With authorities releasing graphic photos of Kenneka Jenkins, many still believe there’s more behind the 19-year-old’s tragic death.
Upon releasing the images last week, Rosemont Police closed the controversial case and deemed Jenkins’ death an accident. The decision came days after the Cook County medical examiner’s office ruled that Jenkins died of hypothermia and listed alcohol intoxication and the use of topiramate as contributing factors.
“At this time, the Rosemont Public Safety Department has closed the death investigation of Kenneka Jenkins and has classified this incident as an accidental death. There is no evidence that indicates any other conclusion,” Rosemont Police Chief Donald Stephens III said in a press release obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times.
As CrimeOnline reported last week, lawyers for Jenkins’ mother said “graphics and disturbing” images of the teen’s body and the freezer she died in didn’t address many of the public’s concerns. The attorney’s comments were validated once those pictures hit the Internet—reigniting outrage that the investigation resulted in no arrests.
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Police reports indicated that Jenkins was found face-down on her side, with her right shoe removed. Photographs depicted the teen with her t-shirt up and her breasts exposed, leading some to believe that she was sexually assaulted.
“Pictures of Kenneka Jenkins dead in the freezer didn’t look like an accident. He pants were down, hair was everywhere, lip was busted, clothes were dirty. It looked like she was raped and fighting for her life,” one tweet read.
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However, authorities claimed that Jenkins suffered no trauma other than a small cut on her foot.
Additionally, an article by the Chicago Tribune surmised that Jenkins possibly experienced “paradoxical undressing,” a phenomenon in which people freezing to death have the urge to remove their clothing.
“It is concluded that paradoxical undressing might be explained by changes in peripheral vasoconstriction (narrowing of blood vessels supplying the extremities) in the deeply hypothermic person,” scientists wrote in a 1979 article published in the Journal of Forensic Science. “It represents the last effort of the victim and is followed almost immediately by unconsciousness and death.”
Authorities ultimately stood behind their investigation, concluding that online theories were speculative at best.
“While there were many theories, rumors and much speculation floating around social media regarding the death of Ms. Jenkins, none were supported with facts,” Stephens’ also said in the October 20 statement.
“While all leads and theories were investigated by our department, what we have reported throughout the investigation and again, today, are the facts.”
[Featured Image: Facebook/Kenneka Jenkins]