On September 10, Kenneka Jenkins and her friends decided to go to a party at Crowne Plaza. Jenkins lied to her recently hospitalized mother, Teresa Martin about her whereabouts and who she was going to be around. This was the last thing Kenneka Jenkins ever told her mom because that was the last night she was seen alive.
Once Jenkins and her friends got to the Crowne Plaza, around 30 or more people converged on a hotel room for a night of partying. Kenneka and the girls she went to the hotel with were underage and drinking, even though they shouldn’t have been. Neighboring guests at the Crowne Plaza complained about how loud the room was while the party roared on. An hour after arriving, the girls started going to the elevator to leave the party. Regardless of what happened at the party, as Kenneka and the girls reached the elevator, Kenneka realized she left her phone and car keys in the hotel room. Her three friends decided to leave Kenneka by the elevator and go back to the hotel room in order to recover her missing items. However, when they returned to the elevator, Kenneka Jenkins was gone.
Did Kenneka get tired of waiting for her friends by the elevator or did something cause Jenkins to abandon the elevator in fear for her life? Kenneka's friends tried to look for her for a couple of hours but to no avail. Left with no other options, the young partiers ended up calling Kenneka's mom around 3 AM to let her know that they couldn’t find her daughter.
Teresa Martin ended up checking out of the hospital against doctor’s orders and went to the Crowne Plaza to take up the search for her missing daughter. Martin went to the hotel receptionist and told her Kenneka was missing and despite the seriousness of the situation, the receptionist didn’t take Martin's concerns seriously.
Martin ended going to a floor of the hotel to look for Kenneka after speaking to the receptionist but turned up nothing. The surveillance footage showed that Kenneka could have possibly wandered around the hotel because she was intoxicated. However, Martin was denied possession of the surveillance cameras and was told to file a missing person report.
Teresa Martin called the police and tried to file a missing person report, but the process was bogged down with red tape. Frustrated with everybody’s lack of concern, Kenneka’s family ended up going to the hotel and pulling fire alarms, and made a lot of noise to get the police's attention. A couple of hours went on; Kenneka was still not found. However, for some reason, a hotel manager went into an unused kitchen area with a walk-in freezer. There, the manager saw Kenneka's body and called the police.
The police, later on, did an investigation. Kenneka had no visible trauma to her body outside of a mark on her foot. In the toxicology report, they found caffeine, alcohol, and a drug called Topamax. Topamax is a drug used to treat people with epilepsy or seizures. It can also be used as a pain reliever. While the final story will not be known but alcohol and drugs were contributing factors to her death.
In conclusion, people should be careful and mindful of their surroundings and friends. While partying and having fun can be appealing to people, it's important to acknowledge, and avoid, the risks.
Header Photo courtesy of Chicago Tribune