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7 things to know about Kenneka Jenkins, whose body was found in a hotel freezer

Published: Friday, September 15, 2017 @ 3:33 PM
Updated: Saturday, October 07, 2017 @ 1:45 PM

Missing Chicago Teen Found Dead Inside Hotel Freezer

This story has been updated to reflect new details in the Kenneka Jenkins case.

The mysterious death of Kenneka Jenkins, 19, who was found dead in the freezer of a suburban hotel, has sparked national outcry and questions about the circumstances surrounding her death.

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The teenager left her home for a party Sept. 8, according to the Chicago Tribune. After her mother, Tereasa Martin, demanded hotel staff search for her daughter, Jenkins body was found in the hotel freezer of Crowne Plaza Chicago O'Hare Hotel & Conference Center in Rosemont, Illinois.

1. Autopsy results released Friday determined that Kenneka Jenkins death was an accident.

Cook County medical examiner’s office has determined the cause of Kenneka Jenkins’ death at the Crowne Plaza Hotel on Sept. 10, the Chicago Tribune reported.The 19-year-old died from hypothermia due to exposure in the hotel’s walk-in freezer, according to the results released Friday. The freezer Jenkins was found in was capable of getting to a temperature of 8 degrees, the medical examiner's office noted.

In addition to freezing exposure, alcohol intoxication and the use of topiramate, a drug known for treating epilepsy and migraines were “contributing factors.” Her family said Jenkins had not been prescribed topiramate, but the level of the drug was within therapuetic range.

The office also found mucosal erosions, a type of lesion, that indicated Jenkins had suffered from hypothermia and an abrasion on her right ankle. The autopsy results showed her brain was swollen, but that finding does not indicate a specific cause of death, according to the autopsy.

Her blood alcohol level was 0.112, higher than the legal limit of 0.08 for legally driving. The alcohol and the drug can enhance each other, the office said.

Last month, Jenkins’ mother was convinced that the delay in investigating her daughter’s death could have made a difference. It’s not clear who found Jenkins or if there were any signs of trauma.

"If they had taken me seriously and checked right away, they could have found my daughter much sooner and she might have been alive," Martin said.

2. Police believe Kenneka walked herself into the freezer where her body was found the morning of Sept. 10. Rosemont police have rejected calls for FBI to get involved with the Jenkins case.

Kenneka Jenkins was pronounced dead at 12:48 a.m. Sunday. Police informed  Martin and other family members after 1 a.m. Sunday, that Kenneka’s body was found in a walk-in freezer at the Crowne Plaza, according to the Tribune. Police told Martin that her daughter was inebriated and likely stumbled into the freezer, which was not being used to store food, on her own.

Rosemont police officials announced they would continue investigating Kenneka Jenkins death without support from the FBI. During a weekend vigil for Jenkins, Martin and others called for the FBI to open a federal investigation into what happened the night of Jenkins death, according to Newsweek.

“This investigation has been and remains the utmost priority for us,” said Chief Donald Stephens III. “Throughout this investigation we have used any and all outside agencies necessary to complete a thorough investigation and will continue to do so as needed.

On Sept. 15, Police released Crown Plaza hotel footage of Jenkins apparently staggering through the hotel hallways, stumbling into a stairwell and, lastly, wandering into the hotel’s kitchen. The video footage, pieced together by the Chicago Tribune, can be found here. The video clips released do not show Jenkins entering the walk-in freezer where her body was found. However, the security video appears to be captured by a motion-activated camera, which did not display anyone coming into the area until her body was found.

3. Kenneka Jenkins’ funeral drew thousands of mourners from across the country.

Mourners gathered at Chicago’s House of Hope Saturday, expressing their deepest grief and fondest memories of the 19-year-old during the 2 ½-hour service. 

Friends, relatives and complete strangers processioned pass Kenneka Jenkins open casket, which was surrounded by modest flower bouquets on either side. Her loved ones  honored Jenkins during the service by donning purple or wearing tribute shirts that read “Justice for Kenneka.” Though little was revealed about Jenkins’ life during the funeral, a poignant poem read by her nieces touched on their relationship with her. “Every time I feel upset she makes me feel like a princess. Neka was so funny she would make me cry,” one of her nieces said during the service.

