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Early Sunday morning brought a heartbreaking end to the search for 19-year-old Kenneka Jenkins, who had been unaccounted for for nearly 24 hours.

Jenkins went out Friday night, celebrating a new job she got at a nursing home. She left her house in Near West Side at 11:30 p.m. to attend a party at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Rosemont, WGN reports.


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Around 4:30 a.m., her mother Teresa Martin received a call from her friends that they were unable to find Jenkins after the party. She immediately went to the hotel and asked the hotel staff is she could look at the surveillance footage, and was directed to the police. The police told her to wait a few hours, suggesting that Jenkins could still be out with friends.

That’s when Martin, and her older daughter Leonore Harris, took matters into her own hands. They began searching the hotel herself, knocking on hotel doors hoping to find Jenkins.

“We were begging for help, and no one was helping,” Martin told WGN of the hotel staff.

After a missing persons report was filed Saturday afternoon, the hotel “actively canvassed and searched the immediate area,” according to the police.

Her body was ultimately found inside  walk-in freezer at 12:24 a.m. Sunday morning.

“Police believe Kenneka let herself into the walk-in cooler while she was drunk and died inside,” Fox 59 writes.

Martin and her older daughter have a different take on Kenneka Jenkins death.

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“I believe someone in this hotel killed my child,” Martin said.

“The freezer door is heavy. So there’s no way. If they’re saying she’s drunk, she don’t have no strength. If she had enough strength to open that freezer door, she would have had enough strength to walk straight,” Harris said.

The cause of death has yet to be determined.

Betsi Fores About the author:
Betsi Fores is the managing editor for Rare. Follow her on Twitter @ejfores.
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