Mother of Chicago woman found dead in a hotel freezer believes she was murdered

Kenneka Jenkins was found dead in a freezer at the hotel in Rosemont.

September 12, 2017, 11:32 PM

— -- The family of a 19-year-old Chicago woman who was found dead in a hotel freezer Sunday is begging police for more information about how she died.

Kenneka Jenkins' body was discovered in a freezer at the Crowne Plaza hotel in Rosemont, Illinois, about 30 minutes northwest of Chicago.

Her mother, Tereasa Martin, said she last saw her at around 11:30 p.m. Friday when she left their home on the West Side of Chicago with her friends. Martin said they were going to a party to celebrate her new job position at a nursing home, but she had no idea that it would be the last time that she would see her daughter alive.

"[I'm] horrified," Martin told reporters Sunday at a briefing. "It's something that no one could ever imagine. It's unbelievable."

Jenkins’ body was discovered in an industrial size walk-in freezer in the basement of the hotel, according to Martin. She said that police, who had access to surveillance video, told her that Jenkins was intoxicated when she walked into the freezer and that “freak accidents like that do occur.”

"It takes strength to open these doors, the freezer doors. So, if she couldn't hardly hold herself up,” Martin said, “how did she find the strength to unlock both the double doors?"

The Rosemont Police Department told ABC News that it is "actively investigating the case and attempting to locate and interview all parties involved."

"We are currently reviewing all footage as well as reviewing all social media activity," the department told ABC News in a statement Tuesday.

A viral Facebook Live video, shared by Jenkins' friend just hours before she died, has fueled conspiracy theories about how she may have died.

An autopsy test performed on Sunday came back inconclusive, the Chicago Tribune reported Monday, and officials say it could take weeks before toxicology results are available.

Martin, however, said she suspects foul play.

She said her daughter’s friends called her at around 4:30 a.m. Saturday, saying Jenkins disappeared after they briefly left her alone in a hotel hallway.

The friends said they were in the car Martin had loaned her daughter for the night, Martin said. They had Jenkins' cell phone and keys in their possession, according to Martin, who said she isn't convinced because their "stories changed over and over."

Martin said she rushed to the hotel and asked hotel staff to check surveillance cameras to see if they could help to find her daughter.

Instead, the hotel referred her to police, who she said told her to wait a few more hours because her daughter could be out with friends.

"We were begging for help, and no one was helping," Martin told reporters. "I believe someone in this hotel killed my child.”

The Crowne Plaza Chicago O'Hare Hotel and Conference Center has directed questions about the case to the Rosemont Police Department.

“We are saddened by this news, and our thoughts are with the young woman and her family during this difficult time,” the hotel said in a statement. “The hotel staff will continue to cooperate fully with local authorities."

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