Nyasia Jennings, a 15-year-old girl from Chicago who was found dead in the Holiday Inn on Sherman Avenue on Dec. 10 died of an accidental drug overdose, the Cook County medical examiner’s office said Monday.

The toxicology report on Jennings’ death had been pending for several months before being released this week. Jennings had a combination of heroin, cocaine and fentanyl in her system at the time of death, according to the medical examiner’s report.

The Evanston Police investigation into the death remains open and ongoing, EPD spokesperson Ryan Glew told the RoundTable on Tuesday. Records and witness interviews have shown that Jennings was with other people, including at least one adult who had rented the room at the Holiday Inn where Jennings’ body was found, Glew said.

According to Glew, the fact that others were with Jennings when she died could affect the police investigation into the nature of her death, and may involve charges for possession of controlled substances in the presence of a minor. So far no one has been charged with any crimes related to the death or the activity surrounding it, he said.

The Holiday Inn Chicago North-Evanston at 1501 Sherman Ave. Jennings’ body was found in a room on the sixth floor in December. Credit: RoundTable file photo

“She has the status of a juvenile, and being in the company of a juvenile and engaging in potential criminal activity can be a crime [in itself], but we won’t know where exactly that investigative thread is going until we continue,” Glew said. “That’s what keeps this case open.”

In December, both EPD and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services said that Jennings had been reported as a missing runaway teen before authorities in Evanston discovered her body.

Prior to being reported missing, Jennings had been in DCFS custody. According to a DCFS spokesperson, Jennings had been staying with her biological mother for a time before coming back to Chicago to live with her adoptive parents again, who had previously returned her to DCFS custody. She reportedly ran away while staying with her adoptive parents.

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Duncan Agnew

Duncan Agnew covers Evanston public schools, affordable housing, City Hall and more for the RoundTable. He also writes long-form investigations, features and the morning email newsletter three times a...

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