Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you’ve heard about Ken’neka Jenkins (Martin) from Chicago. She was a 19-year-old girl who went to a party at the Crowne Plaza in Rosemont IL. By all accounts, Kenneka wasn’t supposed to be at this party but was persuaded to go by her friend Irene Roberts, it was her 19th birthday. Kenneka died, alone in a freezer. She wasn’t found for 21 hours.
The purpose of this blog is two-fold. First, as a parent, I became so involved in why and how this girl died. Second, if there was a plot behind all of this, I wanted to understand why. My desire to see justice sometimes overrides my sensibility. There are countless theories flying around social media. YouTube users have spoken on every theory imaginable. Facebook users are scanning all and every profile ever connected to Kenneka. I’ve done my best not to fall down the rabbit hole entirely. I am using footage from the hotel, accounts from family and friends to piece this together.
Much of the ladies social media has been deleted. There are various screenshots of deleted posts all over Facebook, Instagram and Youtube. I won’t detail all of that here.
Kenneka goes to the hotel room that is filled without about 40 teens/young adults. They had 2 rooms. Several people went “live” on Facebook during this time, Irene and Ty Rowland’s have been the most analyzed and shared. People used software to get clearer images from Irene’s sunglasses. They did voice analyzation to clear up the audio. Many said they heard Kenneka being raped during Irene’s live video.
During the initial look at this case, the fingers all seemed to point to Irene, Monifah and a few of the guys who attended the party. Some said Kenneka was killed by the men, set up by her friends, killed because of rival gangs….the theories were all over the place. I gave that some thought and let it simmer for a while.
Another theory was her mom “sacrificed” her. This seems very far-fetched to me. I still cannot get onboard with that story.
One theory that could be almost believable is that the hotel found her and tried to cover it up. Why would I believe this? The area that Kenneka was found in is being leased to the Murray family (Bill Murray of Caddyshack) to open up a Caddyshack themed restaurant. That means money lost and bad publicity. Additionally, the police told Ms. Martin her daughter Kenneka was seen stumbling past the lobby’s front desk at 3:20am. Over 36 hours of footage was released covering the time periods of 9/8/17 through 9/10/17. I’ve watched the lobby videos at least 20 times. There is no 3:20 am. There is a 3:19am that skips to 3:21am. If the police saw Kenneka at 3:20am, why wasn’t that specific part released?
The timeline of events:
Kenneka’s mom Tereasa Martin states that she was going bowling to celebrate a new job at a nursing home. She left home at 11:30 PM on 9/8/17. At 12:11 AM on 9/9 Kenneka is seen walking through the Crowne Plaza Hotel parking lot with Shamaya Winder, Monifah Shelton and Abreonna Mays. The walk into the hotel at 12:13 AM. This fits with the length of time it takes to get from Kenneka’s house to the Crowne Plaza.
Before we begin:
There have been many discrepancies around the two different times shown on some videos. There is a upper left time and an upper right time as well as a time in the middle bottom. I’ve checked what time the sun rose in Chicago on 9/10/17 and compared it to video from the hotel. As you can see, the sun rose at 6:26 am. If you look at the comparison of 5:26 AM and 6:26 am, it’s clear the upper right and middle are correct.
September 7th, 2017, two people arrive at the hotel to book the rooms for the party on the 9th. We have come to find out the credit card was stolen and there are warrants out for the arrest of the young lady who used the card. Her name is Shaniqua Watkins. Photo below.
September 8th, 2017: Kenneka leaves home at 11:30 PM.
She arrives at the Crowne Plaza (approx. 30 to 40 mins from home) at 1:11 AM (house is approx 30 to 40 mins away. She may have picked up her friends before arriving).
Irene Roberts goes live sometime during the party. The account of the times she went live aren’t set in stone. It has been deleted from the original page (Monifah Shelton’s FB page). We believe she went live a few times between 12:55 am and almost 2 am. Kenneka isn’t seen in these videos but you can hear her (allegedly) in the background.
Ty Rowland also goes live during the party. Kenneka is seen in this video. We believe he is live closer to 2:30 am. Kenneka is standing up wearing the blue jean jacket, her hair is in front of her. At this point, she is holding her phone.
Based off of the footage the hotel released to the police, Kenneka was stumbling around the hallways. She is very close to the lobby at many points during the video. Unfortunately, she never makes it in front of the lobby camera despite the police claims that she does. You can watch the entire lobby video for that time here: Lobby Video
The story is told that Shamaya and Monifah leave with Kenneka. Kenneka realizes she left her phone inside so Shamaya offers to go get it. Monifah stays with Kenneka. Shortly afterward Monifah enters the room alone. When questioned she says Kenneka wandered off. Most of the group think she’s “playing” and don’t go look for her. Others do. You can see them walking around from around 3:30 am until almost 5:45 am.
