Professor on the Lam

Chicago police are searching for Northwestern professor and Oxford employee, charged with murder and considered armed and dangerous.

August 4, 2017
 
Wyndham Lathem, left, and Andrew Warren

Northwestern University and the University of Oxford have found themselves in the spotlight this week, though not for a breakthrough in scholarship.

Wyndham Lathem, an associate professor at Northwestern University, and Andrew Warren, a senior treasury adviser at Somerville College, part of Oxford, are on the run, wanted by authorities for a Chicago homicide. First-degree murder warrants have been issued for Lathem and Warren’s arrests.

“Wanted for Murder by [the Chicago Police Department] -- Our search will only intensify. Prof Latham [sic] & Mr Warren, do the right thing & turn yourself in,” police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said in a tweet Wednesday morning. Police are considering the pair armed and dangerous.

The Chicago Tribune reported Wednesday that police found Trenton Cornell-Duranleau dead, with multiple stab wounds, last week at a Chicago apartment where Lathem lists his address. The Chicago Sun-Times reported that Cornell-Duranleau and Lathem appear have lived together, although the Tribune noted that Cornell-Duranleau had a separate Chicago address listed as his home.

A representative from the Chicago Police Department told Inside Higher Ed Thursday that the investigation was still ongoing, and that Lathem and Warren are at large. Guglielmi later told the media that the investigation was “narrowing by the hour.” A relationship between Cornell-Duranleau, a Michigan native, and Warren and Lathem has not been publicly stated.

In a statement, a spokesman for Oxford and Somerville College said the university had been in contact with police in the United Kingdom “and are ready to help the U.S. investigating authorities in any way they need.”

“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 U.S. authorities as soon as possible, in the best interests of everyone concerned,” the statement read.

“We don’t know why [Warren] was in Chicago -- he was not on college business or on authorized leave,” Stephen Rouse, head of Oxford’s news and information office, said in an email. A Northwestern spokesman said that the university does not have a relationship with Warren.

Police have not yet released an alleged motive, but Guglielmi told the Associated Press that, on the night of Cornell-Duranleau’s death, surveillance video captured Lathem and Warren exiting the building where the 26-year-old's body was found.

Lathem is an associate professor of microbiology-immunology at Northwestern University, where he has been since 2007. Spokesman Alan K. Cubbage said that he has been placed on leave and banned from campus.

“There is no indication of any risk to the Northwestern community from this individual at this time,” Cubbage said in a statement. “This is now a criminal matter under investigation by the appropriate authorities, and Northwestern University in cooperating in that investigation.”

Lathem and Warren are believed by authorities to have fled the state, although the Riverfront Times, in St. Louis, noted that Lathem’s home there appeared to be empty. (Lathem had previously worked at Washington University in St. Louis.)

Lathem’s research, according to his LinkedIn page, 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.”

Yersinia is a type of bacteria, and Yersinia pestis is best known for causing bubonic plague, which killed millions when it reached pandemic levels in Europe, dubbed the Black Death, in the 14th century.

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