The alleged video of a Black teenager entering a suburban Chicago hotel’s walk-in freezer where she was found frozen to death earlier this month doesn’t exist, the Crowne Plaza in Rosemont told CBS Chicago on Tuesday. The news was the latest in a series of setbacks for Kenneka Jenkins’ mother, who has blamed the Crowne Plaza and said there was foul play involved in the death of her daughter.
A variety of videos has surfaced since Jenkins was first reported missing in the early hours of September 9, including hotel security surveillance footage that showed the 19-year-old Chicagoan appearing intoxicated and staggering around the hotel before and when she found herself in a kitchen area where the freezer was located. However, the freezer did not have a camera pointed at it. The final images of Jenkins show her walking out of the security camera’s frame and toward the freezer.
One of the videos that surfaced online featured apparent hotel employees standing next to the freezer in question demonstrating how it would have been impossible for Jenkins to close the door from the inside. “She couldn’t have shut this if she tried,” a woman in the video said.
An investigator and lawyer representing Jenkins’ mother, Tereasa Martin, went to the hotel room Tuesday where the teenager was partying with friends in the hours before she went missing. The visit suggested that Martin may be preparing a lawsuit against the hotel. Martin and her legal team “have not responded at all to our offers” to pay for Jenkins’ funeral and make available all of the surveillance footage from the hours surrounding the death, a Crowne Plaza spokesperson told the Chicago Sun Times on Tuesday.
One day earlier, the FBI declined to investigate the case, upsetting Martin and activists who were seeking federal intervention from the agency because of mistrust of the Rosemont and Chicago police departments.
Martin has maintained that the police and hotel should have taken action sooner, which she said may have helped to save her daughter’s life.
“I’m not a professional, but the FBI, from what I heard, they are professionals,” Martin previously told the Chicago Tribune. “I’m just looking for help — that’s all I’ve been asking for since day one.”
An autopsy was conducted the day after Jenkins was found by hotel staff but the results were not expected to be announced for several weeks.