday morning.
The hotel issued the following statement late Sunday:
"We are saddened by this news, and our thoughts are with the young woman and her family during this difficult time. The hotel staff will continue to cooperate fully with local authorities. All further questions should be directed to the Rosemont Police Department."
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