Police Reports Reveal New Details in Investigation Into Chicago Teen's Hotel Freezer Death

Police have said they conducted 44 interviews and generated 127 reports related to the investigation as of Oct. 6. But what was inside those reports remained unseen – until now

The mystery surrounding the death of a Chicago teen, whose body was found in a suburban hotel freezer last month, has led to numerous conspiracy theories on social media as those following the case were left with unanswered questions -even after her death was ruled an accident. 

Now, newly-released police reports have revealed new details in the ongoing investigation that continues to puzzle many. 

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 in the days since to demand more transparency in the investigation and to call on a federal investigation.

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.

Jenkins was last seen by her friends at a party on the ninth floor of the hotel in the early hours of Sept. 9 and she was reported missing later that afternoon.

Surveillance footage from the hotel captured Jenkins’ final moments, showing the teen stumbling through the hotel and into a restricted kitchen area. But the footage but does not show how Jenkins 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, though none of the released footage shows her entering the freezer.

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

Police have said they conducted 44 interviews and generated 127 reports related to the investigation as of Oct. 6.

But what was inside those reports remained unseen – until now.

The Chicago Tribune reports newly-released police documents show people with Jenkins on the night of her death told officers the teen was at a party in Room 926, where she drank heavily and wandered off after her friends left her in a hallway while they searched for her cell phone and keys.

Almost immediately after Jenkins’ death was reported, social media erupted with theories surrounding what happened.

A Facebook Live video purportedly taken from the hotel room that night became the center of several theories surrounding the case.

The police reports show officers tried to track down people who social media users were targeting as suspects at the time, the Tribune reports.

Among the theories was one from a woman who said she saw Jenkins at a party the night of her death. The woman claimed one of Jenkins’ acquaintances was part of a “blood gang” and may have accepted as much as $200 for her death.

During their questioning, police asked a friend of Jenkins’ about the speculation the teen was “sold for $200,” adding that a reference to that number could be heard in the Facebook Live video. The officer added that others had noted the sound of someone saying “help me” in the live footage.

The friend said Jenkins was concerned she might have to pay a $200 fine for not having a parking ticket in the hotel’s lot, and said the sound “help me” may have come from a Chief Keef song playing in the background.

One person at the party that night told police Jenkins wasn't "acting like her usual self," the Tribune reports. The woman told officers Jenkins seemed sad, but would also periodically dance and then sit back down. 

Partygoers told police they weren’t concerned about Jenkins’ disappearance at first because they assumed she had left the party with someone else.

In a series of text messages obtained from the reports, the Tribune says someone wrote that Jenkins was drunk and missing.

Another person responds with, “Find Kenneka. I can’t believe ya’ll lost her.”

The first person replies by saying they searched the hotel from “top to bottom.”

Jenkins was found inside the walk-in freezer within a walk-in cooler in the kitchen. At the time, she was lying face down on her side with one shoe off and a small cut on her left foot. The report does not note any other indication of trauma. 

An inspection of the freezer revealed it was self-closing and would latch shut, but could be reopened with the push of a white, circular handle. The Tribune reported the detective who inspected the freezer said it appeared that mechanism was working properly shortly after Jenkins' death. 

Why exactly the freezer was on at the time remains unclear. An employee reportedly said it was being leased to a group opening a restaurant in the building. The last time anyone besides Kenneka appeared on the motion-sensored surveillance footage was Aug. 30.

Still, hours after the medical examiner ruled the death of the Chicago teen an accident, police revealed a woman connected to the incident has multiple warrants issued for her arrest.

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