Kenneka Jenkins’ Mother Will Get a Legal Settlement Six Years After Teen’s Death In Chicago Hotel Freezer. Here’s a Look at the Footage That Led to ‘Widespread Speculation’ About Her Death

Kenneka Jenkins’ estate reached a settlement with Crowne Plaza O’Hare Hotel six years after her hypothermia death in the hotel’s walk-in freezer in September 2017.

Video footage captured the young woman, who was supposed to be attending a party, wandering into a private section that should not have been easily accessed by guests.

Kenneka Jenkins’ Mother Fights to Keep Settlement Agreement Private Six Years After Teen’s Death In Chicago Hotel Freezer
Kenneka Jenkins disappeared while attending a hotel party, her friends said. (YouTube screenshot/Kenneka Jenkins)

Tereasa Martin, the young woman’s mother, filed a lawsuit in December 2018 against the hotel, its security firm, and the restaurant that rented the freezer at the site in the Chicago suburb of Rosemont. She was joined by two other parties in the lawsuit, and they reportedly settled as well, according to Cook County records.

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Martin’s complaint alleged negligence on their part, asserting that they failed to adequately secure the freezer and conduct a proper search when the 19-year-old was reported missing. According to the lawsuit, Jenkins’ body was found on Sept. 10, 2017, about 24 hours after her family had alerted both the hotel and the police about her disappearance.

The lawsuit was filed for $50 million in damages. A settlement in Jenkins’ case was reached in August but hasn’t been entered in court records due to Martin’s request for confidentiality.

The mother, her attorneys, and the other two plaintiffs in the case cited privacy and safety concerns as the reasons they didn’t want the agreement to be made public. Martin believed that their privacy was more important than making the information public.

“The widespread publicity of this case, including uncontrolled speculation and social media commentary, has resulted in various threats made against various individuals in the case, including, but not limited to, Petitioner, witnesses, and Defendants in this matter,” one of Martin’s lawyers wrote, according to the Associated Press.

“Due to public interest and scrutiny, all parties agree that the confidential terms, including settlement amounts, are in the best interest of all parties involved, including the Petitioner and the Defendants.”

However, on Tuesday, Oct. 3, Judge Thomas Cushing denied the request but encouraged her and her legal team to resubmit the query. A status hearing is scheduled for next week, with the trial set for October 16 to argue their point in court.

Jenkins’ death devastated the family, with family members believing there may have been foul play. A police investigation concluded that this was not the case.

Video footage captured Jenkins leaving the party of 30 people in a room on the hotel’s ninth floor and going to the lobby before her friends left her there alone as they went back to the room to retrieve belongings she had left behind.


Alone and apparently disoriented, she then began walking through the hotel by herself. Once she reached the area where the kitchen was, she walked in and out of the surveillance camera frame.

Jenkins had been drinking, as multiple medical examiners explained. The alcohol, combined with the medication she was taking to treat epilepsy and migraines, played a major role in her mental state before she died.

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