Kenneka Jenkins’ family is reportedly taking legal action against the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Rosemont, Illinois after the teen was discovered dead in the hotel kitchen’s walk-in freezer, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. Jenkins’ mother, Tereasa Martin has filed a $50 million lawsuit against the hotel, alleging that the staff were responsible for her daughter’s untimely death.
The lawsuit names the hotel, F&F Realty, Capital Security, and Investigations and Murray Bros. Caddyshack – the restaurant that leased the kitchen – as liable for Jenkins’ death. Martin claims the hotel and other parties failed to secure dangerous areas and hire competent staff to monitor them.
According to court documents, the hotel and security staff ignored multiple warnings about the group of people that were partying in the hotel room where Jenkins was ahead of her disappearance. The lawsuit noted that Jenkins passed several hotel staff members who should have seen that she was in an altered state and prevented her from entering the kitchen.
Hotel personnel also neglected to thoroughly review security footage after learning of Jenkins’ disappearance. If they had done so, “they would have been able to locate her which would have prevented her death,” according to the lawsuit. As result of the incident, Jenkins’ family claims they suffered tremendous “conscious, physical pain and suffering,” humiliation, and loss of wages.
As previously reported, 19-year-old Jenkins attended a hotel room party on the ninth floor of the Crowne Plaza on Sept. 9, 2017, around 1:13 a.m. in a fully coherent state, the lawsuit claims. Around 2:30 a.m. Jenkins’ and friends reportedly were leaving the party when she realized she had lost her phone. Two hours later, friends told Martin that her daughter was missing. After Martin contacted the hotel desk, security reviewed the surveillance footage, but did not find anything at the time. Jenkins was officially reported missing at 12:36 p.m. on Sept. 9.
Jenkins was found 21 hours after she was reported missing. Her body was discovered in a double-door walk-in freezer located in an unused kitchen that was accessible to the general public, the lawsuit said. The sticker on the door of the freezer, which contained instruction on how to open was barely visible.
Upon further review, surveillance videos show Jenkins stumbling into the kitchen and walking toward the freezer around 3:32 a.m. She was reportedly visibly inebriated at the time.
Jenkins was pronounced dead on Sept. 10, 2017. Her death was a ruled an accident caused by hypothermia, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.
In addition to the damages regarding her death, Jenkins’ family is suing to cover the expenses of her funeral, which was held last year.