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A Thorough Investigation Of The Insane Conspiracy Theories That Kenneka Jenkins Was Set Up By Her Friends, Raped For $200 And Murdered So Her Organs Could Be Harvested

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Kenneka Jenkins

If you're just reading the facts given by police, the case of Kenneka Jenkins' death leaves a lot to the imagination. And when you can publicly discuss all the inner workings of your imagination, the result is a lot of conspiracy theory YouTube videos.

According to police, the 19-year-old attended a party at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Rosemont, Illinois Sept. 8. Her mother, Teresea Martin, realized she was missing after her friends called and said they couldn't find her when they were on their way to leave, which was around 4 a.m.

Soon after, her mother went to the hotel looking for her daughter and spent the whole next day trying to convince police to help her search. 

They finally did, and around midnight Sept. 10, Jenkins was found dead in a freezer in a construction site at the hotel. After reviewing surveillance video, police reportedly told Martin that Jenkins was drunk, stumbled into the locker on her own and died. 

RELATED: Was Kenneka Jenkins Murdered? Why Her Mom Doesn't Believe Police Explanation Of How The 19-Year-Old Wound Up Dead In A Hotel Freezer

That's just slightly different than what social media sleuths have come up with. 

According to the most recent theories on the interwebs, Jenkins was set up to come to the party by one of her friends, who was paid either $200 or $2,000 to rape a very intoxicated Jenkins.

Then, the owner or manager of the hotel, either kidnapped or bought Jenkins from her friends and murdered her so they could harvest her organs and sell them on the black market. Hence, why she was found in a freezer. 

Like I said, slightly different. 

But before I dive to how much truth or possibility there is to that insanely popular theory, let's get back to the facts. The Chicago Tribune laid out a handy dandy timeline to get us all caught up on what we know for sure (or if you're even more of a skeptic, what police "want us to know):

  • "11:30 p.m. Friday.  Kenneka Jenkins leaves her West Side home to go to a party with friends in a hotel room at the Crowne Plaza Chicago O'Hare Hotel & Conference Center in Rosemont, according to her mother, Tereasa Martin.
  • 1:30 a.m. Saturday.  Jenkins' sister speaks to Jenkins by phone.  The family says that's the last time they hear from her.
  • 1:36 a.m. Saturday.  A live stream video on Facebook appears to show the hotel room on the ninth floor where the party is being held.  The video — which has gotten more than 4 million views — features a woman in mirrored sunglasses talking to the camera. Reflected in her glasses is the other side of the hotel room, where Jenkins appears to be sitting.
  • 3:20 a.m. Saturday.  Jenkins is seen on surveillance video "staggering" drunk near the front desk, according to authorities.  The family says they aren't told about this until 10 p.m. that night.
  • 4 a.m. Saturday.  Jenkins' friends call her mother to say they lost track of Jenkins at the hotel. The friends say they are in the car Martin lent her daughter for the night, and they have Jenkins' cell phone, according to Martin.
  • 5 a.m. Saturday.  Jenkins' family go to the hotel looking for her.  Martin says hotel staff told her they needed a missing persons report from police before they could start reviewing surveillance video.  Martin calls Rosemont police and is told to wait a few hours before filing the report.  They file the report later that morning.
  • 1:15 p.m. Saturday.  Police notify the hotel about the missing teen and a search begins on the ninth floor and the public areas of the hotel, according to Rosemont police.
  • 3-4 p.m. Saturday.  Jenkins' mother said she doesn't believe the hotel began reviewing surveillance video until the middle of the afternoon.  
  • 6 p.m. Saturday.  Frustrated with the search, relatives say they begin knocking on room doors to see if any guests know anything. The hotel calls the police to complain about the knocking.  Martin said one of the responding officers agrees to view the surveillance video again.
  • 10 p.m. Saturday.  Police tell the family that Jenkins has been spotted on video from around 3:20 a.m. that day.
  • 12:25 a.m. Sunday.  Jenkins is discovered in a walk-in freezer in a vacant area of the hotel.  She had been missing nearly 24 hours.
  • 12:48 a.m. Sunday.  Jenkins is pronounced dead, according to the Cook County medical examiner's office.  The cause of death remains undetermined after an autopsy the next day, pending further studies and investigation.
  • Around 5 a.m. Sunday.  Martin is allowed to see her daughter's body. She says the body had been removed from the freezer, which appeared to have been defrosted.  “Her hair had soaking water up on there," she told reporters."

