(Getty/carlballou)

Death of teen found in hotel freezer tied to Facebook Live

It was supposed to be a party, but now a teenager is dead and there are more questions than answers


Rachel Leah
September 11, 2017 5:51PM (UTC)

Kenneka Jenkins, 19, was found dead inside a walk-in freezer in a Chicago hotel, police said after they found her body early Sunday morning.

Jenkins went with friends to the Rosemont hotel Friday night for a party. But a Facebook Live video from one of Jenkins' friends has people all over the internet questioning whether the Chicago teen was allegedly raped and killed.

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"Jenkins' mother, Tereasa Martin, said police told her Jenkins apparently let herself into the freezer while inebriated and died inside. An autopsy was performed Sunday, but it wasn't immediately clear whether foul play was suspected, according to Becky Schlikerman, spokeswoman for the medical examiner's office," the Chicago Tribune reported.

But in the Facebook video, a muffled female voice can be heard saying "help me," to which the the music is immediately turned up in response. Black Lives Matter also said they heard "we're about to murder somebody" in the video.

Martin also questions how a drunk teenager was able to pry open the heavy freezer doors on her own. Martin told the Tribune that when she questioned Jenkins' friends about the night, friends who left the party without Jenkins, but supposedly with her keys, phone and the car Martin had lent her for the evening, Martin told the Tribune their "stories changed over and over."

Martin said Jenkins' friends called her at 4 a.m. Saturday to say Jenkins was missing, and Martin went to the hotel an hour later to try to find her. The hotel staff allegedly wouldn't allow Martin to view the surveillance footage until she had a missing persons report in hand, and the police told Martin to wait a few more hours to see if her daughter would turn up, Martin said.

When the missing persons report was filed later that morning, an 11-hour search of the hotel premise took place, according to the hotel's spokesperson. Jenkins was pronounced dead at the scene, but the cause of death remains undetermined.

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Martin expressed frustration at the lack of urgency on the part of the hotel staff and police, according to the Chicago Tribune. "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 said.


Rachel Leah

Rachel Leah is a culture writer for Salon. You can follow her on Twitter: @rachelkleah.

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Black Lives Matter Chicago Crime Death Facebook Facebook Live Kenneka Jenkins Murder Rosemont Social Media Twitter

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