When Kenneka Jenkins’ body was discovered in the walk-in freezer of a Chicago hotel hours after she appeared on Facebook Live at a party social media lit up with theories about how she had met her death.

Follow @totalcrime on Twitter to keep up to date with all the latest crime news and trials

by Chris Summers                                                                                                    1 October  2017

Right next door to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport is the dull and slightly jaded suburb of Rosemont, Illinois.

It is a place where nothing much happens.

But in the last few weeks it has been the talk of the internet.

In the early hours of September 10, the body of 19-year-old Kenneka Jenkins was found in a walk-in freezer in a kitchen on the ninth floor of the Crowne Plaza Chicago O’Hare Hotel and Conference Center.

An autopsy later that day failed to identify the cause of death but almost immediately Facebook, Twitter and Instagram lit up as conspiracy theories and rumours started circulating about the pretty teenager’s demise.

Many of these were circulated by Jenkins’ friends and some went into great detail about who was involved in her rape and murder.

A Facebook Live video – which had been taken on the night of the party – also shed an eerie light on the case.

It featured Irene Roberts, a woman who has been accused of being at the center of the case, singing to music while wearing sunglasses in a hotel room.

Throughout the six-minute video, two men’s voices can be heard and what sounds like a woman crying.

A few days later Rosemont’s Mayor Brad Stephens criticized people for trying the case on social media and said: “It’s unfortunate that some of that stuff is convoluting the investigation because all those leads have got to be followed up on.”

Twelve people were said to be “involved in some way” in the incident and one of the rumours doing the rounds was that Kenneka had been lured to her death by a friend, who was allegedly paid just $200 to get her drunk enough to be targeted.

But video has since emerged which showed Kenneka wandering alone in the corridors and kitchen of the hotel, apparently the worse for wear.

So what do we know for definite?

Well, on September 8 Kenneka was invited to a party on the ninth floor of the hotel with her friends.

One friend, Monifah Shelton, said she left her mobile phone in the room as the group was leaving. They went back to get it and when they returned to the hallway she had disappeared.

Kenneka’s mother, Teresa Martin, arrived at the hotel at 5am on September 9 but hotel staff refused to look at surveillance footage from inside the hotel until a missing person report was filed.

Eventually, at 10pm that day, they agreed to look at the footage and spotted Kenneka “staggering drunk” by the front desk shortly after she went missing.

Eventually, just before 1am on September 10 her body was found in the freezer.

But the freezer is reportedly very hard to open, as it has two large doors, and social media speculators said there was no way she could have accidentally wandered in there on her own.

Roberts handed herself in to police, has been interviewed and released.

Kenneka was buried on Saturday, September 30.

Nobody has so far been charged and activists have been protesting in Rosemont, calling for the FBI to be called in.





  1. Many thanks to Blaine Pardoe and Victoria Hester for their hard work in researching and writing “A Special Kind of Evil: The Colonial Parkway Serial Killings.” The Colonial Parkway Murders families very much appreciate your support. For our friends in the FBI, National Park Service and the Virginia State Police, it is your move.

    Bill Thomas
    Brother of Cathy Thomas
    Los Angeles, CA

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s