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No bail for man accused of killing pregnant girlfriend whose body was found in Lake Michigan

Surveillance video and cell phone records show Robert Drummond, 21, of Kenwood, was with 19-year-old Yarianna Wheeler the night she was last seen, Cook County prosecutors said.

Surveillance video shows Yarianna Wheeler before she went missing and was later found dead in Lake Michigan.
An image from surveillance footage shows Yarianna Wheeler before she went missing last summer. Wheeler, who was seven months pregnant, was later found dead in Lake Michigan.
Lake County sheriff’s office

A 19-year-old pregnant woman whose body was discovered last summer in Lake Michigan was stabbed to death by her boyfriend, who later used her bank card to purchase hundreds of dollars worth of energy drinks, Cook County prosecutors said Saturday.

After spending the day together on Aug. 10 and going to the Shedd Aquarium, Robert Drummond, 21, and his girlfriend, Yarianna Wheeler, got into an argument at Portillo’s and went their separate ways, Assistant State’s Attorney Esmeralda Rubio said in court.

Drummond took the train home, while Wheeler went to a movie theatre, Rubio said.

But Wheeler, who was seven months pregnant, never went inside the theatre.

Instead, surveillance video showed her outside on her phone, and records indicate she called Drummond more than 25 times after the two separated, Rubio said.

Around 9:50 p.m., surveillance cameras captured her getting an Uber, where she allegedly called Drummond again.

The Uber’s driver told investigators that he assumed she was talking to her boyfriend, because they were discussing where they should meet, Rubio said.

Wheeler got dropped off at a parking lot near 39th Street Beach just after 10 p.m., prosecutors said.

Robert Drummond arrest photo
Robert Drummond
Lake County sheriff’s office

Cell phone records show that Wheeler was on the phone with Drummond when she was in the ride-hailing car and as she walked on the beach, blocks from Drummond’s Kenwood home, Rubio said.

About an hour later, Wheeler was recorded on “grainy” surveillance video walking side-by-side with an unidentifiable person — believed to be Drummond — toward the water of Oakwood Beach, Rubio said. The two then disappear from camera view before the person reappears alone about 40 minutes later holding Wheeler’s large, square-shaped pink purse.

POD camera footage also captured a man as he walked on Drummond’s block while holding the purse, Rubio said.

Wheeler’s body was spotted by a fisherman on Aug. 15, three miles southeast of Waukegan Harbor.

An autopsy found she had been stabbed several times in her back, chest, neck and arm before being dumped in the water, Rubio said. Wheeler had an injury to her left lung and fractured ribs, and there was also evidence of drowning. The medical examiner determined Wheeler died from multiple injuries due to assault.

A couple of weeks after Wheeler had disappeared, Drummond allegedly used her credit card to buy $300 worth of Red Bull energy drinks, Rubio said.

When officers arrived at Drummond’s home on Sept. 9, he tried to give Wheeler’s card to an unknown woman, Rubio said.

He was placed into custody Wednesday and charged with first-degree murder.

Rubio argued there was “strong circumstantial evidence,” that link the the couple together before Drummond died and asked Judge Charles Beach to deny Drummond bail.

Drummond’s attorney, Ari Williams, said Drummond’s phone would have pinged near the beach on the night of Wheeler’s disappearance because he lived in the area.

Wheeler, who was living in a shelter at the time of her death, previously lived with Drummond and his family and they took care of her, which could be why Drummond had her bank card, the defense attorney said.

“He loved this woman,” Williams said.

Drummond has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder stemming from a “random attack” when he was shot multiple times at age 15 and also witnessed a friend get killed, Williams said.

Judge Beach ordered Drummond held without bail as the case continues.

He is expected back in court Monday.