House of Hope pastor Rev. James Meeks comforted those in attendance and sought to keep the service protected from the media frenzy that has surrounded Jenkins’ death. His staff monitored social media throughout the service to ensure no one live-streamed.

More than 1,000 people attended the service, including those like Denise Mitchell, who did not know Jenkins but was moved by her mysterious death. 

"We've been following this ever since it happened — crying, staying up late at night — it's heartbreaking. It feels like a relative," Mitchell told the Tribune.

4. According to CBS Chicago, there is no video of Kenneka Jenkins entering the hotel freezer, where her body was found. 

According to a spokesperson for the Crowne Plaza Hotel, there is no footage available of Kenneka Jenkins walking into the hotel freezer, CBS Chicago reported Wednesday. The Rosemont, Illinois, hotel does not have a “video camera trained on the freezer,” where Jenkins body was found, the station reported. The video clips released show Jenkins roaming around the hotel for more than an hour.

Earlier this month, an attorney for Jenkins mother, Tereasa Martin, demanded extensive hotel footage. Family attorney Larry Rogers Jr. said the family had only been given “snippets” from the surveillance footage.

“The family has not been provided any video or other evidence of Kenneka Jenkins walking into a freezer,” Larry Rogers Jr. said in a statement. “Serious questions remain as to how she ended up in a Crowne Plaza Hotel freezer and why it took a day and a half for the hotel to find Kenneka.”

During a protest in honor of Jenkins, Martin also said she had not seen surveillance footage to prove that her daughter walked into the hotel’s freezer alone.

"I want to see her literally, actually walking into this freezer,"  Martin said last week. 

 

5. On Oct. 6,  Rosemont police announced though “no sign of foul play exists,” they are still investigating Jenkins’ death and looking for two individuals that checked in the hotel for the party.

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Trump to meet House GOP amid furor over immigrant families

Published: Tuesday, June 19, 2018 @ 4:15 AM

As President Donald Trump lashed out at Democrats on Monday, demanding again that Congress act to tighten federal immigration laws, more Republicans in the Congress began to distance themselves from a recent Trump Administration policy change, which has resulted in the separation of some 2,200 illegal immigrant families detained by border authorities.

“As the son of a social worker, I know the human trauma that comes with children being separated from their parents,” said Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-KS), as he asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions to “take immediate action to end the practice of separating children from families at the border.”

“We as compassionate Americans absolutely detest watching families being pulled apart,” said Sen. James Lankford (R-OK), who in a speech on the Senate floor said on one hand the President is correct to call for action in Congress on immigration – but that the Trump Administration has been wrong to separate so many families in the last six weeks, labeling the situation “a mess.”

At the White House, the President didn’t shy away from the controversy, again blaming Congress for not acting, and making it clear he wants to stop a recent surge in illegal immigration across the southern border.

“The United States will not be a migrant camp and it will not be a refugee holding facility,” the President said. “Not on my watch.”

The President will take that sharp message on Tuesday evening to a meeting of House Republicans at the Capitol, trying to rally them to get behind a piece of immigration legislation, which could solve a series of issues.

GOP leaders though have been trying for months to figure out a deal, but have found the party too splintered over what to do on DACA, younger illegal immigrant “Dreamers,” and ways to tighten what Mr. Trump says are odious loopholes in immigration law.

“A county without borders is not a country at all,’ the President declared, as he said that illegal immigrants are bringing “death and destruction” to America.

“They are thieves and murderers and so much else,” Mr. Trump added.

But Mr. Trump’s criticism of Democrats and Congress has drawn more opposition in recent days from within his own party, who feel the White House is wrongly trying to use the plight of immigrant children to force through immigration law changes.

“President Trump has chosen to implement this policy and he can put an end to it,” said Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), “but he chooses not to do so and instead blames others.”

