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Docs: Teen asked not to work with coworker facing charges for her murder at Walgreens

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- The victim in the death investigation at a Colorado Springs Walgreens has been identified.

Court documents identified the victim as 17-year-old Riley Whitelaw. Monday, Academy School District 20 confirmed she was a student at Air Academy High School.

Saturday, Colorado Springs Police Department (CSPD) received a 911 call at the Walgreens located at 6820 Centennial Blvd., just before 7 p..m.

Police say the Walgreens manager stated he found a body in the break room.

At approximately 7:02 p.m., police found a female body on the floor of the employee's breakroom. Police say Whitelaw suffered trauma to her neck area. Stains of blood were discovered on the floor, cabinets, and counter of the break room.

That manager told police during an interview that at 5:30 p.m., he was contacted by a different manager and that was when he noticed Whitelaw didn't return to work.

In a surveillance video, the manager stated an employee, Joshua Johnson was stacking bins in front of the surveillance camera, until it blocked the camera.

The manager said someone had taped paper over the windows in the area of the break room.

After the manager watched the surveillance footage of Johnson checking in the area of the break room, court documents show the manager opened the door and saw a person on the floor, recognized to be Whitelaw.

Police say Whitelaw had complained in the past about Johnson and that he made Whitelaw feel uncomfortable. Johnson was warned by managers to keep things professional.

Many weeks ago, police say Whitelaw requested to work a different schedule because Johnson made her feel uncomfortable. When Whitelaw requested to work more hours, she was told it would require her to work with Johnson.

According to police documents, three months ago, Whitelaw's boyfriend started working at Walgreens. Ishmael says Johnson was acting jealous. As Whitelaw was being looked for, a manager looked outside in the dumpster area. She noticed a strong odor of bleach, and tried to open the door but then heard a man say he was changing.

That manager told another member of management what she had witnessed, so the other manager checked the dumpster area but the man was gone.

There was an empty bottle of bleach in the dumpster.

Detectives from the Homicide/Assault Unit took over the investigation, leading to the arrest of 28-year-old Joshua Johnson. Colorado State Patrol arrested him on I-25 near Walsenburg Sunday.

The community started to leave flowers in front of the Walgreens Sunday, with the store posting signs that it will be closed indefinitely.

KRDO News

Comments

8 Comments

  1. With the labor shortage we are seeing a lot of 14 to 17 year olds working retail and food jobs alongside people with drug, mental health, or criminal issues. There have been many stories lately of young people who are left on their own to deal with seriously disturbed coworkers. So sorry for the family and friends, this is a terrible, terrible thing.

    1. She had presumably made it this far in life without succümbing to any major issues, until something arose like this, where she had essentially no control of the situation. Hopefully she’ll be remembered for all the good things in her life.

    2. The age matters very little when managers fail to take action when presented with an employee who is making inappropriate advances and is “acting jealous”.

      1. The manager really had very little options. Hard to get reliable workers these days and besides he has a business to run and can’t be catering to every employee whim. This more than likely would have taken place even if he would have shifted work schedules. The guy had mental problems and couldn’t handle rejection.

        1. You think this guy fits the profile of a “reliable worker” that was so valuable they couldn’t fire him? No, businesses are paranoid about firing people these days, afraid of being sued or having to do extra paperwork, or of making an unstable person upset with them. The manager didn’t do anything most managers wouldn’t — but that doesn’t make it right, or good business practice. If you want good employees, you don’t make them work next to people that haras s them.

      2. My point is that a younger person has less power in a work situation and is more likely to be dismissed or ignored when she brings up concerns, so age matters because managers are more likely to fail to take action in those situations. When I was young I worked with peers in my first jobs, but with this labor market you have teens working with adults that are doing the jobs teens used to do. This means many of them are dysfunctional, addicts, felons, etc. It’s a bad situation when you have young people with little power in the workplace working next to people with serious problems and managers that are not aware of the added responsibility that brings to their job.

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