Welcome back to 52 Lock Up, I am your Appletini Cadma of Bitten Apple TV. 52 lock up is a series I started to talk about one of my biggest passions of true crime. A new episode on every Cadmaniac Monday for 52 Mondays, 52 crimes. Hope you guys enjoy, be sure to like, leave some feedback and subscribe; Viewer discretion is always advised. I will be discussing the death of a teenager.
Let’s all take a walk to the pharmacy. Riley Whitelaw was born on 01/20/2005 in Colorado Springs to her mother Courtenay Whitelaw & Chris Johnson. She had a dog she named Judy and grew up with the older generations of her family; this made her well versed in communication by talking to her grandparents and older aunts. She attended Air Academy High School. Riley’s past times growing up included making silly videos with her friends and bringing laughter to others. She would pay attention to her surroundings and if other people were down or needed a laugh or support; Riley was there for others.
She believed in putting her best foot forward in life and if she needed to perfect a skill set; she held the confidence and ambition to push herself. She loved nature and was quite the artist; she loved to paint and play on her guitar. She spent her short life collecting school and local awards. She also joined the Air Academy High School’s Colorguard which is the high school’s marching band; I remember being in the band for my high school.
When Riley turned 16 years old she started working to begin saving up money to work in Walgreens; a common pharmacy across the United States. When I typically go to Walgreens I usually see teenagers at the register or cleaning up the aisles; it’s not the place I thought of as a place to be murdered. Riley caught the attention of 27 year old Joshua Johnson. He was attracted to Riley but Riley turned him down politely. However, being polite and saying “no” was not sufficient for Joshua. He continued to pursue Riley for a year. I want to discuss this part here.
Toxic masculinity teaches men that they are owed sex, they are not allowed to have emotions or process them and a lot of dangerous ideologies. Women do not owe you sex. Young women need to be protected from predators; and young men too. Anyone over the age of 24/25 years old, their brains and cognitive capabilities are fully developed; they are fully aware of what they are doing. They pick someone younger because it is easier to “mentally mold” them because someone older will know better. Predators do not pick people who will fight back. Riley was not stupid or naive; she grew up with an older crowd. She spoke up to her family and manager at Walgreens about Joshua pursuing Riley; the manager did not do anything. This is what women are fighting back against.
Lets step into “victim blaming”.
Victim Blamer: “What was she wearing?”
“Her work uniform.”
Victim Blamer: “Did she say no?”
“Yes, politely and did not change her ground.”
Victim Blamer: “She should have told someone.”
Victim Blamer: “It’s still her fault, why didn’t she call the cops?”
“The crime wasn’t committed yet, she’s a minor”
Victim Blamer: “She probably lead him on”
“She didn’t, she said no clearly”
Victim Blamer: “It’s not that serious, he just liked her”
“Ok, but she said to stop and she was NOT comfortable”
Victim Blamer: “Boys will be boys”
Riley Whitelaw is the representation of what women fear and what women talk about. Men who support women won’t be triggered by this video; fyi. Whether in personal conversation or social media, women and women presenting persons discuss how men will behave in manners that they are owed sex. We have all seen the videos. “Equal rights means I can punch a woman” even though they would not have the cajones to punch another man to show their equal. These are the same men who wouldn’t try an Amazonian built woman and forget there are weaker and smaller men. Both genders come in different sizes, traditionally men will be larger or stronger physically but that does not mean he can not be taken down. The men who make these comments will carefully pick their victim because they want someone who will not fight back; so the gender is irrelevant.
Her CONSISTENT complaint to the manager at Walgreens was ignored. It was treated as “so what”. This is common. When women who are being harassed speak up they are met victim blaming questions, victim blaming commentary and responses of a shrug and “that’s how boys are”. It is taken as a joke instead of being corrected from a young age. Each woman has a tale about this and you will find women will give in thinking it will never be changed and internalize that misogyny. You will find there are women like myself who will advocate for other women and speak up regardless. These tales are common. Some women will give into sex because they fear being killed or coerced; which baffles me because if sex means you’re desirable then you still haven’t achieved what you wanted anyway.
Here is one of many examples I have from personal experiences and other stories I have permission to share.
