The lawyer for the family of a 19-year-old woman whose body was discovered in a hotel freezer in a the village of Rosemont, Illinois, said Friday that “serious questions remain” about the circumstances around her death.
Attorney Larry Rogers Jr. said he requested all of the security video handed to police that showed Chicago resident Kenneka Jenkins wandering around the hotel alone and disoriented.
The family was given only clips of the footage, he said, and what he saw does not back up the police account of her going into a freezer.
“Let me be clear, I have not seen all of the videos, but of the videos that I have seen, I have not seen any freezer, and I absolutely have not seen her walk into a freezer,” he said in a press conference on Friday.
According to community activist Andrew Holmes, who said he reviewed the footage with police on behalf of the family, Jenkins was wandering around alone, apparently disoriented, before opening the door to a walk-in freezer and disappearing inside, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Rogers said that contrary to reports, the hotel management did not reach out to them until the late afternoon on Friday to offer them the 36 hours of security footage surrounding Jenkins’s disappearance.
He said the attorney for the Rosemont police also reached out to offer them the footage shortly before the press conference.
Police reportedly promised to make all the footage available to the public.
On Sept. 8, Jenkins had been attending a party on the ninth floor of the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Rosemont. The last person to hear from her was her sister, who said she received a text from Jenkins around 1:30 a.m. on Sept. 9.
At around 4 a.m., Jenkins’s friends called her mother, Tereasa Martin, to say they couldn’t find her, and an hour later Martin came to the hotel to search for her daughter, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
Martin says she asked the hotel staff when she got there to review security footage to help her locate her daughter, but that they declined to let her see the footage and declined to review it themselves.
Jenkins’s body was finally discovered inside a freezer at 12:24 a.m. Sunday, police said, almost a day after she was last heard from.
Whether the review of the security camera footage could have made the difference between Jenkins being found alive or dead is a matter of much speculation.
“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,” Rogers said in the statement.
The Cook County medical examiner’s office is doing a toxicology exam, and a spokesperson for the department said it could take weeks before they get the results.
Police say they do not suspect foul play was involved.
Rogers says the next step in the investigation is to review the footage, conduct interviews with witnesses, and to visit the hotel to see where Jenkins was before she vanished.
In an apparent attempt to make amends with the family, the Crowne Plaza Hotel offered to pay for the family’s funeral expenses. It is unclear if the family has accepted the offer.