CHICAGO (CBS) — The family of a 19-year-old woman from Chicago was pressing for answers, after she was found dead in a hotel freezer on Sunday.
Kenneka Jenkins’ body was found inside a walk-in freezer at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Rosemont around 12:30 a.m. Sunday.
Her family said she went to a party at the hotel with friends late Friday night, but then went missing. Her friends called the Jenkins’ around 4:30 Saturday morning to say they couldn’t find her, but had her cellphone and truck keys.
Tereasa Martin, Jenkins’ mother, said she tried to get hotel staff to immediately search surveillance video for her missing daughter, but they said they needed a missing person’s report first. Police told Martin to wait a few hours to see if Jenkins turned up.
After some time, a police report — that was subsequently filed Saturday afternoon — and an 11-hour search, hotel staff found Jenkins dead in the freezer after police contacted management about the missing person’s report.
The family said investigators told them surveillance video from the hotel appeared to show Jenkins stumbling around after heavy drinking. Police told them she might have been trapped in the freezer by accident, but some dispute that, including Jenkins’ family.
“If you seen her going into a freezer or being carried into a freezer, then you need to prove that,” crisis responder Andrew Holmes said.
The 19-year-old’s family talked to reporters a few hours after the discovery.
“The freezer door is heavy. I worked in a cafeteria before. It’s no way if she’s drunk, and they saying she’s stumbling, so she don’t have no strength,” said Jenkins’ sister, Leonore Harris. “That’s my baby sister. How can I live life knowing I’ll never see her again?”
An autopsy on Sunday was inconclusive, pending further studies, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office.
Rosemont Police say they are interviewing everyone who had contact with Jenkins that night, as well as a Facebook Live video.