LENNON, Mich. — Under an overcast and sometimes rainy sky at a church in a Michigan town of 500 people, Trenton Cornell-Duranleau was laid to rest Saturday.
Funeral services for the 26-year-old were held in Lennon, Mich., 16 days after Cornell-Duranleau was found murdered in a River North apartment.
The services were held at the Lennon Weslyan Church, which sits on rural two-lane Lennon Road and looks out onto vast expanses of corn and soybean fields.
A Shiawassee County sheriff’s officer sat parked in a police SUV in the church’s driveway, ensuring that only family and friends of Cornell-Duranleau were present. About a 75 cars were in the lot by 11:45 a.m.
Members of the media were not allowed to attend the services, and his family declined to comment.
According to public records, Cornell-Duranleau’s family lives in Corunna, Michigan, about six miles from the church. The house registered to his family — a blue 1-½ story story home with a well-kept lawn and manicured bushes and shrubs — sits on a quiet street just east of the town’s main street.
After the service, the licensed cosmetologist was buried at a small nearby cemetery.
Cornell-Duranleau was found stabbed to death in an apartment rented by former Northwestern microbiology professor Wyndham Lathem on July 27. A police source told the Chicago Sun-Times’ Michael Sneed that Cornell-Duranleau was stabbed more than 40 times.
Police have said Lathem and Cornell-Duranleau were dating at the time of his death.
Cornell-Duranleau graduated from cosmetology school in Michigan and moved to Chicago fairly recently. His address was a small, worn-looking apartment building in the Heart of Chicago neighborhood, and neighbors said he was quiet and kept to himself.
“I don’t know much about him, but what I’ve heard about what happened, shouldn’t happen to anybody,” said a neighbor who had lived in the building for about a year. “He deserves justice.”
In an obituary posted on her Facebook page, his mother, Mischelle Duranleau, said he was born in Lennon and loved animals, music, cars and video games. His biological mother died when he was young, and he was adopted by Duranleau and raised among a large family of adopted siblings.
“His enthusiasm for life was infectious. Trenton was a caregiver and loved to help others,” Duranleau wrote.
Shortly after Cornell-Duranleau’s death, arrests warrants were issued for Lathem and Andrew Warren, a British citizen and employee of the Oxford College system who was in the United States for the first time.
A nationwide manhunt ensued. Before the two surrendered to authorities in the Bay Area in California on Aug. 4, they drove to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, and donated $1,000 to the public library in Cornell-Duranleau’s name.
Hours before they were taken into custody, police revealed that Lathem had sent an apologetic video message to his friends, family and relatives of Cornell-Duranleau. A Chicago Police spokesman declined to comment on what Lathem said in the video, though CNN reported Lathem confessed to committing “the biggest mistake of my life” and said the message had been encrypted.
San Francisco police told the Chicago Sun-Times that Lathem dropped off Warren at a police station in Golden Gate Park. After that, Lathem turned himself in to federal authorities in Oakland after his attorneys negotiated a surrender.
Both appeared in court this past week and will be extradited to Cook County, where they face first-degree murder charges.