The body of a 19-year-old woman has been found in a walk-in freezer at a hotel in Chicago, more than 20 hours after she went missing.
Kenneka Jenkins, who lived locally, was discovered by hotel staff at the Crowne Plaza Chicago O’Hare Hotel in Rosemont, Illinois after an 11-hour search.
She was last seen alive on Friday night, when she was apparently celebrating a new job with friends in one of the hotel rooms.
When friends lost track of her, they left with some of her belongings and raised the alarm with her mother.
Mum Tereasa Martin told WGN, a local TV news station, that she went to the hotel at about 5am on Saturday morning and asked staff to check surveillance footage.
She claims they referred her to police, who advised she wait a few more hours in case the teen was still out and happened to show up.
When she still hadn’t hours later, her worried family filed a missing person’s report.
Rosemont police have said that, after the report was filed, hotel staff “actively canvassed and searched the immediate area”.
The unused freezer was reportedly located in an area of the hotel where a new restaurant is currently under construction, which is why it took some time for the body to be discovered.
Jenkins’ family has said investigators told them surveillance video appeared to show her stumbling around, suggesting intoxication, but don’t believe suggestions she somehow trapped herself in the turned-on freezer.
“The freezer door is heavy. So there’s no way. If they’re saying she’s drunk, she don’t have no strength,” Jenkins’ sister, Leonore Harris, told WGN. “If she had enough strength to open that freezer door, she would have had enough strength to walk straight.”
Her mum has gone so far as to tell media she suspects foul play, telling the same network, “I believe someone in this hotel killed my child.”
The Cook County medical examiner has scheduled a post-mortem to determine the cause of death, which could take weeks.
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