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A 19-year-old woman has been found dead in the walk-in freezer of a hotel in Chicago after going missing from a party.

An investigation is ongoing after a Crowne Plaza Chicago O'Hare Hotel employee found Kenneka Jenkins, 19, dead in one of the hotel's walk-in freezers on Sunday morning.

Jenkins had been reported missing by her family just about 24 hours earlier, the Chicago Tribune reports.

According to the Associated Press, Jenkins was last seen at a party in the same hotel early Saturday morning. It’s unclear if Jenkins tried to get out of the freezer, but there is an exit button meant to open the door if it gets shut behind someone accidentally. Authorities told the AP the button sometimes malfunctions.

Kenneka Jenkins had reportedly been drinking before disappearing from the event on the ninth floor of the Crowne Plaza Chicago O’Hare Hotel in the Rosemont area of the city on Friday night.

She was reported missing on Saturday after failing to return home, and her body was discovered by in the early hours of Sunday morning in the hotel’s walk-in freezer, Rosemont police said.

Ms Jenkins was pronounced dead at the scene. An autopsy has been conducted but the cause of death has not been confirmed.

Theresa Martin, Ms Jenkins’ mother, was called at around 4:30am on Saturday when the 19-year-old’s friends were leaving the party and couldn’t find her, WGN9 reported.

Ms Martin immediately went to the hotel and asked staff to check surveillance footage from the evening to search for her daughter. The hotel referred her to police and filed a missing persons report on Saturday.

“It’s something that no one could ever imagine. It’s unbelievable,” she told ABC7.

Speaking to The Chicago Tribune, Ms Martin said police told her Ms Jenkins had apparently let herself into the walk-in freezer while drunk.

Hotel surveillance footage showed Ms Jenkins “staggering” near the front desk at around 3:20am on Saturday.

Ms Martin told the newspaper she believed her daughter would have found it hard to open the freezer doors if she was drunk, and that she would have realised they were not the doors for the hotel’s entrance or an elevator.

Theresa Martin and her daughter Kenneka Jenkins GoFundMe

“Those were double steel doors, she didn’t just pop them open,” she said.

A GoFundMe page has been set up by Ms Martin “to get justice for my baby girl”.

All funds raised will go towards funeral costs and help with the investigation, she wrote.

The hotel issued a statement about the incident and directed any further questions to police: “We are saddened by this news, and our thoughts are with the young woman and her family during this difficult time.

"The hotel staff will continue to co-operate fully with local authorities. All further questions should be directed to the Rosamont Police Department.”

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Culled from independent

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