Rosemont police tracking down witnesses in freezer death case

Chicago woman was found dead at Rosemont hotel

Rosemont police are still interviewing witnesses and trying to track down others who may have been at a hotel party the day before 19-year-old Kenneka Jenkins of Chicago was found dead in a walk-in freezer, officials said Tuesday.

Rosemont village spokesman Gary Mack said detectives have been trying to identify and get contact information for some of those who attended the party Friday night and early Saturday morning in a ninth-floor room of the Crowne Plaza Chicago O'Hare. Police are examining videos posted on social media - some of which have gone viral and have millions of views - to identify people who were there.

"It's a very long and painstaking process," Mack said.

One video posted on Facebook, featuring a woman in sunglasses talking directly into the camera, purports to have Jenkins in the room with other people.

Mack said police are still referring to the case as a "death investigation," in which they're not ruling out the possibility of foul play. No arrests have been made.

Jenkins' mother, Tereasa Martin, has said she was initially told by police her daughter appears to be drunk on a hotel surveillance video.

On Monday, Martin publicly questioned whether her daughter had the strength to open the heavy door of the freezer while in that condition. She also said police should have been quicker to begin their search for her daughter.

Jenkins' friends reported her disappearance to Martin after 4 a.m. Saturday, after which Martin said she called police. The department entered Jenkins into LEADS, the Law Enforcement Automated Data Systems, as a missing person at 1:16 p.m. Saturday. About 12 hours later, someone found Jenkins' body in an empty but running freezer in an unused area of the hotel.

Mack offered condolences to Jenkins' family and friends but said Rosemont police stand by their detective work.

"Our police believe strongly they have done the right things and followed practices, protocols and procedures," Mack said.

Cook County medical examiner's office spokeswoman Becky Schlikerman reiterated Tuesday that the cause of Jenkins' death has not been determined after an autopsy Sunday and is pending further studies - a process that could take several weeks.

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Kenneka Jenkins
COURTESY OF ABC7Protesters gathered in Rosemont Wednesday night, blocking traffic as they demonstrated yelling "shut it down" in regards to the hotel where 19-year-old Kenneka Jenkins was discovered dead in a walk-in freezer over the weekend.
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