XPost: talk.politics.medicine, talk.rape, talk.religion.newage
Trenton Cornell-Duranleau showed promise as a young hairstylist
in Michigan, but struggled to hold a steady job. The 26-year-old
was funny and personable and always seemed to find a home
wherever he landed, friends said, even when he moved to Chicago.
Wyndham Lathem, 42, is known as a well-published researcher of
infectious diseases at Northwestern University. An extremely
private man, he nevertheless had a busy public life as an
esteemed academic, invited to speak at conferences across the
Andrew Warren, 56, a reserved employee at Oxford University in
England, lived quietly with his sister and his boyfriend.
Still grieving the death of his father eight months ago, Warren
suddenly flew to Chicago on July 24, his first trip to the
Three days later, the lives of all three men converged in a
bloody scene in a Near North Side high-rise, authorities said.
Acting on an anonymous call, police found Cornell-Duranleau
stabbed to death in an apartment belonging to Lathem, who
apparently disappeared with Warren. Both Lathem and Warren were
caught on surveillance video at the building, police said.
Adding to the mystery surrounding the slaying, investigators
believe the two made a $1,000 donation in Cornell-Duranleau's
name at a library in Lake Geneva, Wis., shortly after the
attack. Police aren't sure why.
The gruesome attack has set off an intense nationwide search for
the men and drawn international interest.
Late Thursday, chief Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi
said police have an idea where the two may have fled and don’t
believe they have left the country. The U.S. State Department
has flagged their passports and travel documents, and the U.S.
Marshals Service has joined the manhunt.
“Our search efforts have intensified,” Guglielmi said. “At this
point, they can turn themselves in to any police department in
the U.S. or their attorneys can contact (Chicago police). We are
stressing that we want a peaceful and safe surrender.”
Authorities have so far offered little information about what
may have led to the attack. Lathem and Cornell-Duranleau were
involved in some sort of relationship and had “some type of
falling out,” Guglielmi said. He could not elaborate on the
relationship and could not say how Warren knew Lathem and
A broken blade and blood everywhere
Police believe Cornell-Duranleau was killed around 5 a.m. July
27, but officers were not alerted until someone called the front
desk of the building around 8:30 p.m., more than 15 hours later.
“There may have been a crime committed in Room 1004,” the male
voice said, according to law enforcement sources. “You need to
check it out.”
The caller hung up.
The building’s chief engineer rang the room and got no answer.
Then he dialed 911.
Officers responded and, after knocking, entered the apartment
with a master key. They saw blood on the bedroom door, opened it
and found Cornell-Duranleau lying face down, dead from stab
wounds to his back, the report said.
In the kitchen, police found a knife with a broken blade in the
trash can and another knife near the sink. Blood was everywhere,
the sources said.
Police could not locate Lathem. Four days later, a judge issued
arrest warrants for him and Warren, charging each with first-
degree murder. A police alert said the two were last seen in a
gray 2007 Hyundai. “Both subjects are to be considered armed and
extremely dangerous,” the alert warned.
The killing has stunned those who know the victim and suspects,
and it's left them wondering what brought them together.
Cornell-Duranleau’s mother said her son’s family in Michigan
doesn’t know the suspects.
“Our family is deeply saddened by the death of our son,”
Charlotte Cornell said in a statement Thursday. “It is our hope
that the person or persons responsible for his death are brought
‘Energetic and young and talented’
Cornell-Duranleau was around 6 when his biological mother died.
He was adopted by a friend of his mother and grew up in the
small town of Lennon in eastern Michigan. He attended high
school in Grand Rapids and earned a state certification in
cosmetology in 2011.
He landed his first job about two years later at Timber’s Salon
in Trenton, Mich., a little more than 100 miles southeast of his
hometown. A mutual friend helped arrange the opportunity, said
Timber Baun-Crooks, who owns the business.
“He was a great guy. He was energetic and young and talented,”
she said. “He was an excellent hair dresser — very creative —
but he wasn’t from the area and he didn’t build a clientele as
fast as he would have liked.”
Cornell-Duranleau bounced from job to job at about six salons
after that, Baun-Crooks said.
Other friends from Michigan remember Cornell-Duranleau as funny,
curious and a lover of video games and animated flicks.
