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Chicago police investigate bizarre death of teenager Kenneka Jenkins


On Sunday morning, 19-year-old Kenneka Jenkins was found dead in a walk-in freezer at the Crowne Plaza Chicago O’Hare Hotel & Conference Center in Rosemont, Ill. where she had been partying with friends the night before. Jenkins’ body was found about 20 hours after she was first reported missing.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Becky Schlikerman, a spokeswoman for the medical examiner’s office stated, “Jenkins’ mother, Teresa Martin, said police told her Jenkins apparently let herself into the freezer while inebriated and died inside.” An autopsy was performed Sept. 10 but it wasn’t immediately clear whether foul play was suspected.

Friends on social media have accused Kenneka’s best friend, Monifah Shelton, and another woman, Irene Roberts, of luring Kenneka to a 9th-floor hotel room. The women allegedly tricked Kenneka into consuming a large amount of alcoholic drinks and invited three men to take advantage of her sexually for $200. Roberts and Shelton are reportedly good friends, as the latter invited Jenkins to the party. The assailants have not been identified according to the Chicago Police Department. Not long after Jenkins’ death was reported, Roberts reportedly deactivated her Facebook page. However, she has since reactivated it and has not made mention of Jenkins.

The Chicago Tribune reported that the last contact Jenkins had with her family was at 1:30 a.m. Sept. 9 by phone. The Facebook video was streamed six minutes later. Police reportedly told Jenkins’ mother that her daughter was seen on surveillance video “staggering drunk near the front desk,” the Tribune reported. At 4 a.m., her friends called her mother to say she was missing. By 5 a.m., the mother was at the hotel but was told she needed a missing person’s report, and by 1:15 p.m., police began searching for the teen. At 12:25 a.m. Sept. 10, Jenkins was found dead in the walk-in freezer, the Tribune reported. The Tribune added, “Jenkins’ family said they were initially told by police that Jenkins apparently let herself into the freezer while drunk and died inside. But a police spokesman said on Monday that nothing has been ruled out.”

Since the incident, both Shelton and Roberts have been active on social media. Shelton has posted several messages on her Facebook page indicating her innocence and that she had nothing to do with the death of Jenkins. A video was posted on YouTube on Monday that reportedly shows Roberts at the police station.