The influx of conspiracy theories centered on how exactly a Black teenager came to be found dead in a suburban Chicago hotel storage freezer has all but taken over social media feeds and timelines across the internet. But while they vary widely, they all still seemingly share one thing in common: Two weeks after Kenneka Jenkins died in the Rosemont Crowne Plaza, they still haven’t helped law enforcement crack the case.
In fact, law enforcement has said the conspiracy theories that have been mostly generated by a host of online amateur detectives may be doing more harm than good.
A new conspiracy theory seems to pop up online daily. While some seem to be more credible than others – like the one offered by Crowne Plaza hotel staffers who demonstrated in front of the fateful walk-in freezer how Jenkins never could have closed the door – most are far-fetched at best (like the one alleging a massive “organ harvesting” operation gone bad).
One of the more plausible conspiracy theories claims she was drugged, something that police were likely considering since security surveillance footage captured Jenkins staggering around the hotel before making her way into a kitchen area where the freezer was.
Jenkins’ mother, Tereasa Martin, has also posited some potential theories, though none of them seem conspiracy based. Most of her attention has been aimed at the hotel, which she said delayed taking any immediate action after the 19-year-old Chicago native was first reported missing in the early hours of September 9.
But she has also blamed police for the same reason – a police force that has been accused of corruption in the past. Martin has asked the FBI to investigate, but the Rosemont Police Department has said it will take the lead on the case.
However, there had yet to be a major break in the case, something Rosemont’s mayor seemed to blame on of all the conspiracy theories floating around.
“It’s unfortunate that some of that stuff is convoluting the investigation because all those leads have got to be followed up on,” Stephens told the Chicago Tribune last week. “As I’m sure you’ve seen, there’s a lot of different speculation out there, so [police] are doing their best to come to a quick resolution, obviously. I think everybody wants to know what happened.”
This is a developing story and we will provide updates as they become available.