ILLINOIS — Kenneka Jenkins, 19, was found dead inside a walk-in freezer in a hotel room on Sunday around 1:00 a.m. local time, according to Rosemont police. The teen had first been reported missing Saturday morning.
A Facebook Live video, possibly of Jenkins, is being investigated by police as it appears to show the teen with a group of people before she went missing.
In the video, there is a woman in the background who resembles Kenneka. She is sitting on a bed as another woman in the forefront is smoking and talking to the camera. A reflection on the other woman’s sunglasses reveals what may be Jenkins in the room.
The video went viral and has been shared and viewed millions of times on social media.
According to the Chicago Tribune, “Investigators are reviewing the video, and they have identified most of the people seen in the footage,” as told to them by Gary Mack with the Rosemont Police Department.
Mack continues by saying, “Yes, they’ve looked at it and continue to look at it and all the other social media videos and posts. They are leaving no stone unturned as far as trying to corral everyone they can, and talk to them about what happened that night.”
Jenkins was found at the Crowne Plaza Hotel on Sunday, having attended a party there on Friday night with friends. According to the girl’s mother, police say she got drunk and locked herself into the cooler. But the teen’s mom, Tereasa Martin, isn’t buying it.
Martin believes something else happened. She told the Chicago Tribune that hotel staff and police waited hours before they started searching for Kenneka.
In fact, the teen’s body was discovered almost 24 hours after she was reported missing.
Martin continued by saying, “If they had taken me seriously and checked right away, they could have found my daughter much sooner and she might have been alive.” She also made note of the fact that her daughter’s friends changed their stories “over and over.”
Martin says she received a call from the group of friends around 4 a.m. on Saturday, saying that Kenneka Jenkins was missing. Martin said the friends left the hotel in the car she had let her daughter borrow. The friends also had the teen’s cell phone.
To further complicate the mystery, the freezer was located in a construction area of the hotel and wasn’t being used. It remains unclear whether the freezer had been turned on, and investigators are not saying who found the body.
Martin told WGN-TV, “I believe someone in this hotel killed my child.”
Police spokesman Gary Mack told the Tribune that it may take weeks to determine what happened to Jenkins; the medical examiner’s office is still awaiting toxicology tests. An autopsy performed on Sunday failed to determine her cause of death.
“I don’t think anything has been ruled in or ruled out at this point,” Mack said. “It’s just considered a death investigation at this point.”
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