He sometimes relied on friends for a place to stay, the friends
said. He took college classes to become a veterinary technician
but found the workload too demanding and dropped out, said one
friend who hosted him.
“He doesn’t put down roots very deeply. I used to tell him he
was a nomad,” said the friend, who spoke on condition of
anonymity. “The last time I ever talked to him was early March
of 2016. He said he was coming to Chicago for a job offer at a
It’s not clear where Cornell-Duranleau worked in Chicago. He had
lived in the 2200 block of South Wood Street in the Heart of
Chicago neighborhood on the Near Southwest Side, according to
the Cook County medical examiner’s office.
In an obituary posted by his mother, Mischelle Duranleau said
her son “loved music and animals. His enthusiasm for life was
infectious. Trenton was a caregiver and loved to help others.
His youthful free-spirit fueled his love of cars, video games
‘A model scientist’
At 42, Wyndham Lathem was known as a driven scientist whose work
on the plague known as the Black Death made national headlines
He joined Northwestern in 2007 and worked primarily in a
research lab within the Department of Microbiology-Immunology at
the Feinberg School of Medicine. “At some point in the past few
years he taught medical students or graduate students,” said
school spokesman Alan K. Cubbage.
Lathem was an undergraduate at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie,
N.Y., from 1992 to 1996. Adam McDaniel didn’t share any classes
with him, but the campus was small and they would run into each
other at social gatherings, discussing movies or music.
“He was a very kind, warmhearted, funny guy. Everybody loved
him. He struck me as a genuinely good person,” said McDaniel,
who recalled Lathem as “fiercely intelligent.”
McDaniel, a client relations administrator at Warner Bros.
Entertainment in Burbank, Calif., said that when he first saw
the news of the attack in Chicago, he thought Lathem had pulled
“The current events go against every single impression I had of
him in college,” McDaniel said. “I hope that people will give
him the benefit of the doubt.”
William Goldman, who advised Lathem as a postdoctoral student
between 2003 and 2007 at Washington University in St. Louis,
reacted similarly when he learned about the stabbing.
“He was very private about his personal life,” Goldman said
Thursday in a phone interview. “I know his work is very
important to him. He worked extremely hard when he was in my
lab, and it meant a lot to him. I think he was driven by
excellence. He’s a model scientist.”
Goldman said he kept in touch with Lathem in the years since he
moved on to Northwestern. He invited Lathem to speak at a
seminar in 2016. They most recently talked on the phone about
six weeks ago, discussing whether Lathem should take a job at a
French research institution. He chose to stay in Chicago.
Nothing seemed awry in that conversation, Goldman said.
Since the killing, Lathem has been placed on administrative
leave and is banned from all Northwestern campuses, according to
Cubbage. He was not currently teaching and was not scheduled to
be in a classroom in the fall.
Lathem’s family declined to comment.
‘Andy had gone’
Andrew Warren was a senior treasury assistant at Somerville
College, part of the Oxford University network, when he
disappeared this summer.
Investigators believe he traveled to the United States on July
24, according to police and British media reports. He made the
trip without telling his sister or his boyfriend in Faringdon,
“He didn’t tell anybody about going to America. The first thing
I knew was his sister rang me to ask whether I knew where Andy
had gone,” longtime friend Janice King told The Telegraph
Friends wondered whether the death of his father in a car crash
eight months ago played a role in his behavior. He had confided
in them that he was depressed and still grieving.
Neighbors told the Mirror that Warren had lived with his younger
sister Tracey and his father, Dereck, in the house where he grew
They remembered him as a kid with a “strict” upbringing who
would accompany his mother, Mabel, to bingo rather than playing
with village children.
Four days after his sister reported him missing, she posted a
picture of herself with Andy and their dad on Facebook. She
wrote: “Miss dad and wake up bruv life is too precious to waste.”
Oxford University released a statement saying that “we have been
in contact with the police in the UK and are ready to help the
US investigating authorities in any way they need. Andrew
Warren’s colleagues at Somerville College have now all been
informed and are shocked to learn of the case.”
In Chicago, police spokesman Guglielmi said anyone with
information can contact Chicago police anonymously, including
through the department’s new tips website, www.cpdtip.com.
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