Kenneka Jenkin’s Body Was Found in the Freezer of A Chicago Hotel

The story of Kenneka Jenkins and the Crowne Plaza Hotel

Ana Writes
Mar 1 · 6 min read
Image via: Chicago Tribune

Over the last couple of weeks, the tragic story of Elisa Lam has been seen by many people on Netflix. This shocking story involves a girl on a trip to California who met her untimely death at a sinister hotel. This story got me thinking about a similar story that occurred in 2017 and that is the story of Kenneka Jenkins.

On September 9, 2017, 19-year-old Kenneka Jenkins was on her way to a party with 3 of her friends. This party was at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Chicago and it was the perfect opportunity for Kenneka and her friends to celebrate her new job. Kenneka had just graduated from her community Christian alternative academy and had gotten a job at a nursing home.

The night of the party, Kenneka did not tell her mother where she was going. She told her that a couple of friends had invited her to go bowling and to a movie. Kenneka and her friends left the house at about 11:30 PM and soon after reached the hotel party.

This party was booked using a fake credit card and had approximately 35 people in one single hotel room. Throughout the night, guests of the party posted on social media. There were Instagram posts, Snapchat stories, and Facebook lives that showed Kenneka and her friends having a good time.

After a couple of hours, Kenneka and her friends decide it’s time to go home. Footage provided by the hotel shows the girls walking through the hallway on their way to the exit. Kenneka seems to be doing fine at this point. People who were at the party reported that she was drinking but not doing any drugs. She is walking straight and just seems to be tired after a night of partying.

Image via: People of Siren

Sometime along their walk to the exit, Kenneka realized that she had left her keys and her cellphone in the hotel room. At this point, Kenneka’s friends decide to leave her alone by the elevator while they go and get her things. All 3 of the other girls went back to the party while Kenneka waited for them.

After they found her things, the girls returned to the elevator but Kenneka was no longer there. They searched for her for 2 hours (as seen in the hotel’s footage) but at 4:30 AM, after being unable to find her, they took Kenneka’s car and went to her mother’s house to tell her.

Where did Kenneka Jenkins go?

While her friends were looking for her things, hotel footage shows Kenneka walking away. Shortly after, more footage shows that she is in a much worse state than she was before.

Image via: ABC News

She can barely walk straight and has to hold on to walls and railings just to keep her balance. Kenneka is seen stumbling alone throughout the hotel, barely being able to stand straight when just a few moments ago she seemed to be doing well.

Kenneka is seen walking into a part of the Crowne Plaza Hotel that is under construction. Guests should not have access to this area and while there are signs that say so, it is assumed that Kenneka was too inebriated to see them.

Image via: ABC News

Kenneka can be seen walking into one of the kitchens in the hotel that is under construction. After this footage, the camera loses sight of her and that was the last time Kenneka was seen alive.

Finding Kenneka Jenkins

After her friends went to her house and told her mother Tereasa Martin that they could not find Kenneka, Tereasa drove to the hotel. Employees of the hotel told her that they could not investigate any footage unless the police were there.

Shortly after, Tereasa calls 911 to report her missing daughter. The 911 dispatcher told her that she should wait some more time to file a missing person’s report.

The next day, Tereasa filed the report and finally, police showed up at the hotel. While police were investigating the footage, they saw Kenneka walking into the area of the hotel that was under construction and they also see her walking towards the kitchen.

This kitchen had nothing in it. Since it was under construction, food and cooking materials were stored in another kitchen. That being said, the freezer was still up and running.

Sadly, when police walked into the kitchen and looked in the deep freezer, they found Kenneka’s body.

What happened to Kenneka Jenkins?

When her body was found, Kenneka was seen only wearing one shoe. Her top was pulled up and was exposing her. There were no visible injuries besides a contusion on her leg.

Police assumed that since Kenneka was inebriated, she accidentally walked into the freezer and was unable to let herself out. Freezer doors are heavy and in her state, it was almost impossible that she was going to open it by herself.

In Kenneka’s autopsy, the only injury that was reported was the abrasion on her ankle and the toxicology reports showed that Kenneka had alcohol, caffeine, and a drug called topiramate in her system.

Topiramate is a drug that is often used for people that suffer from epilepsy or migraines. When mixed with alcohol it can have side effects such as confusion and dizziness. Kenneka had never been prescribed this drug according to her mother.

The cause of death was ruled hypothermia by the doctors that performed her autopsy. This can explain why Kenneka’s shirt was pulled up. Paradoxical undressing is something that occurs in victims of hypothermia where in the late stages of hypothermia, they believe that they are actually hot instead of cold, so they begin undressing.

Was it an accident or was someone else involved?

The manner of death was ruled accidental. This case was really popular on social media and people began making theories of their own. Even Kenneka’s mom believes that there was foul play involved.

Tereasa made an appearance on the Dr. Oz Show to talk about her daughter’s untimely death and she explained that she did not think it was an accident. She talked about how Kenneka had never been prescribed topiramate.

Image via: Chicago Tribune

Not know to Tereasa, the toxicology report actually showed that this was not the first time Kenneka had taken topiramate. There were traces in her system from before the night that she died.

Tereasa Martin filed a $50 million lawsuit against the Crowne Plaza Hotel. She stated that the party should have been shut down since there were many noise complaints from other guests and also that the area under construction should have been completely closed off to guests.

It is unknown whether this lawsuit was successful but officially, Kenneka’s death case is closed as an accident.


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Ana Writes

Written by

Niche-less writer who likes writing about marketing, true crime, productivity, and writing



A true crime publication, giving voices to those who no longer have theirs.

Ana Writes

Written by

Niche-less writer who likes writing about marketing, true crime, productivity, and writing



A true crime publication, giving voices to those who no longer have theirs.

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