Rosemont chief : No need for FBI probe in hotel freezer death case

Updated 9/19/2017 6:02 AM
  • Kenneka Jenkins

    Kenneka Jenkins Courtesy of the Martin Family

  • Rosemont Chief of Public Safety Donald Stephens III

    Rosemont Chief of Public Safety Donald Stephens III

Responding to calls for an FBI inquiry into the death of a 19-year-old woman whose body was found Sept. 10 in a Rosemont hotel's basement freezer, village Public Safety Chief Donald E. Stephens III said Monday he is confident in his officers' work on the case.

"At this time, the death investigation of Kenneka Jenkins will remain in the hands of the Rosemont Public Safety Department," Stephens said in a written statement issued late Monday afternoon. "This investigation has been and remains the utmost priority for us."

Jenkins, of Chicago, was found dead shortly after midnight Sept. 10 in a walk-in freezer of the Crowne Plaza Chicago O'Hare Hotel. She had been attending a party at the hotel Friday, Sept. 8, and early Saturday, Sept. 9, when she disappeared.

Video surveillance released by Rosemont authorities Friday shows Jenkins getting off an elevator in the hotel, walking through hallways and eventually into an empty kitchen. Once in the kitchen she is seen walking off camera.

Her body was discovered in the freezer about 21 hours later.

On Saturday, her mother and others marched to the FBI headquarters in Chicago demanding a federal investigation into the teen's death.

Stephens said Monday that while the case will remain in his department's hands, local authorities have and will continue to seek the assistance of outside law enforcement agencies when needed.

"As with any investigation, we have resources and assistance available from the local, county, state, and federal level," he said. "I am fully confident in the ability of each and every one of the officers, detectives, and leadership team charged with this case. At no time have I doubted the work that is being done."

As of Friday, police said they had interviewed 25 people as part of the investigation, including 16 who attended the party, and were seeking 15 others to question.

Attorneys for Jenkins' family have said they have "serious questions" about what happened and how police and the hotel handled the initial missing persons report.

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