A British man who worked in payroll for Oxford University went on the run with an American professor after a hairstylist was stabbed to death in the professor’s luxury Chicago apartment, police say.
Brit Andrew Warren, 56, and Northwestern University Associate Professor Wyndham Lathem, 42, were captured August 4 in Oakland, California, Illinois authorities say, and a Cook County judge has issued arrest warrants for murder against the pair, WGN reported.
The pair are accused in the stabbing death of Michigan hairstylist Trenton Cornell-Duranleau, 26, in a luxury Chicago apartment building where Lathem lived.
Warren’s shocked and perplexed loved ones back in England are trying to figure out how he ended up in America with Lathem; they had reported him missing when he disappeared from his English home shortly before the homicide.
“Wanted for Murder by CPD – Our search will only intensify. Prof Latham & Mr Warren, do the right thing & turn yourself in to any police dept,” Anthony Guglielmi, Chicago police spokesman, wrote on Twitter.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Warren Worked in Payroll for a College That Is Part of Oxford University
Both Warren and Lathem work for prominent universities; Professor Lathem was a researcher into the “Black Death” plague at Northwestern, and Warren was linked to Oxford.
It’s not yet clear how Warren knew Lathem or Cornell-Duranleau.
According to CBS Local, Warren is “a senior treasury assistant at Somerville College, a part of the University of Oxford in Great Britain.” (The victim’s name was given as Trenton Cornell-Duranheau by many news sites, but his obituary spells it Duranleau).
Somerville College listed Andrew Warren as an employee but has now deleted his page from its website. He worked in payroll, according to UK Daily Mail.
Warren’s LinkedIn page says he’s from Swindon, United Kingdom and lists only the Somerville College employment.
Lathem and Warren are at large, possibly driving a gray 2017 Hyundai sedan, and were reported by police to be armed and dangerous.
2. Warren, a Former Bus Driver, Vanished Shortly Before the Murder
All of this has left Warren’s family and boyfriend back in England shocked and perplexed. They told UK Daily Mail that Warren, a former bus driver, had never been to America before and they didn’t realize he’d gone there.
Back in England, Warren’s loved ones are trying to figure out how he came to know Lathem. Warren “was reported missing to UK police on July 25 – two days before the murder – after he disappeared from the council house he shares with his sister Tracey, 39, near Swindon,” the UK Daily Mail reported.
Daily Mail reports that Warren, who was also called “Andy,” left behind a “heartbroken boyfriend Martin Grant, 44, who has been a relationship with the murder suspect since at least 2011” and both the sister and boyfriend “have been desperately looking for him ever since.” Warren, a former bus driver, had never been to America before, the news site reported. His neighbors told British media that Warren would help them out, according to UK Mirror.
Those who knew Warren in England told Daily Mail he was a “gentle lad” they couldn’t imagine was capable of murder and who lived in his childhood home until his father died recently; the news site reported that authorities in England confirmed he’d been reported missing the day after he “secretly” flew to America.
Andrew’s sister, Tracey Warren, wrote on Facebook, “Miss Dad, And Bruv Wake Up Life Is Too Precious To Waste x.”
3. The Victim Died of ‘Multiple Sharp Force Injuries’
The victim was a Michigan-born licensed cosmetologist, but it’s not yet clear how he allegedly came into contact with Lathem and Warren. According to CBS Local, the victim, of Pilsen, “was found dead on July 27 inside an apartment in the 500 block of North State Street. He was pronounced dead at the scene, and an autopsy ruled his death a homicide from multiple sharp force injuries.”
The television station reported that Cornell-Duranleau was stabbed. According to the Chicago-Tribune, the victim is a licensed cosmetologist. Chicago police “responded to a 10th-floor apartment in the 500 block of North State Street about 10:35 p.m. Thursday after a maintenance worker reported getting an anonymous call that a crime was committed there,” The Tribune reported, adding that Lathem lists his home as being at the same address.
According to The Tribune, police “found blood on the bedroom door, opened it and found 26-year-old Trenton Cornell-Duranleau lying face down, dead from stab wounds to his back…In the kitchen, police found a knife with a broken blade in the trash can and another knife near the sink. Blood was everywhere.”
A letter sent to tenants by building management said police are “exploring a variety of motives, including a possible domestic incident.”
An obituary for Trenton Cornell-Duranleau said he was from Michigan and added, “Throughout his life he 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 and cartoons.”
Cornell-Duranleau’s Facebook page says he was a hairstylist who worked at several Michigan beauty salons. He attended Creston High School in Grand Rapids, Michigan and studied and received his cosmetology license from Stanley Harris School of Cosmetology in Holland, Michigan. His social media posts revolve around cars, hairstyling appointments, and The Voice.
4. Lathem Studied the Bubonic Plague at Northwestern
Northwestern University has scrubbed references to Lathem from its website. However, has already deleted Lathem’s faculty profile used to exist on the Department of Microbiology-Immunology page. He worked at Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine.
On Twitter, Lathem defined himself as an “Associate Professor of Microbiology-Immunology at Northwestern Univ., interested in bacterial pathogen evolution and plasminogen activation during infection.”
In 2015, Science Daily reported, “While studying Yersinia pestis, the bacteria responsible for epidemics of plague such as the Black Death, Wyndham Lathem, Ph.D., assistant professor in microbiology-immunology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, found a single small genetic change that fundamentally influenced the evolution of the deadly pathogen, and thus the course of human history.”
He posted numerous photos from the Chicago March for Science, which he wrote that he had participated in. He also wrote that he had helped write a “paper on the inactivation of PAI-1 during pneumonic plague.”
On LinkedIn, Lathem wrote that his work at Northwestern “focuses on the mechanisms by which pathogenic bacteria cause disease in humans, using Yersinia species as models to understand the nature of the host-pathogen interaction during respiratory (lung) infections. My group also studies how these bacteria regulate the synthesis of factors required to cause disease at the post-transcriptional level, with an emphasis on small, noncoding RNAs and the protein chaperones that enable their diverse and many functions.”
5. Oxford University Released a Statement Expressing Shock Over the Events
Oxford University said in a statement that the university is cooperating with authorities and that Warren’s co-workers are shocked.
“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,” the university told Daily Mail.
“Andrew Warren’s colleagues at Somerville College have now all been informed and are shocked to learn of the case. Whatever the circumstances, we would urge him to contact the US authorities as soon as possible, in the best interests of everyone concerned.”
Oxford told The Chicago Tribune that the university was “not aware of this case, which is clearly extremely concerning. We will liaise with the relevant investigating authorities and provide any assistance that is required.”
Lathem has now been banned from entering any of the campuses of Northwestern University.
“Wyndham Lathem, an associate professor of microbiology-immunology, has been placed on administrative leave and banned from entering the Northwestern University campuses. There is no indication of any risk to the Northwestern community from this individual at this time,” the statement read.
“Lathem has been a faculty member in the department of microbiology-immunology since 2007. This is now a criminal matter under investigation by the appropriate authorities, and Northwestern University is cooperating in that investigation.”
Northwestern told The Chicago Tribune that Lathem’s work was focused in a lab, and he was not in the classroom.