19-year-old Kenneka Jenkins went missing from a party early on Saturday morning and was found dead inside a walk-in freezer at a Chicago Rosemont hotel on Sunday morning just before 1 a.m. (read here).
Authorities said she had walked into the freezer while drunk but her mother refused to accept the story and said there was more to it. Now, police have released all surveillance footages showing the young woman staggering out of an elevator, through hallways and in the deserted hotel kitchen, but they do not show her entering the walk-in freezer in which her body was found.
Officials said they released footage that shows Jenkins for a total of a few minutes spread over nine clips. Authorities said they would also release another 36 hours of hotel surveillance video from that weekend.
Jenkin’s mother is not satisfied and wants answers. Larry Rogers Jr. and Sam Adam Jr., attorneys for Jenkins’ mother, said at a press conference on Friday afternoon that they have not received any video from the police of her entering the hotel freezer. They said they will conduct their own investigation and perhaps seek a second autopsy.
“There is 36 hours of tape that (the hotel) never looked for,” Adam said. “They never checked. They never searched, they never did anything while a young, 19-year-old disoriented girl was sitting in their freezer. Now there has to be an answer to how that happened. Better yet, there has to be an answer to why that happened.”
In a statement released earlier Friday, Rogers said: “Despite requests for all evidence, we have received only snippets of video, none of which shows Kenneka Jenkins walking into a freezer. The family has not been provided any video or other evidence of Kenneka Jenkins walking into a freezer. Serious questions remain as to how she ended up in a Crowne Plaza Hotel freezer and why it took a day and a half for the hotel to find Kenneka.”
Jenkins went to the party at the Crowne Plaza on Friday night then she disappeared early Saturday morning. Her mother, Tereasa Martin, came to look for her but said hotel staff and Rosemont police declined to search for hours.
Police have said they are treating the case as a death investigation, not a homicide probe. However, there have been a lot of speculations online, with thousands of people using Facebook videos evidently taken at the hotel room party to spin theories about what happened. Many contend Jenkins was murdered.
However, on Thursday, a Chicago community activist tried to put an end to the speculation, saying he watched the surveillance video (this was before it was released) and it showed Jenkins entering the freezer alone. After the family released its statement on Friday, activist Andrew Holmes said he was sticking to his statements.
Holmes said: “My point was — and I’m going to stand by it — I didn’t see anyone downstairs behind her. I didn’t see anyone in front of her. I didn’t see anyone trying to force her back there. That’s my point and I’ll stick to it.”
Watch 4 of the surveillance footages showing Jenkins in her final moments below.