A 19-year-old from Chicago’s west side was found dead inside a hotel freezer just 24 hours after relatives filled a missing person’s report. Hotel staffers found Kenneka Jenkins inside a walk-in freezer at the Crowne Plaza Hotel Sunday morning, (Sept. 10) where she was pronounced dead at 12:48AM by the Cook County medical examiner’s office.
According to the Chicago Tribune, police told Jenkins’ mother Tereasa Martin, her daughter while inebriated let herself into the freezer and died inside. Becky Schlikerman, spokeswoman for the medical examiner’s office, said an autopsy was done but it wasn’t immediately clear if foul play was a factor.
Martin found it difficult to even fathom the news surrounding her daughter. (“I’m) horrified,” Martin said. “It’s something that no one could ever imagine. It’s unbelievable.”
Jenkins left her house at about 11:30PM Friday (Sept. 8) to attend the party at the hotel and her sister said the last time she spoke to Kenneka was via text message at 1:30AM. At about 4:30AM, it was discovered she was missing and the family reportedly went to the hotel several times in an effort to find her. Martin said the family also notified police.
“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 a missing person’s report was filled, hotel staffers began canvassing the area where Jenkins was last seen. Authorities reportedly allowed Jenkins’ sister Leonore Harris, to video hotel surveillance in which Jenkins was seen unable to hold herself up.
“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 the grounds, hotel staff found Jenkins in an un-used freezer. Officials declared Jenkins was “beyond resuscitation.”
“I had all the hope in the world that she would just come back,” Harris, Jenkins’ sister said. “Maybe there was something wrong, but I asked God, not death. He let me down. He let me down.”