More than a year after an intoxicated 19-year-old girl was found dead in the walk-in freezer at the Crowne Plaza Hotel near Chicago, her family has filed a negligence suit for $50 million against the hotel.
As the U.K. Daily Mail reported, the suit was filed on Tuesday and introduces new allegations stemming from an incident officially classified as an accidental death that occurred after Kennaka Jenkins became trapped in the freezer.
The court document claims a sticker on the freezer door “was completely faded and failed to instruct how to release the lock system of the door.”
An investigation found the door’s opening mechanism was operating properly but could only be activated by pressing the corresponding handle.
The lawsuit further claims the freezer Jenkins entered after attending a party at the hotel was one of multiple unsecured units in the inaccessible area where her body was found.
A statement from a Crowne Plaza Hotel spokesperson challenged the lawsuit’s assertions, calling Jenkins death “a tragedy” but denying any responsibility.
The hotel asserted that the “proximate cause of her death were the unsavory individuals who used a stolen credit card to book a room and host an illegal party which Ms. Jenkins attended” on the night of her death.
“Those criminal escaped the hotel before police arrived and have never truly been held accountable,” the statement concluded. “This lawsuit has no merit and we will vigorously contest it.”
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Rosemont Police Chief Donald Stephens III announced in October 2017, the month after Jenkins’ death, that the department “has closed the death investigation … and has classified this incident as an accidental death.”
A toxicology report filed in the case found alcohol and a prescription drug used to treat migraines and epilepsy in her system. Her mother said Kenneka was not taking prescription medications.
[Featured image: Facebook, Kenneka Jenkins]