A Chicago man has been charged with stabbing his 19-year-old pregnant girlfriend to death in Chicago and apparently dumping her body in Lake Michigan, where it was later located near Waukegan this summer.
Robert Drummond, 21, of the 4300 block of South Berkeley Avenue in Chicago, was charged with first-degree murder, according to the Lake County Sheriff’s Office.
Drummond was taken into custody by Chicago police on Friday in connection with the death of Yarianna G. Wheeler, 19, of Chicago.
Wheeler’s body was spotted by a fisherman on August 15 floating in Lake Michigan three miles southeast of the Waukegan Harbor, according to the Lake County Sheriff’s Office.
The woman was approximately seven months pregnant. Detectives believe she had been in the water for one or two weeks.
An autopsy showed Wheeler had been stabbed. She had “several sharp force injuries” on her body, according to Lake County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Lt. Christopher Covelli.
Covelli said that sheriff’s detectives “have been working this case day and night” since Wheeler’s body was recovered.
The Lake County Sheriff’s Office collaborated very closely with the Chicago Police Department on the case, Covelli said.
Wheeler was living in Chicago but is originally from the 3200 block of West Wilcox Street in Bellwood, the sheriff’s office said.
When her body was initially recovered, police and the coroner’s office were unable to identify the woman and asked the public for help.
A sketch of the woman was created by Mount Prospect Police Detective Dirk Ollech and released on August 20.
Covelli said one of the tips received from the public assisted in identifying Wheeler.
Detectives went to the woman’s residence in Chicago after she had been identified and they obtained additional information and clues.
Following that, detectives were able to quickly identify Drummond as a person of interest.
Lake County sheriff’s detectives worked with the United States Coast Guard to determine the Lake Michigan water currents during the preceding several days from when Wheeler’s body was found, in an effort to find out where she might have entered the water.
Sheriff’s detectives followed up on hundreds of leads throughout the investigation.
They determined Wheeler met with Drummond near Oakwood Beach in Chicago. Detectives went to the area on August 30 and recovered evidence, including some of Wheeler’s belongings.
Detectives determined the location was likely the crime scene. After conferring with Chicago police’s missing persons detectives, Lake County sheriff’s evidence technicians and drone pilots were sent to the Chicago scene to collect evidence and document what was discovered, Covelli said.
“I am incredibly proud of the tenacious efforts of our detectives throughout this investigation. Through their hard and diligent work, they quickly identified a person of interest, discovered the likely crime scene, and worked with Chicago Detectives to further the investigation. We will always do everything in our power to be the voice of victims who are unable to speak for themselves and hold those who victimized them accountable,” Lake County Sheriff John Idleburg said.