September 13, 2017 09:27 AM

Illinois police have turned their attention to a widely circulated social media video as they investigate the mysterious death of a 19-year-old girl who was found in a hotel’s walk-in freezer early on Sunday, PEOPLE confirms.

According to authorities, Kenneka Jenkins was discovered that morning at the Crowne Plaza Chicago O’Hare Hotel in Rosemont, Illinois, where she was pronounced dead at 12:48 a.m. after a party earlier that weekend in a hotel room on the hotel’s ninth floor.

Police say they are now investigating a video that some claim was recorded in the same room as the party just hours before Jenkins was found dead. The video was streamed live to Facebook and later recirculated in various clips online.

The footage shows a young woman smoking, talking and laughing in front of the camera. Some social media users have reported hearing pleas for help in the background, though the audio is garbled and occasionally covered over by loud music.

“Investigators are working to identify everyone who was in the video and who was there that night,” Det. Joe Balogh, with the Rosemont Public Safety Department, tells PEOPLE.

“Detectives are following up with everyone involved, trying to pinpoint everyone who was there that night,” Balogh says.

Kenneka Jenkins
Kanneka Martin/Facebook


Investigators believe Jenkins left her home to head to the hotel party around 11:30 p.m. on Friday.

Her mother, Tereasa Martin, told local TV station WGN that Jenkins’ friends called her around 4:30 a.m. on Saturday after she appeared to go missing.

Martin and her other daughter, Leonore Harris, went to the hotel themselves and urged staff and police to help with their search, she said.

The family filed a missing persons report on Saturday, police said. After Jenkins’ body was found, Martin said that authorities had told her the teen likely stumbled into the freezer while drunk — something officials dispute having ever disclosed.

“That’s not what we’ve ever said. We don’t want to rule out anything at this point,” Balogh tells PEOPLE. “We’re still investigating the whole situation altogether and are taking everything into account.”

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Kenneka Jenkins
Kanneka Martin/Facebook


Rosemont village spokesman Gary Mack echoes that, saying authorities do not believe Jenkins went into the freezer under her own power.

Mack tells PEOPLE that investigators have already questioned some of the people shown in the Facebook video.

“Police are aware of it and they’ve been studying it. They have spoken to some of them,” he says. “They’re trying to get identities of other people and contact information … all they’ve got to go by is that video.”

“It’s kind of confusing and difficult to follow,” Mack tells PEOPLE of the video footage. “This is a very tragic and sad situation.”

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Kenneka Jenkins
Kanneka Martin/Facebook
Tereasa Martin
Alyssa Pointer/TNS/ZUMA Wire

A cause of death for Jenkins had not yet been determined, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office in Illinois. But her mother has a theory.

“I believe someone in this hotel killed my child,” Martin (who declined PEOPLE’s request for comment) told WGN.

Jenkins’ friends allegedly called Martin and told her they had Jenkins’ cell phone and the car that Martin had let her daughter borrow and were leaving the hotel after being unable to locate Jenkins, Martin told the Chicago Tribune.

The friends said they had left Jenkins in a hallway to go and retrieve the keys and phone they said she left behind in the room, according to Martin. When they got back, the teen was gone, they said.

But, Martin told the Tribune, the friends’ “stories changed over and over.”

Harris, Jenkins’ older sister, shared her mom’s concerns, telling WGN, “The freezer door is heavy. So there’s no way — if they’re saying she’s drunk, she don’t have no strength. If she had enough strength to open that freezer door, she would have had enough strength to walk straight.”

In a statement to PEOPLE, a hotel spokesperson said staff are cooperating with police in the investigation:

“We are saddened by this news, and our thoughts are with the young woman and her family during this difficult time.”

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