Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Grisly killing stemmed from a dispute involving Chicago professor and hairdresser, police say

Authorities arrested Wyndham Lathem, a Northwestern University professor and Andrew Warren, an Oxford University payroll clerk, on Aug. 4 in California. (Reuters)

Police officers responding to a maintenance man’s 911 call on Thursday found blood on the bedroom door and Trenton Cornell-Duranleau’s body on the bed.

The 26-year-old hairdresser had been stabbed in the back several times, according to the Chicago Tribune. Blood was everywhere, including on two knives police believe were used in the killing. The blade on one had apparently been shattered by the force of the attack.

What was missing was the man who rented the apartment, Wyndham Lathem, 42, a bubonic plague specialist who worked as a professor at Northwestern University.

Police began a manhunt for Lathem. They were also seeking Andrew Warren, 56, a British payroll clerk who worked for Oxford University and had traveled to Chicago days before the killing.

On Friday, Warren surrendered to police in San Francisco and Lathem turned himself in at the Oakland federal building, according to the Associated Press. Their surrender was “negotiated,” Michael McCloud, fugitive task force commander with the U.S. Marshals Service, told the Associated Press, without providing details.

Both men are charged with murder.

A police spokesman said Lathem and Cornell-Duranleau were involved in some sort of relationship and had “some type of falling-out.” They’ve called the killing a domestic incident and are still investigating other motives.

Because of the circumstances of the killing and the manhunt, the case has attracted international attention.

Lathem was an associate professor at Northwestern University and a sought-after speaker for his research on bubonic plague. He has taught microbiology and immunology since 2007 at Northwestern’s Feinburg School of Medicine. A former colleague described him as competitive in seeking funding for his work from the National Institutes of Health and respected for the quality of his research.

Alan K. Cubbage, a Northwestern spokesman, said Monday Lathem was fired effective Aug. 4 for the act of fleeing the police. He is banned from the campus, Cubbage said in a statement.

On Friday, Chicago police disclosed that a video has surfaced in which Lathem apparently apologized to friends and family for his alleged involvement in Cornell-Duranleau’s death. Officials declined to release the footage, saying it’s “integral to any future interrogation efforts.”

Reports suggest that Warren may have been staying with Lathem in the Grand Plaza Apartments, a luxury building with plum amenities and stunning views of Chicago’s skyline. Monthly rents for some units there exceed $3,300.

Warren, whose family in England reported him missing just days before the killing, works for the University of Oxford processing paychecks and pensions.

Citing friends in Britain, the Telegraph reported Thursday that Warren traveled to the United States without telling his boyfriend or any of his family, who have since appealed for him to surrender. They described Warren as reclusive, shy and consumed by grief since his father’s sudden death last winter.
“We have always known him as straight up and squeaky clean as regards the law,” one acquaintance told the Telegraph.

Cornell-Duranleau, who went by Trent, moved to Chicago only recently and lived in the city’s Pilsen neighborhood, about a 30-minute drive from Lathem’s apartment in River North. He was from Corunna, Mich., according to his Facebook profile. The city of 3,400 is just west of Flint. He later moved to the Detroit area.

“We were just shocked when we found this out. Even the clients,” said a former colleague at Timber’s Salon in Trenton, Mich., where Cornell-Duranleau worked as a stylist for several months.
Trenton Cornell-Duranleau was found stabbed to death in a Chicago apartment on July 27. (Facebook)