The body of a missing 19-year-old has been found inside a walk-in freezer at a hotel in a Chicago suburb.
Kenneka Jenkins went out on Friday night to a party at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Rosemont, Illinois.
Early on Sunday morning, hotel staff found the teenager – who was out to celebrate her new job at a nursing home – dead in the freezer.
The Cook County medical examiner has scheduled a post-mortem examination to determine the cause of death.
Ms Jenkins’ mother says she suspects foul play.
Tereasa Martin told WGN, a Chicago TV news station, that Ms Jenkins’ friends called her in the early hours of Saturday to tell her she was missing.
Ms Martin said she went to the hotel and asked staff to check surveillance video, but was referred to police.
Emergency dispatchers, she said, told her to wait a few more hours in case the Chicago teenager was still out with friends.
Ms Martin said she and her other daughter went searching for Ms Jenkins.
The family filed a missing person’s report on Saturday afternoon.
Rosemont police said after that report was filed, hotel staff “actively canvassed and searched the immediate area”.
Ms Martin said police told her her daughter was “staggering” drunk at the time.
But the grieving mother said she doubts her daughter would have allowed herself to become trapped in a walk-in freezer, no matter how intoxicated she was.
“I believe someone in this hotel killed my child,” Ms Martin told WGN.
The unused freezer was reportedly located in a part of the hotel where a new restaurant was under construction.
Crowne Plaza Hotel said in a statement: “We are saddened by this news, and our thoughts are with the young woman and her family during this difficult time.”
Folks on social media accused Kenneka’s friends Monifah Shelton, Irene Roberts and Shamaya Winder of luring Kenneka to a hotel party, where she was last seen alive. The women allegedly got Kenneka drunk and invited three men to the hotel room to sexually assault her.
The party was live streamed by Roberts on Facebook Live using Shelton’s account, and in the video footage (which is still posted on Shelton’s page), you can hear a lot of activity in the background, though it’s not clear who all was in the room at the time. Most of the video shows Roberts smoking weed with her friends and listening to music. You can also see Shelton in the footage, but apparently she didn’t want to be seen.
Social media sleuths have reviewed the footage multiple times and believe that the answers to any questions people have about Kenneka’s mysterious death can be found in the video. At one point in the video (around the 3-minute mark), a high-pitched sound can be heard, which some are speculating was Jenkins screaming “Help me!” as she was being sexually assaulted (or otherwise harmed) before her alleged screams were quickly drowned out by music.
Roberts can also be heard on the video mentioning $200, which some believe was either a payment from the men to have sex with Kenneka or what the women (Roberts and Shelton) paid the men to “take care of” (i.e. kill) her and hide her body.
Rosemont village spokesman Gary Mack said authorities have identified most of the people on the video.
“Yes, they’ve looked at it and continue to look at it and all the other social media videos and posts,” Mack told the Chicago Tribune on Monday. “They are leaving no stone unturned as far as trying to corral everyone they can and talk to them and interview them about what happened and what was going on that night.”