Was it an act of remorse?
Translation: Sneed has learned that shortly after the July 27 stabbing murder of 26-year-old Trenton H. James Cornell-Duranleau in a River North high-rise, the two men being sought for the gruesome crime drove to Lake Geneva to donate money in the victim’s name to the Lake Geneva Public Library.
The donation: $1,000.
On Wednesday, the feds flagged the passports of the two men they suspect were involved in the crime — Northwestern University associate professor Wyndham Lathem, 42, a microbiologist who reportedly shared an apartment with Cornell-Duranleau — and Andrew Warren, 56, a payroll assistant at Oxford University’s Somerville College of England.
“We’re not sure why the victim was murdered, but we think it could be potentially a sign of remorse for the involvement in the murder, which was incredibly gruesome,” said a top police source.
Why the public library donation?
“We don’t know,” said the source.
“We know these two men, Lathem and Warren, were spotted on video leaving the building after the murder occurred.
“The victim was savagely killed,” said the source. “The crime scene was covered in blood. The body was mutilated. His genitals were cut, mutilated. It was so savage it broke the knife found at the crime scene, a 10th floor apartment at 540 N. State St. belonging to professor Lathem,” he said.
On Wednesday, after the murder, the passports of the two suspects were flagged by the State Department, and the U.S. Marshals Service joined the search.
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“Warren, who is from England, had recently arrived in Chicago for a visit,” said the source. “That’s why the passports were flagged and a nationwide manhunt was ordered.”
Let’s back up.
On the night of July 27, the front desk of building where the murder occurred gets a “cryptic” phone call from someone who claims a crime has been committed on the 10th floor.
Police are summoned.
The crime scene is described as a “bloody nightmare.” The broken knife is found at the scene.
Police fail to get in touch with the homeowner, Lathem.
Hours go by. The building’s videos capture both Lathem and Warren leaving the building.
“Sometime after the murder, the two men leave Chicago and drive to Lake Geneva,” the source said. “When it was discovered Lathem had access to sensitive biological materials dealing with infectious diseases, a ‘dangerous’ alert was dispatched.
“Police also learn Lathem never returns to Northwestern University after the murder of Cornell-Duranleau.
“We do not know how Lake Geneva . . . figures into this crime or the reason why the murder occurred. But we don’t believe drugs were the reason the victim was killed.
“It could have been a relationship issue. The victim was 26. The others were in their 40s and 50s. We know there was no official reason Warren, an Englishman, was sent to Northwestern on official business as a visiting professor. We were told it was Warren’s first time in the United States.
“After they left the Grand Plaza Apartment at 540 N. State Street and headed to Lake Geneva to make the $1,000 library donation, they fled,” added the source.
The victim was born in the small town of Lennon, Michigan, and was adopted when he was 12 years old and raised by a lesbian couple. Cornell-Duranleau’s biological mother died when he was young. In an obit posting on her Facebook page, one of his mothers, Mischelle Duranleau, said he loved animals, music, cars and video games.