(CBS) – Rosemont police will retain control of the controversial death investigation of Kenneka Jenkins, the Chicago woman found dead in a hotel walk-in freezer, rather than yielding to the FBI.
That was the thrust of a news release issued Monday by Public Safety Chief Donald E. Stephens III.
“I would like to respond to the inquiries surrounding the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) intervening with the death investigation of Kenneka Jenkins,” Stephens said in a prepared statement.
“At this time, the death investigation of Kenneka Jenkins will remain in the hands of the Rosemont Public Safety Department.
“This investigation has been and remains the utmost priority for us. Throughout this investigation we have used any and all outside agencies necessary to complete a thorough investigation and will continue to do so as needed. As with any investigation, we have resources and assistance available from the local, county, state, and federal level.”
Jenkins, 19, went to a party at Crowne Plaza Sept. 8 and was found early Sept. 10 in a freezer after she had been reported missing by friends and family. Hotel surveillance video clips released publicly show Jenkins stumbling through parts of the complex, including the area where the freezer is located, but that freezer is off-camera.
Critics say those clips don’t show the moment Jenkins accidentally walked into the freezer, if that’s what happened, as police have suggest. Social media has erupted with various theories that Jenkins fell victim to foul play. Some critics have called for an independent investigation.
“I am fully confident in the ability of each and every one of the officers, detectives, and leadership team charged with this case. At no time have I doubted the work that is being done,” Stephens, the police chief, said in the statement issued Monday.
Jenkins’ family has retained legal counsel, in part to sort out whether Crowne Plaza could have done more to prevent the death. The freezer was running but unlocked, hotel representatives have said.