Kenneka Jenkins‘ mother has renewed her claims of a “cover up” in the death of her daughter at a suburban Chicago hotel last month. Tereasa Martin was protesting outside the Crowne Plaza hotel in Rosemont on Tuesday for a second straight night, just days after thousands attended her daughter’s funeral and less than a week after she called for the protests to end.
Martin led chants of “tear it down” and “justice for Kenneka” that were directed at the hotel, as shown on a series of Facebook videos that she streamed live from the protests both nights. She also called again for the FBI to either join or take over the local police investigation, which hasn’t announced a cause of death, a suspect or a motive more than three weeks after Jenkins was found dead in a walk-in storage freezer. Results were still pending from an autopsy conducted the day after Jenkins was found.
Martin also called for authorities to “release the tape,” a reference to the hotel’s surveillance footage that showed Jenkins staggering around before making her way into the kitchen where the freezer was. Supporters of Jenkins have cried foul over the fact that there is no footage showing the 19-year-old actually entering the freezer.
The hotel has maintained that there was no camera trained on the freezer to capture that footage and police have said video of Jenkins walking into the freezer does not exist.
This week’s protests followed Martin’s call for them to end last week when she alleged an activist central to the demonstrations was profiting from her daughter’s death.
“I’m ending y’all’s agendas that’s not righteous toward my child,” she said at the time.
Following Jenkins’ emotional sendoff on Saturday, Martin appeared to be more vocal than ever in her quest to find justice for her daughter.
Jenkins was found in the early morning of September 9, hours after her disappearance was reported to hotel staff and police, neither of which took immediate action. Martin has said that if either had shown more of a sense of urgency, her daughter’s life may have been saved.
Acknowledging Rosemont police’s checkered past, Martin has repeatedly pleaded for the FBI to lead the investigation. Despite those calls along with an online petition to have the FBI intervene nearing its goal of 50,000 signatures, Rosemont police announced last month that the FBI would not be investigating.