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Kenneka Jenkins, freezer, Rosemont Public Safety Department, Tereasa Martin, Crowne Plaza

Source: Chicago Tribune / Getty


It’s been six years since the death of 19-year-old Kenneka Jenkins, the Illinois teen who died of hypothermia in 2017 after she stumbled into a hotel walk-in freezer at the Crowne Plaza Chicago O’Hare Hotel & Conference Center in Rosemont, Illinois. Officials have since ruled Jenkins’ death as an “accident,” stating that there was no foul play involved in the teen’s passing, but the evidence hasn’t stopped her mother, Tereasa Martin, from keeping the case alive. 

The grieving matriarch has been using the hashtag J4KENNEKA4LIFE,” to pay tribute to her daughter’s legacy. On Jan. 17, she posted a beautiful video of the young teen with the caption that read,KENNEKA’s GOING TO Get HER JUSTICE WITH THE BLOOD OF JESUS. 4KENNEKA4LIFE.”

On Sept. 10, 2017, a hotel employee found Jenkins’ body inside a walk-in freezer in a kitchen at the Crowne Plaza Chicago O’Hare Hotel & Conference Center. Authorities said the teen was partying at the location on the night of Sept. 9, 2017, with a group of friends for a private hotel party. 

Surveillance footage released in October 2017 captured Jenkins stumbling out of a lower-level elevator and struggling to maintain balance as she walked through a first-floor kitchen. A toxicology report later concluded that Jenkins had alcohol and a drug used to treat epilepsy in her system at the time of her death.

In 2018, Jenkins’ mother filed a $50 million wrongful death lawsuit against the hotel, naming the hotel’s restaurant and the establishment’s private security company as defendants. She accused all three parties and of “failing to secure” restricted areas in the hotel.

In the suit, Martin also accused the Crowne Plaza Chicago of “maintaining a defective and faulty freezer” and alleged that the company allowed their “dangerous” freezer to “remain in operation, unsupervised and open to the public.”

Martin and the Rosemont-based hotel agreed to settle the lawsuit privately in August. 

In August, Martin was reportedly delivered a big win in her lawsuit against the hotel. According to CBS News, the grieving matriarch and officials from the Rosemont-based hotel agreed to privately settle the lawsuit. Jenkins’ family agreed to keep the terms of the deal private due to “safety and privacy concerns,” the outlet noted.

“The widespread publicity of this case, including uncontrolled speculation and social media commentary, has resulted in various threats made against various individuals in the case,” legal reps for Martin wrote in a statement, according to CBS News. “One of the main terms of the settlement for all parties was maintaining the confidentiality of the settlement.”



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