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This case has grabbed a lot of people's attention primarily because of the lack of urgency police and hotel staff had when Jenkins first went missing and the unusual location where her body was found. 

The questions first began when Martin told reporters she didn't believe what the police told her because a) the freezer doors are heavy and Jenkins was clearly not in the right state of mind to physically open them herself and b) hotel staff refused to show her the surveillance video until her daughter was declared a missing persons. 

She speculated that somebody in the hotel killed her daughter, and that had police started looking sooner, they might have found her alive. 

That belief sparked a nationwide search for Jenkins' alleged killer and all the theories about why her young life was taken. Though they haven't released whether a crime was even committed, police have said they're investigating the viral Facebook video. But other than that, most of what we're discussing now is just rumors.

So let's dive in, and a warning, a lot of the videos have vulgar language. 

#1 Jenkins was set up to be raped at the party by her friend Monifah Shelton. 

This part of the theory alleges that a guy Shelton liked really wanted to get with Jenkins, but she denied him. Shelton was jealous so she set up Jenkins to raped at the party and made a $200 profit off of it. 

Rumors circulated that guilt got to Shelton and she committed suicide, but that was never confirmed. There are also rumors that she admitted to having a part in the killing, but claimed she did so because she didn't want to be killed herself. This could very well be fake: 


Another supposed "piece of evidence" says her other friend, Irene Roberts who was the girl in the mirrored glasses in the viral FB live video, knew about the murder but was told not to say anything. 


On Shelton's Instagram page is just a few photos of Jenkins and a screenshot of a Facebook post she wrote claiming her innocence and how she helped look for her friend. 

From what it looks like, Shelton isn't owning up to any part in Jenkins' death, and all the screenshots people are posting could easily be fake. 

#2 Irene Roberts set Jenkins up to be raped and murdered. 

The above video that went viral shows Roberts wearing mirrored sunglasses at a party. People have claimed they could hear Jenkins scream and say "help me," and an unknown man say "we're about to murder someone." 

None of that has been confirmed, but people are speculating that Roberts either set up the crime herself or assisted Shelton and knew where to hide her body because she worked at the hotel. People commenting on this theory also believe that Jenkins was assaulted by multiple men. 


A video also came out that supposedly showed Roberts at the police station, but that hasn't been confirmed. There have been screenshots that supposedly show Roberts posting on Facebook that she didn't set anything up, and Jenkins wasn't being assaulted on her live video, but that three boys who showed up at her party took her friend and killed her. 

That post has either been deleted or is fabricated. 


#3 The owner of the hotel kidnapped and murdered Jenkins when she was drunk so they could harvest her organs and sell them on the black market. 

The video above and the theory alleges that Roberts was hired by the owner to bait Jenkins to come to the hotel so he (they believe it's a he) could murder her and harvest her organs. 

This rumor stems from the fact that a) she was found in a freezer, b) the hotel was shady in giving Martin the surveillance video and the cameras in front of the freezer that should show Jenkins going inside are apparently broken and c) the local organ donation center is under investigation for harvesting. 

There's apparently an eye witness, who reveals everything in the following video: 

The Biological Resource Center of Illinois is only 20 minutes away from the hotel, according to Google Maps, and it's currently being sued by the family of a 23-year-old man whose body was donated there for medical education and research. Against their son's wishes, his remains were mishandled and possibly used for profit. 

Now, organ trafficking is a real issue. In 2014, NBC Chicago did a story about the rise in people selling their kidneys on Craigslist for thousands of dollars, and in 2015, the FBI raided a lab and crematorium outside Chicago for illegal body part trading, which was connected to the BRC.  

Though there is some possibility to this story, the owner of the hotel hasn't been named and his or her connection to the BRC is not known. 

When it comes to the case of Kenneka Jenkins, there are a lot of things left unanswered. But until police can confirm what happened to the girl and if anyone is going to be held responsible, all we can do is sit back and speculate. 

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Emily Blackwood is an editor at YourTango who covers pop culture, true crime, dating, relationships and everything in between. Every Wednesday at 10:20 p.m. you can ask her any and all questions about self-love, dating, and relationships LIVE on YourTango’s Facebook page. You can follow her on Instagram (@blackw00d) and Twitter (@emztweetz).