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Family of Teenager Who Froze to Death in Hotel Freezer Agrees to $10 Million Settlement


The family of a Chicago 19-year-old woman who froze to death after being accidentally locked in a hotel freezer has reached a legal settlement amounting to $10 million.

The incident occurred in September 2017 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in suburban Rosemont, where the lifeless body of the victim, Kenneka Jenkins, was discovered in a walk-in freezer a day after attending a party. The Cook County medical examiner’s office determined her cause of death as hypothermia.

The examination revealed that alcohol intoxication and the use of a medication for epilepsy and migraines were notable contributing factors to her death. Police-released surveillance videos depicted Jenkins roaming alone through a kitchen area near the freezer at approximately 3:30 a.m. on the day of her disappearance.

In December 2018, her mother, Tereasa Martin, initiated a lawsuit alleging negligence on the part of the hotel, a security company, and a restaurant leasing the freezer. The accusation pointed to their failure to secure the freezer and conduct a thorough search following Jenkins’ disappearance. Initially seeking over $50 million in damages, the lawsuit contended that friends informed Martin around 4 a.m. that Jenkins was missing, prompting a call to the hotel. The lawsuit claimed the hotel assured a review of surveillance footage, but Jenkins’ body remained undiscovered for more than 21 hours after she was believed to have entered the freezer.

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The legal action argued that had the hotel properly monitored security cameras, Jenkins would still be alive.

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