More than a year after her daughter’s body was found in a hotel freezer, Kenneka Jenkins’ mother has announced that she is suing the Rosemont establishment for $50 million dollars in damages.
Tereasa Martin alleges that the Crowne Plaza hotel staff, its security staff and a restaurant at the hotel are responsible for the 19-year-old’s tragic death.
After conducting an autopsy, the Cook County medical examiner’s office ruled that the teen’s death was accidental, citing that she died of hypothermia, with a cocktail of alcohol and a drug used to treat epilepsy and migraines. The report also noted that the freezers “had external handles that must be pulled to open, and both doors were equipped with a circular, functional, internal door opening mechanical,” the New York Post reports.
However, the lawsuit alleges that the freezer Kenneka was found in was not only unsecured, but it lacked proper instructions on how it worked thanks to a faded sticker on the outside of the appliance.
The lawsuit also claims that Jenkins passed several hotel employees while she was wandering the hallways.
“Had Crowne Plaza defendants and employees and/or agents of defendant Capital Security properly intervened when they observed (Jenkins) visibly disoriented, confused and lost within their premises, they would have prevented her from entering the abandoned kitchen and prevented her death,” it says.
In addition, Jenkins and her estate, the lawsuit claims, suffered several damages including “conscious, physical pain and suffering.”
Meanwhile, a spokesman for the hotel said the company intends to “vigorously contest” Martin’s version of events.
“The death of Kenneka Jenkins was a tragedy, but the proximate cause of her death were the unsavory individuals who used a stolen credit card to book a room and host an illegal party which Ms. Jenkins attended,” the spokesman told the Tribune.
Adding, “Those criminals escaped the hotel before police arrived and have never truly been held accountable.”