What happened to Riley Whitelaw? Case explored as Walgreens employee is charged for killing teen co-worker

Joshua Johnson has been charged in the murder of teenager Riley Whitelaw (image via Colorado State Police Department)
Joshua Johnson has been charged in the murder of teenager Riley Whitelaw (image via Colorado State Police Department)

On June 11, Riley Whitelaw, a 16-year-old Colorado Springs Walgreens employee, was allegedly murdered by her 28-year-old co-worker Joshua Johnson.

According to NBC, Whitelaw’s body was discovered at 7 pm in the breakroom of the supermarket by one of the managers. After reviewing surveillance footage, police investigators linked the murder to Joshua Johnson, who is now under police custody.

Joshua Johnson was arrested the day after the murder, 100 miles away from the city. State troopers initially detained him due to the fact that he was covered in blood. It was only after they contacted the Colorado State Police Department that they discovered him to be the primary suspect in the Walgreens homicide.

After his arrest, Joshua Johnson was charged with first-degree murder. The case is still under investigation.

More about Riley Whitelaw's alleged murder

According to the New York Post, Joshua Johnson told investigators that he had feelings for Riley Whitelaw. As per the arrest affidavit,

“(Joshua Johnson) admitted at one time that he had a crush on Riley. He stated he no longer had a crush on her because he was intimate with one of the managers.”

However, the manager in question did not confirm being associated with him romantically.

The Denver Post reported that Riley Whitelaw had told her manager Justin Zunino about Joshua Johnson making her feel uncomfortable about a year ago.

Another manager at the store, Crystal Ishmael, said that Johnson had reportedly behaved inappropriately when Whitelaw’s boyfriend began working at Walgreens as well. To be specific, Ishmael said:

“(Joshua Johnson) appeared to be acting jealous.”

According to Fox News, a few weeks before the murder, Riley Whitelaw had gone to the managers once again to complain about Joshua Johnson’s behavior. Zunino told the police that Whitelaw had requested to work a different schedule so she would not have to interact with Johnson. However, Zunino stated that she had no choice but to share certain shifts with the suspect since she also wanted additional hours.

As per the New York Post, on the day of the murder, surveillance footage recorded Johnson blocking windows and cameras with paper and trash cans. Later, after the managers became concerned about Whitelaw’s whereabouts, they found signs of suspicious activity around the supermarket, even detecting a “strong smell of bleach” near the trash bins.

When Ishmael tried to enter the bathroom, she was blocked from the other side. The affidavit states:

“She attempted to open the door and heard a male voice saying he was changing.”

The body was discovered in the breakroom a while later. After Johnson’s arrest, Zunino and Ishmael told authorities that they believed he was the prime suspect because of his history of harassing Whitelaw. Now under police custody, Johnson is set to appear in court on June 21 in El Paso County.

Edited by Mohini Banerjee