Cause of Death For Chicago Teen Found in Hotel Freezer Released

Police released surveillance video Friday from a Rosemont hotel where a Chicago teen was found dead in a freezer over the weekend. Natalie Martinez reports.

(Published Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017)

The death of a 19-year-old girl whose body was found in a freezer at a hotel last month has been ruled an accident, the Cook County medical examiner’s office said Friday.

Kenneka Jenkins died from hypothermia due to cold exposure in a walk-in freezer and alcohol and topiramate intoxication were “significant contributing factors,” the medical examiner said. No sign of any date rape drugs were found after toxicology tests, the office said.

Jenkins’ death has drawn national attention since she was found in a freezer at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Rosemont on Sept. 10. Protesters gathered outside the hotel on multiple occasions following her death to demand more transparency in the investigation and to call on a federal investigation.

Rosemont police said the hotel, which offered to pay for Jenkins’ funeral expenses, has been forthcoming and helpful during the investigation.

Surveillance footage captured Jenkins’ final moments, which took place at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Rosemont. The footage shows Jenkins walking through the hotel, but does not show how she ended up in a freezer, where her body was discovered the next day.

Rosemont police have released nine video clips showing Jenkins walking through the hotel in the hours before her death. She can be seen walking unsteadily through the hotel’s kitchen before disappearing around a corner, but none of the released footage shows her entering the freezer.

Jenkins left her home near the United Center at 11:30 p.m. on Sept. 8 to go to a party in a room of the Crowne Plaza, police said. Jenkins’ sister last heard from her via text message about 1:30 a.m. Saturday.

She was last seen by her friends at a party on the ninth floor of the hotel in the early hours of Sept. 9. Jenkins was reported missing that afternoon, and authorities found her in the freezer shortly after midnight.

Jenkins was buried Saturday.