Kenneka Jenkins was found dead in a hotel freezer in Rosemont a little over a year ago.
The mother of Kenneka Jenkins, the 19-year-old who was found dead in a hotel freezer in Rosemont is suing the hotel, its security company and the restaurant that was leasing the space where the teen’s body was discovered.
Tereasa Martin has filed a $50 million lawsuit against the Crowne Plaza Chicago O’Hare Hotel, security company Capital Security and Investigations and the Murray Bros. Caddyshack restaurant. The suit claims the defendants were negligent because they didn’t secure the walk-in freezer or conduct a proper search when Jenkins went missing.
Geoffrey Fieger, the attorney representing Jenkins’ Family, said during a Tuesday news conference that someone might have locked the teen inside the freezer where she was found.
“We believe that it’s very possible…for reasons we cannot explain, without ever looking inside the freezer, someone came and locked this freezer door so Kenneka could not exit,” Fieger said according to the Chicago Tribune. Fieger also added that the freezer’s door handle has a button that allows it to be locked from the outside.
As the Tribune reports:
“[Fieger] blamed the hotel and its security company for failing to promptly search for Jenkins after her family and friends reported her missing, even though surveillance video showed Jenkins wandering around the hallways and into the kitchen.”
As the Tribune notes, Fieger’s arguments contradicts video footage taken by a camera inside the kitchen. The recording shows Jenkins rounding the corner where the freezer is, with no one entering the area until her body was found. However, there has been some disagreement of if video of Jenkins actually walking into the freezer exists.
Previously, Andrew Holmes, an anti-violence activist, claimed he was shown footage of the teenager entering the freezer and the doors closing behind her. Martin also claimed a camera was above the freezer where her daughter was found. A spokesperson for the hotel denied that any such footage exists.
The hotel has said the lawsuit has no merit and that it plans to fight the case.
Earlier this year, a number of loved ones took to the hotel to celebrate Jenkins’ birthday. She would’ve been 20.
The death took place back in September 2017, after Jenkins left her house to attend a party at the hotel. Witnesses reportedly told police they saw Jenkins at a party on the ninth floor of the hotel. Then, around 4 a.m., Martin received a call from Jenkins’ friends telling her that they had lost track of the teen and could not find her. The friends also said that they were in the car Jenkins had used to get to the party and they had her phone.
Police officers ended up finding her body in the hotel freezer the following day. Following that, an autopsy was conducted and the teen’s death had been declared an accident. The toxicology report found alcohol, caffeine and epilepsy/migraine medication in Jenkins’ system.
Source: Chicago Tribune