Here is BreBre walking past the very steps that lead to where Kenneka is.
Around 4am, one of the girls calls Ms. Martin to let her know they’ve lost sight of Kenneka. Ms. Martin says she got herself together, the “friend” brought her the car and she went straight to the hotel. She calls the police from outside of the hotel. She tells them she went inside and they could not help her, would not let her view the videos and told her to file a police report. I understand this. She could have been anyone and they cannot turn over video files without authorization.
You can listen to the 911 call here (please disregard the officer finding Kenneka in the freezer, many videos have been edited to add that part in, it happened later). 911 call
We see Ms. Martin arrive at 6:52 am. Not at 5 am as she told the media. Why there is such a large time gap, we do not know. Did she drop the friends off at home? If that were your child would you take the time to go drop people off?
A police report was filed at 1:16 PM by Kenneka’s older sister Leonore Harris on 9/9/17.
News reports state that Ms. Martin and her daughter Leonore return to the hotel at 6 PM and begin knocking on doors trying to find out where Kenneka is. It’s been said they asked her to leave and began looking at the video footage in earnest. Around 10pm she was notified that Kenneka had been seen in the front lobby staggering. No such footage can be found.
We see the police arrive at the hotel somewhere around midnight on the 9th. At 12:24 am (10th) we see a person who is employed by the hotel arrive in the kitchen (we presume he’d been watching the videos and went to look down there). He discovers Kenneka in a freezer and goes to get a police officer. The office enters the scene at 12:25 am. We see the officer get a box of oil to prop the door open. (Many were wondering if he was carrying a bag and if so, why wasn’t it in his hand upon return).
The officer who calls in Kenneka’s death says she is “frozen solid”. This will be discussed later.
We then see many officers come into the kitchen and begin going to the freezer. Kenneka is pronounced dead at 12:48 am. Ms. Martin and Ms. Harris aren’t able to view Kenneka’s body until 5:07 am. They were told Kenneka was found inside a cooler that housed a freezer. She was in the freezer laying facedown. The sister has said her sister looked like she’d been fighting, her hair was everywhere and water was all over her head (assuming from the turning off of the freezer). But the sister also said the freezer was warm and there was 1 ice cube on the floor. So, the question is, was the freezer on or off?
The reaction of the mom and sister has many questioning what is going on. Both seem to just stare. Perhaps they are shocked? Maybe they’ve waited all this time and are just exhausted? Maybe something else is going on. We do not know the answers to that.
Ms. Martin later is interviewed by the media. You can view that here: Ms Martin interview
Photos of the freezer and cooler area.
Quickly after this interview, a protest began to form and the story of Kenneka’s death went viral. There are Facebook groups with over 30k people in them. People were outraged and still are, for good reason. This young girl needlessly lost her life. People want to know why. The protests drew almost 2,000 people some days. Then quite abruptly the protests were called off. The official story is Ms. Martin felt that the main protestor, Jedidiah Brown had issues with a girl at the protest. Rumors flew. Soon there was a new allegation, the Freedom Fighters (Mr. Brown’s group) had started a fund to help bail people out (some were arrested), feed them and help with travel. They contend Ms. Martin always knew of this fund. Ms. Martin says she didn’t and it’s irrelevant but many times refers to it. Many of the protestors were extremely upset over the canceling of the protests as they all felt the pressure on the hotel was working and unedited tapes would soon be released. A few days later Ms. Martin did a Facebook live video where she strangely says she was advised by activist Andrew Holmes to stop the protests because the hotel was losing money. I find that strange because isn’t that the goal? To financially cripple the hotel until they give you what you’ve been seeking? In any case, the video was very odd to many. Today the protest continue but in very small numbers.
Kenneka was laid to rest on Sept 30th. Her funeral was attended by thousands. On the same day, the long-awaited autopsy came out. You can read it in full here: Autopsy
This wasn’t the first autopsy. We initially heard the autopsy was “inconclusive”. We’ve also heard that the mom has ordered a private autopsy. We are unable to confirm this.
- Her alcohol level was .112 (higher than the legal driving limit of .08 and Topiramate was found in her system. That is a drug used for epilepsy and migraine preventative drug. Kenneka had neither condition. It is not used for common headaches.
