Mystery swirls around the death of Kenneka Jenkins, the 19-year-old Chicago native found frozen in a walk-in freezer at a Crown Plaza hotel after a night of partying with her friends. Her mother, Tereasa Martin, said she believes someone at the hotel murdered her daughter.
Since the hotel wouldn’t let her Martin look at any surveillance tape until she had filed a missing person report, it has raised many suspicions and created an online frenzy. All sorts of theories popped up about the tragedy.
In an attempt to provide an objective point of view and perhaps show transparency, the police shared the video surveillance footage with Chicago community leader Andrew Holmes.
“The important part is we all wanted to know: Did anybody call her down there? Did anybody force her down there,” Holmes said. “Was there anybody on the other side of the room when she got down there? And the answer to that is no.”
Holmes claimed Jenkins got in the elevator alone and stumbled around the basement, opening random doors. She then entered the freezer, alone, and didn’t return.
However, Kenneka’s family has said Holmes wasn’t appointed to represent them. There has been a large protest outside the hotel. According to the Chicago Tribune, when asked if the information stated by Holmes during his press conference was false, Martin responded “yes.”
She reportedly said Holmes called her this week and urged her to break up the protests outside the hotel, claiming it’s losing money because of the bad press and picketing. Apparently, to Martin, that shows Holmes has vested interest in the wellbeing of the hotel and therefore must be misrepresenting the footage for his own personal gain.
In response to this hubbub, the police in the Chicago suburb of Rosemont had said that they released the footage to Martin’s lawyers. They also released the following statement:
“They will now be able to view this footage at their convenience yet still have the opportunity to come to the police station at any time to discuss or review the footage with investigators.”
After her family reported her missing, Jenkins’ relatives went door to door in the hotel looking for their daughter. The hotel complained that they were disturbing the peace and called the police. Because that part of the hotel was under construction and mostly empty, Jenkins wasn’t found for nearly 24 hours. When authorities found her, she was frozen solid.
A few videos came out online showing the girl stumbling in the basement; one woman also posted some online videos during the party. This story has gotten so big that the Mayor of Rosemont, Brad Stephens, said on Wednesday that all the online speculation was “convoluting” the investigation.
Rosemont police also said they have interviewed over 10 people that were involved in the incident, including all eight that were at the hotel with Jenkins. A cause of death has yet to be discovered. Police are still waiting on toxicology reports.