A 19-year-old Illinois woman was found dead in a freezer at a hotel in a Chicago suburb.
Hotel employees found Kenneka Jenkins' body inside the freezer of the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Rosemont on Sept. 10, according to WPIX. Jenkins' cause of death has reportedly yet to be confirmed following her autopsy.
Friends called Jenkins' mother to say that she had gone missing after she had been celebrating a new job at a nursing home. Jenkins was last seen at a party at the hotel in the early hours of Sept. 9.
After Jenkins' friends contacted Jenkins' mother, Teresa Martin, Martin called authorities. The mom said 911 dispatchers told her to wait longer because her daughter could just be out with other friends.
"We were begging for help, and no one was helping," said Martin.
"If they had taken me seriously and checked right away, they could have found my daughter much sooner and she might have been alive," she said.
Martin added that police said Jenkins had gone into the freezer herself when she was intoxicated, but Martin believes that her daughter would have had trouble opening the heavy doors and would have realized she wasn't walking into an elevator.
"Those were double steel doors, she didn't just pop them open," Martin said.
"I believe someone in this hotel killed my child," said the mom.
The freezer was not being used to store food, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports.
"There is some construction activity where a new restaurant is being built, and [Jenkins was found] in that vicinity," said village of Rosement spokesman Gary Mack. "This is not an area where anyone would typically be who was a guest in the hotel."
Martin said she had gone around 5 a.m. on Sept. 9 to search for her daughter, but hotel staff would not help her without a missing persons report. That afternoon, police reviewed video footage that led to Jenkins' body being found.
Around 10 p.m. on Sept. 9, police told Jenkins' family that video footage had shown her "staggering" drunk near the hotel's front desk around 3:20 a.m.
Mack said of the search for Jenkins, "the hotel staff and management [were] actively canvassing the area at that time."
"Anyone can understand how a parent can feel distraught over the loss of a child and feel the need to lash out due to the tremendous pain they're feeling, and we can certainly understand that," said Mack.
"But people can rest assured Rosemont is one of the top, highest trained, most respected police departments in the state of Illinois and does a good job at what they do," he added. "Every situation has a lot of variables, and certainly this one did. The hotel has probably never seen anything like this, either, I would imagine."
Martin has questioned Jenkins' friends as to their recollections of the events leading up to Jenkins' disappearance, saying that their "stories changed over and over."
On Sept. 10, Martin told reporters she was "horrified" about what had happened, according to the Chicago Tribune.
"It's something that no one could ever imagine," the mom said. "It's unbelievable."