“Had a man follow me off the train then grope me after I said not only no but that I was married”
“Had a guy try to shove me down the stairs in college when he accosted me me and demanded why I kissed another student hello on the cheek. A student I may add that I've known outside of the school for about 8 years at this point from church”
“Had a guy expose himself as if that was going to convince me to give him a chance”
“A woman entered the train shaken up and this man sat across from her. Apparently he had flashed her and started following her to the train and even sat boldly across from her smirking. She made a scene and all of the women knew instinctively what was happening and jumped in to her defense, the train had men and women. Only the women stood up.”
“The one that stood out to me was when I was coming home from school and this drunk guy said something to me but it was in Spanish and I didn’t understand him. I said ‘Sorry I can’t help you’ and kept walking. He gets up and starts following me. I confronted him to said out loud ‘why are you following me I can’t help you’. He got aggressive and starts cursing at me and talking about his penis. He tried to hug me and when I said stop he got more aggressive. People were there and saw but did not help me. I had to run and hide inside of a store until my mom could come pick me up. This guy was a big guy. This is the time you started taking me home a few times”
“I remember the time my cousin was coming home from the movies with her friends and they rang our door bell at 1130 at night in order to escape this clutch of guys that was following them from 14th street. The guys were hanging out in front waiting to see if the came back out for about an hour. Dad ended up driving them home, after going in circles, because they only lived like 3 blocks away. Just in case the men were watching.”
“I was 12 years old and just graduated the 8th grade and a man obviously turning 30 soon grabbed me up and raped me. a week later I saw him with his girlfriend in a store and freaked out. He grabbed her and pulled her out of the store and said he didn’t know me”
“I was 17 I was Kmart at Astor place I was with my friend and we were at the furniture department just sitting and talking and this random elderly Asian man old enough to be a grandfather; began to circle around us and then starts to sit right next us too close. so we got up and he followed us when we went to the bathroom I was the first to get out and wait for my friend and while i was waiting this guy came out nowhere and shoved his hands into my pants, groped me and I panicked. he tried to quiet me I bite his hand and screamed “no”. I ran back into the bathroom. I told my friend what happened and to wait. She got impatient cuz we waited a while and her mom was calling her so went out and moments later she came back crying. He groped her and tried to rip off her shirt. (I was young and I admit it was careless) but I went to confront him and he was saying how all girls like that and they deserve I told him no is no and he said “your girl you can’t say no to a man”. A woman who worked there realized what was happening and came to help and threatened to call the police. My friend said he did more but she was too afraid to say anything; to this day I don’t know fully what happened to her”
“I was drinking with friends after a crazy breakup and I went from having full function of my body to suddenly feeling more drunk and messed up than I normally would. I watched a supposed girlfriend of mine talk about going down on me. I remember my thoughts and remember not having control over my body. The guy there was pissed she got to do something to me and they argued over my body and when the girl walked away he picked me up and repeatedly had his way with me in and out of conscious; then told my boyfriend that I slept with him on purpose. We broke up”
“Had a guy who managed the local supermarket follow me around the store for years asking for my number, since I was 13. Stopped after he realized that not only did husband existed, but that his best cashier was my cousin”
“My ex husband raped me in my sleep”
“Had a guy get his friends to surround me to talk him up after i turned him down for a date when i was leaving the bathroom at a church dance. I was 14. He and his friends were clearly pushing 30“
“I was 15 and a man in late 20’s or early 30’s asked for my number. I told him no and how old I was and he called me a bitch and began to follow me”
“I was raped by a friend I told no to, even though he knew I was in a relationship. I ended up pregnant and I broke up with the love of my life because I couldn’t figure out how to tell him I was raped and it may not be his child.
“I went into a store once and my boyfriend at the time was literally in the doorway with his back to me. I was getting a Malta cause it was a hot summer day. The guy in the back saw him and waited until I was out of view from him and cornered me and went to grope me and lift my skirt. When I got out from the back I realized the front guy had closed the front door so my boyfriend couldn't hear me. (I was 20 years old, the man was over 40) I ran out of the store and was too scared to tell my boyfriend”
“My mom’s friend kept hitting on me and touching me. I told my mom and I was called a liar and eventually he raped me”
Riley made noise like victim Blamers say we should; and a year later. She would go to work and try to avoid Joshua Johnson as best as she could since Walgreens did not resolve the situation. Riley’s boyfriend Jacob Leacock began to work at Walgreens 3 months ago but this did not deter Joshua. The manager Crystal noticed that Joshua was showing signs of jealousy. Riley requested to work shifts opposite to Joshua but recently requested to work overtime. She was told the shifts were going to collide as a warning by manager Justin.
