CHICAGO — A Northwestern University professor suspected in the stabbing death of a Chicago man sent a video to friends and relatives apologizing for his involvement in a crime that he called the "biggest mistake of my life," raising concern among investigators that he might kill himself.
"We are trying to keep this from becoming more tragic than it already is," Chicago Police Department spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said Friday. He asked that anyone who either is with Wyndham Lathem or knows his location contact law enforcement immediately.
Guglielmi said that the U.S. Marshals Service, which has joined the investigation, has interviewed several of the people who received the video from Lathem, an associate microbiology professor at Northwestern. Guglielmi declined to discuss details of the video or release it because he said it could be used in future interrogation efforts.
The video is the latest twist in the bizarre slaying of Trenton James Cornell-Duranleau, 26, whose body was found stabbed several times inside Lathem's Chicago apartment on July 27. First-degree murder warrants have been issued for Lathem, 42, and Andrew Warren, a 56-year-old University of Oxford employee in England, who was seen on surveillance video leaving the high-rise building with Lathem on the day of the slaying.
Earlier on Friday, police disclosed that on the day of the slaying — but before the body was discovered — Lathem and Warren drove about 80 miles (128 kilometers) northwest to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, where one of them made a $1,000 cash donation to the public library there in Cornell-Duranleau's name. Lake Geneva police said the man making the donation did not give his name.
Police said there is no surveillance video of the encounter at the library and were at a loss to explain the donation.
"I've never seen where suspects in a homicide would make a donation in the victim's name," said Lt. Edward Gritzner.
Chicago police have said they believe they know where the men have gone or are heading, but they have not disclosed details. To prevent them from leaving the United States, authorities have flagged the passports of Lathem and Warren. Law enforcement agencies across the United States have been notified to be on the lookout for the two men, who are considered armed and dangerous. Authorities also have been alerted in England, where Warren was a resident at Somerville College, a part of the Oxford University Network.
Police have released very few details about the investigation. They have said that Lathem had a personal relationship with Cornell-Duranleau, who moved to Chicago from the Grand Rapids, Michigan, area after receiving his cosmetology license. They have said they are still trying to determine how Cornell-Duranleau or Lathem knew Warren, or if Warren knew them before he flew to the United States for the first time ever three days before the slaying.
They have said that on the night of the slaying, the front desk of the apartment building where Lathem lives in Chicago's trendy River North neighborhood received an anonymous call from a person who said that a crime had been committed in Lathem's 10th floor apartment. When police opened the door they found Cornell-Duranleau's body. He had been stabbed several times in an attack so brutal that police said the knife broke.
Police also said that by the time they found the body on the night of July 27, Cornell-Duranleau had been dead for 12-15 hours.