- Kenneka Jenkins, 19, was found dead in the freezer at Crowne Plaza Hotel in Rosemont, Chicago, on Saturday at midnight
- She went missing nearly 24 hours earlier after partying with friends in a room
- Police are now finally showing her mother surveillance footage from the night
- They have also questioned 12 people who they are ‘involved’ in the woman’s death
- Kennaka’s mother Tereasa Martin demanded to be shown the surveillance footage on Saturday but was refused by hotel staff
- They only began investigating it after she was officially reported missing later
- Facebook videos showing the group partying in the room are also being looked at
- Kenneka’s mother says she was murdered and that her friends – who had her keys and phone afterwards – have ‘changed their story over and over’
Police in Chicago have interviewed 12 people who they say are ‘involved in some way’ in the death of a 19-year-old woman who was found dead in a hotel freezer.
The body of Kenneka Jenkins was discovered in the industrial, walk-in freezer at The Crowne Plaza Hotel and Conference Center in Rosemont, a suburb of Chicago, on Saturday at around midnight.
She had gone missing around 24 hours earlier after partying with friends in one of the hotel’s rooms.
Viral Facebook videos of their antics around the time she vanished are being investigated by police alongside surveillance footage from 47 cameras inside the hotel.
That surveillance footage will be shown to Kenneka’s mother, Tereasa Martin, on Thursday after mounting demand from her family and from the public for more information on the case.
Police have questioned 12 people who they say were involved ‘in some way’ in the death of Kenneka Jenkins, 19, who was found dead in a hotel freezer on Saturday. She is seen (right) hours beforehand in a bathroom in one of the hotel’s rooms with her friend
She is convinced her daughter was murdered and suspects the group who reported her missing, claiming that they have ‘changed their story over and over’.
Martin says that when she arrived at the hotel after they called her at 4.30am on Saturday morning, the friends had her daughter’s car keys and phone.
She begged hotel staff to show her the surveillance footage immediately but they refused. They only began reviewing it themselves once police had been in contact hours later.
Rosemont Police, whose officers suggested that Kenneka stumbled drunk in to the freezer by herself and that it was a ‘freak accident’, have faced mounting pressure to involve the girl’s family in its investigation.
On Thursday, spokesman Gary Mack said it was now finally prepared to show her mother the hotel surveillance footage but will not release it to the public until the investigation is complete.
‘We’re trying to be as understanding as we can to the mom and to be as compassionate as we can.
‘Now that our detectives have had the chance to look at it, we’re hopeful it will be helpful to her,’ Rosemont Police spokesman Gary Mack told The Chicago Tribune.
Kenneka was filmed by friends partying in the hotel room (L) and in an elevator (R) hours before she died
At midnight on Saturday, she was found dead in a freezer at the hotel. Friends say they lost her after leaving her alone in a hallway momentarily
The woman’s mother, Tereasa Martin (above outsider her home) believes her daughter was murdered. She has pleaded for days to be shown surveillance footage of her final moments but police are only now giving it to her
Martin was outraged by the police’s suggestion that Kenneka stumbled drunk in to the freezer by herself, arguing that her daughter would not have had the strength to unlock the freezer doors if she was so inebriated.
‘It takes strength to open these doors, the freezer doors. So, if she couldn’t hardly hold herself up. How did she find the strength to unlock both the double doors?’ she told ABC.
A Facebook live video which was streamed from the hotel room by the woman’s best friend at 1.36am on Saturday, five minutes after her last known text was sent, has been viewed more than 5million times.
A Facebook live video taken inside the hotel room around the time that Kenneka sent her last text message is also being reviewed by police. It has been viewed more than 5 million times
It has prompted a wave of speculation over what may have happened to the youngster.
Kenneka’s mother says she believes she was murdered
Some social media sleuths said they believe she was murdered, a claim Kenneka’s family have also made.
Detectives said on Thursday that the guess-work of people unrelated to the case is hampering their efforts to solve it.
‘It’s unfortunate that some of that stuff’s convoluting the investigation because all those leads have got to be followed up on.
‘There’s a lot of different, conflicting speculation out there, so (police) are doing their best to come to a quick resolution, obviously.
Other videos taken on the night before her body was found show Kenneka slurring her words as she poses with a friend in the mirror of a bathroom in one of the hotel’s rooms.
She is seen in other footage laughing in one of the hotel’s elevators.