June 11th 2022 Joshua was seen on surveillance footage stacking bins in front of the camera. Riley goes to the break room to take her break around 5:30 p.m. Joshua goes to attack Riley and she screams. Her screams were heard; no one investigated. A customer named Elisha Schwenke even reported what sounded like hearing a woman screaming around 5:45 p.m. She also heard stalls slamming. She even told the police when she was passing by the store again and saw the cop cars and informed police. She was heard screaming and no one checked to see what it was. Even if you thought it was something stupid, why didn’t someone check. I hear a yelp from an ant and I look up to make sure all is good. She would be strangled to death. Her blood was splattered all over the break room floor, cabinets and counter from the struggle they had; Joshua took tons of bleach to “clean” the scene and left to go home. 90 minutes go by before anyone notices that Riley has not returned from her break.
Store manager, Justin Zunino was called by manager, Crystal Ishmael, around 5:30 p.m. when she noticed that Riley, had not returned from a break. Crystal did not look hard enough for her and simply waited for Justin to return to the store. He returned to the store shortly after 6 p.m. and reviewed surveillance video. The video showed an employee Joshua Johnson “stacking bins in front of a surveillance camera till it blocked the view of the camera,” & stated that “someone had taped paper over windows in the area of the break room. The restroom closed sign was in the area to keep people out, which typically does not occur till near the close of business,”. Manager Crystal Ishmael went looking for Riley and noticed a heavy scent of bleach in a dumpster area. She went to go open the doors and she heard a male voice tell her they were “changing” and to leave. Joshua would later admit that he was in the break room and had “fallen” in her blood when he arrived.
At 6:55 p.m., the Colorado Springs Police Department received a 911 call from the Walgreens at 6820 Centennial Boulevard located within the City of Colorado Springs.
It’s around 7 p.m. when the officers would be called in by the manager who found her body to come in. One of the managers also noticed on surveillance footage that paper had been taped over the windows and a sign saying the bathroom was closed was on the door. Joshua had already clocked out of work and began to leave work; like nothing happened.
Joshua was arrested on June 12 around 100 miles away from Colorado Springs. He was walking along the interstate with scratches along his hands, face and said he was attacked at Walgreens. After being arrested he told the cops he was no longer interested in Riley because he was dating Crystal; something Crystal did not tell authorities initially. He has been charged with first-degree murder.
There has been a gofundme account started to establish a scholarship in honor of Riley in the References (description below)
Senior Director for Walgreens Fraser Engerman said the company was 'saddened' by the loss and said safety inside stores as a 'top priority.' The company has also offered 'counseling [services] and other resources' to the Centennial Boulevard store location team.
A news outlet stated “Mr. Zunino stated he had warned Joshua to keep things professional and Joshua appeared to be receptive,”
Anyone with information that might help with the investigation is asked to call the Colorado Springs Police Department at 719-444-7000. Callers who wish to remain anonymous may call the Crime Stoppers Tip Line at 719- 634-STOP  or 1-800-222-8477.
Teach your sons to respect “no”. It does not make them less of a man. I know a guy whose quite the ladies man but he can not take the idea of coercing anyone; because in his words I’m not really wanted and I want to feel wanted. He needs consent. Comprehending how your emotions is not gender based. Emotional intelligence is required for personal growth. Teach generations that “no” means “no”. Do not get hostile. Do not teach “she doesn’t mean no”. Do not try to drug them. Do not cross boundaries. There are too many people in the world to meet and mingle with; move on to the next person. Don’t say “women play hard to get”; which I am against but there are people of both genders that like to be “chased”; if you stop pursuing them to respect them I guarantee you they will pursue you and want to know what happened. Get consent. Have a conversation of what you want and what they want. If they do not want you in that way; respect it. If they do not want to hang out; respect it. The most attractive characteristic is respect of other people’s boundaries. Do not intentionally cause harm whether physical, verbal, emotional or mental just because you decided someone else doesn’t have the right to tell you know.
Women, women presenting, men and men presenting; feel free to share your stories of a time someone did not respect your boundaries when you said “no”/“not interested” and how the other person responded.
As always stay safe, stay vigilant and if you see something, say something.
There has been a gofundme account started to establish a scholarship in honor of Riley at https://gofund.me/a04f6bea