Death of Chicago teen found in hotel freezer ruled an accident

CHICAGO, Illinois (WGN) -- The Cook County Medical Examiner ruled the death of 19-year-old Kenneka Jenkins an accident caused by hypothermia after she entered a walk-in freezer in a Rosemont hotel on September 10, according to a statement released Friday.

The medical examiner said intoxication caused by alcohol and topiramate, a medication used for epilepsy and migraines, were “significant contributing factors” in her death. Her blood alcohol concentration was 0.112, which is higher than the 0.08 BAC typically used to rule if an individual is too drunk to drive. And the medical examiner said the amount of topiramate in her system was within prescription levels, but Jenkins was not prescribed the drug.

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Kenneka Jenkins found dead in hotel freezer
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Kenneka Jenkins found dead in hotel freezer
Kenneka Jenkins

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Teresa Martin, mother of Kenneka Jenkins, listens as attorneys Larry Rogers Jr., left, and Sam Adam Jr., speak on behalf of the Jenkins family during a news conference in downtown Chicago on September 15, 2017. (Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images)
Chicago alderman are moving towards placing a burden on city hotels to prevent another Kenneka Jenkins situation. https://t.co/lnVXtNs8ww
Protesters chant slogans as police officers stand guard at the Crowne Plaza Chicago O'Hare Hotel & Conference Center on September 13, 2017, in Rosemont, Ill. People gathered to protest the handling of the death investigation of Kenneka Jenkins, who was found dead inside a walk-in freezer in a vacant part of the hotel. (John J. Kim/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images)
Surrounded by family and friends, Leonore Harris listens to a Facebook Live video that she believes pertains to the death of her sister, Kenneka Jenkins, near the Crowne Plaza hotel in Rosemont, Ill. on Sept. 10, 2017. (Alyssa Pointer/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images)
In the wake of Kenneka Jenkins' death in a Rosemont hotel freezer, Chicago aldermen advance measure to make hotels… https://t.co/CXL8Qo9iFn
Tereasa Martin, mother of Kenneka Jenkins, is comforted by her boyfriend as she speaks about her daughter's death outside her home on September 10, 2017, in Chicago. (Alyssa Pointer/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images)
Protesters gather at the Crowne Plaza Chicago O'Hare Hotel & Conference Center on September 13, 2017, in Rosemont, Ill. People gathered to protest the handling of the death investigation of Kenneka Jenkins, who was found dead inside a walk-in freezer in a vacant part of the hotel. (John J. Kim/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images)
An autopsy determined Kenneka Jenkins died of hypothermia. https://t.co/yr0dxwdEaK
Teresa Martin, mother of Kenneka Jenkins, second from left, listens as attorneys speak on behalf of the Jenkins family during a news conference in downtown Chicago on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. (Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images)
Protesters chant slogans at the entrance to the Crowne Plaza Chicago O'Hare Hotel & Conference Center on September 13, 2017, in Rosemont, Ill. People gathered to protest the handling of the death investigation of Kenneka Jenkins, who was found dead inside a walk-in freezer in a vacant part of the hotel. (John J. Kim/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images)
Police close case of 19-year-old who died after walking into hotel freezer. https://t.co/L7C5VTKZ49 https://t.co/Q75CkTwmvM
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“When combined, the effect of either or both drugs is enhanced. Topiramate, like alcohol, can cause dizziness, impaired memory, impaired concentration, poor coordination, confusion and impaired judgment,” the medical examiner said in the statement.

After examining the body and reviewing security camera footage, the medical examiner said there was no one seen entering the unused kitchen area with Jenkins, and said there is no evidence there was any kind of altercation prior to her death. In its autopsy, the medical examiner said they did not find evidence any “date rape drugs” contributed to her death, and there was “no other evidence of external or internal trauma” to her body.

“In summary, after an autopsy and thorough review of all available evidence, it is determined that the substantial factor in this death is cold exposure. The alcohol and drug found in Ms. Jenkins’ system combined with cold exposure can hasten the onset of hypothermia and death,” the medical examiner said in its statement.

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