“The administration has the power to rescind this policy. It should do so now,” said Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) via Twitter.

While Mr. Trump has repeatedly blamed Democrats for the separation of families, it was the Trump Administration that decided to take this step in early May, by prosecuting adults for illegally entering the country.

That move to enforce the law triggers a situation in which children are removed from their parents, leading to the uproar of recent days.

“This is the Trump administration’s policy,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). “President Trump could put an end to this immoral policy right now.”

Republicans have floated various ideas in recent days – it wasn’t clear if any could make it through the House, as immigration has vexed GOP lawmakers for years, as this latest battle has turned up the heat even more.

“It’s not good policy to separate children at our border from their parents & release them into the US,” said Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY). “It’s also not good policy to just immediately release an entire family together into the US when that family enters our country illegally.”

 

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Video: Florida family saves kitten from interstate

Published: Monday, June 18, 2018 @ 11:51 PM

I-95 (File photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Joe Raedle/Getty Images
I-95 (File photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)(Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

A Jacksonville, Florida, family saved a kitten from the side of a freeway Sunday.

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Rebecca Marshall rescued the kitten, while her daughter, Allison Bullard, caught the entire event on video.

The rescue happened where I-95 North nears the Zoo Parkway.

Marshall said she was looking out the window when she spotted the kitten.

“We hurried and got off the exit and turned around,” Marshall said. “I was scared to death it’d be hit by a car or something by then.”

Bullard started to record, and nearly two agonizing minutes went by before they were able to get to the kitten.

“We were so scared he was going to run into traffic,” Bullard said. “He just ran straight ahead, it was scary.”

The kitten darted, but Marshall was able to catch up to it as it was trying to get into a storm drain.

“I just threw the towel over him and that was it, I caught him,” Marshall said.

The family wasn’t sure how the kitten ended up there.

Thankfully, the kitten from the incident should be fine.

“My dad, he noticed that we found him on Mile Marker 357, so we decided to name him Magnum, like the gun,” Bullard said.

They're bringing Magnum to the Jacksonville Humane Society on Tuesday.

“I knew that I was in danger the whole time, scared to death,” Marshall said. “But, I can’t just leave an innocent life.”

“So, it was worth it?” Action News Jax Reporter Russell Colburn asked

“It was worth it,” Marshall replied. “I’d do it again in a heartbeat.”

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Father and son re-create police photo for Father's Day

Published: Monday, June 18, 2018 @ 10:48 PM

Auburn Police Officer Andy Gould and his son in 1998 and 2018. (Auburn Police Department via KIRO7.com)
Auburn Police Officer Andy Gould and his son in 1998 and 2018. (Auburn Police Department via KIRO7.com)

In Auburn, Washington, a son who followed his father into law enforcement recreated a 20-year-old photo with his dad, and the photo has generated hundreds of positive comments on Facebook. 

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Officer Andy Gould and his son were pictured in 1998 inside Gould’s Auburn police patrol car. 

“When I get bigger, I’m going to be my Dad’s partner and catch bad guys and burglars,” the caption with the photo read.

The photo taken two decades later on Father’s Day shows Gould’s son in the same spot – though it was a little tighter fitting his son’s 6-foot-7 frame. Though they’re not technically partners, Gould’s son followed him into law enforcement as a King County Sheriff’s deputy.

See the photo and the Auburn Police Department’s Facebook post below. Gould also was named Law Enforcement Officer of the Year 2012 by the Auburn VFW Post 1741. 

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SEE: Image of Trump in the clouds really does look like him

Published: Monday, June 18, 2018 @ 10:52 PM



Pixabay
(Pixabay)

Who hasn’t played the cloud game? It’s a rite of childhood, but usually the fluffy white clouds tend to look like familiar shapes and objects. 

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For a South Carolina man, it was quite different.

AJ Brackins snapped a photo of a giant dark cloud that resembled a profile of President Donald Trump and posted it to Facebook last Thursday.

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The cloud really does bear an uncanny resemblance to the president.

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