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
Police are investigating after a Chicago teen was found dead in a walk-in freezer at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Rosemont, Illinois early Sunday morning.
Police are investigating after a Chicago teen was found dead in a walk-in freezer at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Rosemont, Illinois early Sunday morning.
Police are investigating after a Chicago teen was found dead in a walk-in freezer at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Rosemont, Illinois early Sunday morning.
Police are investigating after a Chicago teen was found dead in a walk-in freezer at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Rosemont, Illinois early Sunday morning.
Police are investigating after a Chicago teen was found dead in a walk-in freezer at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Rosemont, Illinois early Sunday morning.
Police are investigating after a Chicago teen was found dead in a walk-in freezer at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Rosemont, Illinois early Sunday morning.
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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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