Family Of Kenneka Jenkins Who Died In A Hotel’s Walk-In Freezer 6 Years Ago Settles Lawsuit For $10 Million

by Gee NY

The family of Kenneka Jenkins, a 19-year-old woman whose tragic death occurred more than six years ago in an Illinois hotel’s walk-in freezer, has reached a $10 million settlement in their lawsuit against the Crowne Plaza Chicago O’Hare Hotel.

Jenkins was discovered in the hotel’s freezer in September 2017 following her attendance at a party.

While authorities initially deemed her death accidental after reviewing surveillance footage and interviewing party attendees, the incident raised questions about the circumstances leading to Jenkins’ demise.

According to the settlement order filed in the Circuit Court of Cook County on Tuesday, Jenkins’ mother, Tereasa Martin, will receive approximately $3.7 million from the settlement.

The remaining funds will be allocated to cover attorney fees, funeral costs, and other expenses related to the case. Two other family members will collectively receive $2.7 million from the settlement fund.

In 2017, a medical examiner ruled Jenkins’ death as accidental, citing hypothermia, cold exposure in the walk-in freezer, and intoxication from ethanol and topiramate.

Topiramate is commonly prescribed for epilepsy and migraines, but Jenkins had not been prescribed the drug, as confirmed by the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office. Additionally, she had blood alcohol levels exceeding the legal driving limit.

Surveillance footage released in 2017 depicted Jenkins staggering through the hotel’s hallways, alone and visibly impaired.

The video showed her exiting an elevator after 3 a.m. and entering a kitchen minutes later. However, the footage did not capture her entry into the cooler and freezer, where she was found nearly 24 hours later.

The lawsuit named not only the hotel’s owners but also the hotel’s security contractor and the restaurant managing the area where Jenkins was discovered. The family alleged that these entities failed to take adequate measures to locate Jenkins after her disappearance.

As part of the settlement reached through three separate mediations, none of the defendants admitted to wrongdoing. The resolution marks a significant development in a case that has been closely followed since Jenkins’ tragic death in 2017.

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