- Her brain was swollen but said to have not contributed to her cause of death. I’ve read that hypothermia can cause a brain to swell but I’ve already read cold temps can reduce swelling.
- She had an abrasion and a contusion on her right leg.
- The lividity was on her left side (not on her front which is odd since she was said to be laying face down).
- The lividity was red/purple. In cases of hypothermia, I’ve read it should be a bright pink.
- She died of hypothermia.
- Her thymus wasn’t present
- Her kidney weights seemed off for a girl who weighs 159 lbs
- Her right middle lobe (lung) was missing
- She was missing one shoe (she had both when she walked in but perhaps they mean she was wearing one shoe).
I’ve got a lot of problems with this case. The story. The behaviors of the mom and the friends. I have tried to consider that they live in a different world. Gangs run rampant and they’ve seen a lot. One of Kenneka’s brothers is in prison currently. It’s rumored another brother is dead although I haven’t confirmed that. Her sister’s children’s dad was also gunned down. These aren’t weak or fragile people. After going through so much perhaps you become numb to tragedy? I do not know and I cannot judge them so I will just say my reaction to this situation would have been much different.
- Why wasn’t the hotel more careful with locks on freezers? Many of the others had locks but not this one.
- Why wasn’t the camera over the freezer working? All of the others leading there were. How long had it been broken?
- If this area was to be rented to the Murray brothers and was under construction, where is the construction equipment? Why wasn’t it off limits?
- How did Kenneka’s friends “lose” her in a matter of moments?
- When did they call Ms. Martin?
- Who brought Ms. Martin her car?
- Why did it take so long for Ms. Martin to arrive at the hotel?
- Why wasn’t this treated as a crime scene from the moment Kenneka was found? (gloves, tape etc)
- Where is the lobby footage from 3:20 am?
- Why isn’t the lividity consistent?
- Where did she get Topiramate? Has everyone’s medical history been checked to see who had this drug and how she may have gotten it?
- All of her friends say she drank 1 cup of liquor yet her alcohol level was much higher.
- Organ harvesting. Chicago has been involved in some serious organ harvesting scandals – 2014 and 2017.
- Protecting the hotel and the new restaurant (money and publicity)
- Mom has been paid off or will be (which is why she’s staying so silent and peaceful about everything.
- Someone did slip her that drug in hopes she’d be disoriented. Monifah and Shamaya got her out of there before anything happened but then Monifah somehow lost track of her and she walked into that freezer alone.
- If I were to co-sign any theory that was out there, I’d use this site as my reference. They were on it day 1 and claim to have spoken to hotel employees. Bazaardaily.co.uk
Theories that make no sense:
- Friends sold her for $200. Too much involved. We see her walking down the hallway after the live videos. We see her walk through the kitchen. No one in her family has claimed that isn’t her in the videos so why are we?
- She died on the 6th, not the 9th. Why hadn’t she been reported missing sooner? Where are the posts, searches, police reports from the 6th? Yes, one cousin posts on the 9th at 4:38 pm that Kenneka has been missing since “yesterday” but it’s 13 hours later…so maybe a simple error.
- Her friends set her up because she was prettier. I won’t even entertain that.
- Her mom “sacrificed her”. Show me the proof. All I’ve seen so far are very strange YouTube videos that have no proof and a lot of talking.
- The friends set her up and accidentally killed her. Possible but think for a moment. How do 40 kids keep 1 story straight? They don’t. They can’t. Someone would have talked by now, plus, no motive.
- Her friends were involved in the organ harvesting scam. Sorry but there is no way I am risking my life in prison by hiring a bunch of kids to help me get organs. These kids have nothing to gain by doing this. The theory makes little sense.
- Baby mama / Baby daddy drama. Kenneka wasn’t supposed to go to the party. If this was a plan to kill her, then it wasn’t well thought out. We know that many of the kids in the same crowd have dated or have kids with others that dated their friends/ex-friends. Could it be possible, sure but that person would have to have involved 40 others in an effort to cover the murder. Again, I believe in loyalty but to this level? No.
All I can say is I’ve invested a ton of time into trying to find out what happened to this baby and I haven’t been able to come up with anything solid at all. I don’t like to deal with “what if’s” – I need facts, photos, and videos that show me something before I can condemn someone for murder. If you’ve got solid information, I’d love to hear it.
I did call Rosemont PD on Saturday, 10/14. I was told they are still on the case. They haven’t closed it and should be releasing info soon (they did not release the info circulating around the net on 10/13)
Slideshow of photos: