The mother of a Chicago teen reportedly found dead in a freezer Sunday said she believes her daughter was murdered and accused police of not adequately searching for the missing teen.
WGN reports that the body of Kenneka Jenkins, 19, was discovered in a walk-in freezer at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Rosemont. Family members and police said the teen attended a hotel party Friday night to celebrate getting a new job.
Jenkins’ mother, Tereasa Martin, said she got a call at 4:30 a.m. Saturday from friends who couldn’t locate her daughter. Martin claimed she immediately went to the Crowne Plaza and asked staff to check surveillance footage, which they declined to do.
Martin said a 911 dispatcher instructed her to wait a few hours because Jenkins might still be out with friends. Jenkins’ mother and older sister claimed they frantically searched the hotel for the teen before hotel staff called the police on them.
“We were begging for help, and no one was helping,” Martin told WGN.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, hotel employees found Jenkins’ body in a walk-in freezer early Sunday morning. At this point, authorities don’t believe foul play is involved. Instead, they suspect the 19-year-old was drunk and walked into the freezer herself.
Martin vehemently rejected their account, noting that it would be difficult for Jenkins to open a freezer by herself.
“Those were double steel doors, she didn’t just pop them open,” she told the Chicago Tribune.
The heartbroken mother told WGN that police claimed that Jenkins was “so drunk she couldn’t hold herself up” and she was holding onto the wall. She went on to accuse Rosemont police of not acting quickly to locate Jenkins.
“If they had taken me seriously and checked right away, they could have found my daughter much sooner and she might have been alive,” Martin concluded.
The hotel released the following statement in light of the teen’s death:
“We are saddened by this news, and our thoughts are with the young woman and her family during this difficult time. The hotel staff will continue to cooperate fully with local authorities. All further questions should be directed to the Rosemont Police Department.”
The Cook County Medical Examiner examined Jenkins’ body but a cause of death has yet to be determined. An autopsy is pending.
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