Trenton Cornell-Duranleau, a 26-year-old licensed cosmetologist, was stabbed to death in a Chicago-area apartment, and authorities are accusing a university professor and employee in his murder.
Wyndham Lathem, an associate professor at Northwestern University, and Andrew Warren, who works for Oxford University, are accused of the slaying in first-degree murder warrants in the July 27 slaying of Cornell-Duranleau.
On August 4, after several days on the run, police announced that both men were in custody in Oakland, California.
The motive is not yet clear, although some details of the death have been released. WGN reported that a Cook County judge issued arrest warrants for Lathem, 42, and Warren, 56, and both men were considered armed and dangerous. Police said that Lathem sent friends and relatives an “apologetic” video for alleged involvement in the murder and that the pair donated money in the victim’s name at a Lake Geneva, Wisconsin library.
Cornell-Duranleau’s last name was spelled Cornell-Duranheau by some news sites, but his obituary uses the former spelling of the name. He is also sometimes referred to as Trenton Cornell.
“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 before the men’s capture.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Cornell-Duranleau Died From ‘Multiple Sharp Force Injuries’
The death was brutal.
According to CBS Local, the victim, who was from 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. CNN reported that the victim was mutilated.
It’s not clear how or whether Lathem and Warren knew the victim or each other. However, first-degree murder warrants were issued for both Lathem and Warren, according to The Chicago Sun-Times.
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.”
Records show that Lathem lived at the address where Cornell-Duranleau died.
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 Chicago Tribune reported, adding that Lathem lists his home as being at the same address.
A letter sent to tenants by building management said police are “exploring a variety of motives, including a possible domestic incident.”
2. Cornell-Duranleau Studied Cosmetology & Was From Michigan
An obituary posted by his mother on Facebook said Cornell-Duranleau passed away suddenly and was born in Lennon, Michigan to Diane Cundiff. After his mother died, he was adopted by the Cornell-Duranleau family of Corunna.
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. Cornell-Duranleau’s Facebook page says he worked as a hairstylist. On Twitter, he mostly posted about hairstyling, music, and The Voice. He worked at a series of Michigan beauty salons before moving to Chicago, according to his Facebook page.
According to the Chicago-Tribune, the victim is a licensed cosmetologist.
He hadn’t posted on Twitter much since 2014.
He is survived by his parents and five siblings as well as other family members.
3. The Victim ‘Loved Music’ & Animals, According to the Obituary
Cornell-Duranleau’s mother posted a tribute to him on Facebook, writing, “It is with the heaviest heart and morning that I post an obituary of our oldest son and brother. There are no words to describe this. Please keep him in our prayers as we navigate this very dark part of our Journey. May the Universe wrap all in love and light?”
The obituary said Cornell-Duranleau loved music, animals and cars. Several of his social media posts revolve around cars.
“Throughout his life he loved music and animals,” the obituary said. “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.”
4. Both Suspects Work for Prominent Universities
Both Lathem and Warren worked for prestigious universities, one in Chicago and the other in England.
According to CBS Local, Warren is “a senior treasury assistant at Somerville College, a part of the University of Oxford in Great Britain.”
Lathem and Warren are at large, possibly driving a gray 2017 Hyundai sedan.
Northwestern University has already deleted Lathem’s faculty profile, which used to exist on the Department of Microbiology-Immunology page.
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.”
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.”
Several of his posts involved attending conferences. “Midwest Microbial Pathogenesis Conference has always been one of my favorite meetings. Been attending since 1999 it’s been a good run! #mmpc,” he wrote in one tweet. His Twitter profile cover photo is of microbes.
5. Lathem Has Been Banned From the Northwestern University Campuses
The university released a statement that says Lathem has 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.