The mother and sister of Kenneka Jenkins appeared Tuesday on the nationally televised “Dr. Oz Show” to raise questions about how authorities handled the Chicago teen’s controversial disappearance and death last month inside a Rosemont hotel freezer.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, the surgeon who rose to fame on the “Oprah Winfrey Show,” was joined by Nancy Grace, another TV personality who said she was “outraged” by the death investigation that has spurred endless conspiracy theories on social media about a possible cover-up in the 19-year-old’s death.
“As a doctor, I’m asking the question that plagues me: If she was found sooner, could she have survived?” Oz said to open the 20-minute “True Crime Tuesday” segment.
An advance description of the episode touted “explosive new details” in the case, but Oz and Grace largely rehashed the ideas that have circulated online — despite being categorically denied by the Rosemont Police Department since Jenkins’ body was discovered Sept. 10.
Jenkins’ mother, Tereasa Martin, sat down with Oz and described going to the Crowne Plaza Hotel to look for her daughter, only to be threatened with arrest for going on a door-to-door search.
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Martin said she was still angry and hurt as a result of the investigation, which was formally closed by Rosemont police on Oct. 20,two weeks after the Cook County medical examiner’s office ruled Jenkins’ death an accident by hypothermia with alcohol intoxication and the seizure drug topiramate contributing.
Oz questioned how the drug got into Jenkins’ system, suggesting someone slipped it into her drink.“My daughter didn’t like taking pills,” Martin said.
Later in the segment, which also included Martin’s 911 phone call, Oz openly speculated about the possibility of a carjacking or kidnapping. “There’s parts of this puzzle that don’t add up,” he said.
Grace questioned why no employees were monitoring the hotel’s live surveillance feed, and why Jenkins was found in the freezer with her shirt pulled up. “That’s just not right,” she said.
Jenkins’ sister, Leonore Harris, remembered her as a “great person.”
“She was my backbone. She was my best friend. She was the reason I had so much strength.”