The autopsy report on Kenneka Jenkins, the teen whose body was found in a hotel walk-in fridge, has concluded that she died of hypothermia. The 19-year-old was also found to have alcohol, caffeine, and an epilepsy medication in her system.
Jenkins was found at the Rosemont Crowne Plaza on September 10th, 24 hours after relatives contacted the hotel and police. She had been attending a party at the hotel the night of her death, and surveillance camera footage shows her wandering through a kitchen area near the freezer at approximately three in the morning. However, no footage shows Jenkins walking into the freezer itself, which has fueled suspicions of foul play.
The Cook County Medical Examiner’s office released the results of their autopsy on October 6th and ruled that the cause of death was hypothermia from exposure. They noted that she suffered from gastric mucosal erosions, a pattern of inflammation on the stomach wall that is often present in hypothermia-related deaths. They also found that her brain was swollen, but said that the condition didn’t point to a specific cause of death.
Jenkins also had several drugs in her system that may have indirectly caused her death. At the time of death, her blood alcohol level was higher than the legal driving limit, and she also had the epilepsy drug topiramate in her system. Alcohol and topiramate are “synergistic,” meaning that taken together, they enhance each other’s functioning. According to the coroner’s office, this can lead to “dizziness, impaired memory, concentration, and judgment, and confusion.” Ultimately, the medical examiners’ office ruled her death an accident.
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