Cause of Death Revealed in 19-Year-Old Woman Found in Freezer in Rosemont, Illinois

October 8, 2017 Last Updated: October 8, 2017

An autopsy has found that 19-year-old Kenneka Jenkins, who was found dead in a Chicago-area hotel freezer last month, died of hypothermia from exposure to cold conditions.

Her body was found Sept. 10 in a walk-in freezer at the Crowne Plaza Chicago O’Hare Hotel in Rosemont—just about 24 hours after relatives told the hotel she was missing, CBS News reported.

Videos released by police show Jenkins, by herself, walking through areas of the hotel. In one of the videos, she can be seen near the kitchen area by the freezer.

Her family requested that police release footage of her walking into the freezer, but officials several weeks ago said it doesn’t exist.

The Cook County medical examiner’s office said that caffeine, alcohol, and an epilepsy/migraine medicine called topiramate were found in her system. According to CBS News, her blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) was 0.112, higher than the 0.08 BAC level that is considered legally drunk for drivers in most states.

The examiner ruled her death an accident.

“Alcohol and topiramate are synergistic. When combined, the effect of either or both drugs is enhanced. Topiramate, like alcohol, can cause dizziness, impaired memory, impaired concentration, poor coordination, confusion and impaired judgment,” the coroner’s office said, according to CBS. “Central nervous system depression, or impairment, combined with cold exposure can hasten the onset of hypothermia and death.”

Tests for “date rape” drugs like Rohypnol and ketamine were conducted by the examiner’s office, but those tests came back negative, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Family and friends have speculated that foul play may have been involved. Online conspiracy theories about her death have proliferated on YouTube and social media platforms. Protesters also gathered for several weeks outside the hotel, demanding “justice” for the girl.

In a statement, the Crowne Plaza Hotel offered its condolences to her family, saying: “Her death stunned our company and saddened our employees.”

“As we previously assured the family’s attorney, we will preserve all the evidence they requested, including video recordings and documents,” the statement said. “In fact, we have already done so.”

Jenkins’ case is still being treated as an “ongoing death investigation,” police told the Sun-Times.

Officials also found there was no evidence of trauma due to abuse before her death.