Investigation Into Teen's Freezer Death Isn't Over Despite Autopsy Report, Police Say - NBC Chicago

Investigation Into Teen's Freezer Death Isn't Over Despite Autopsy Report, Police Say

Rosemont police said they’ve procured four cellphones from people who were at the party—including Kenneka Jenkins’ which was obtained through a search warrant.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Investigation Into Teen's Freezer Death Isn't Over Despite Autopsy Report, Police Say

    Hours after the medical examiner ruled the death of a Chicago teen found in a hotel freezer an accident, police revealed a woman connected to the incident has multiple warrants issued for her arrest. Patrick Fazio reports. (Published Friday, Oct. 6, 2017)

    Hours after the medical examiner ruled the death of a Chicago teen found in a hotel freezer an accident, police revealed a woman connected to the incident has multiple warrants issued for her arrest.

    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.

    Police said Friday evening they had spoken with 30 of 36 people identified as having been in the hotel room where a party was being held. The woman who is seen on surveillance footage booking the room, Shaniqua Watkins, allegedly with stolen credit card, has four active warrants for her arrest, police said.

    Watkins is wanted by the Rosemont Police Department for theft and unauthorized use of a credit card. She is seen on camera checking in with a man police have also not yet spoken with.

    Rosemont police are working with the Cook County Fugitives Task Force to find Watkins.

    “The remaining individuals are only known by street names and we are working with local jurisdictions to identify and locate them,” police said in a news release. “At this point we have had no cooperation with friends or family of the unidentified subjects who remain to be interviewed.”

    Rosemont police said they’ve procured four cellphones from people who were at the party—including Kenneka Jenkins’ which was obtained through a search warrant.

    Video surveillance from the Crown Plaza Hotel is being enhanced for further examination, police said. Rosemont police say they are waiting for access to a Facebook account through a search warrant in order to analyze a video in its “native format.”

    “A forensic cell phone examination was conducted on each and the information obtained through that is being analyzed by detectives,” police said.

    Police also said they have conducted 44 interviews and generated 127 reports related to the investigation.

    The Crown Plaza Hotel, police said, 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.

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