Lab Tech Held In Death Of Yale Grad Student

Police announced an arrest Thursday in the murder of Yale University graduate student Annie Le. Raymond Clark worked in the same building as Le, as a lab technician. Diane Orson reports for member station WNPR.

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From NPR News, it's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

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And I'm Melissa Block. A lab technician at Yale University was arraigned today and charged with the murder of graduate student Annie Le. From member station WNPR in New Haven, Diane Orson reports.

DIANE ORSON: Twenty-four year old pharmacology student Annie Le disappeared from Yale on September 8th. She left her cell phone and credit cards in her office and walked over to the lab where she worked. The security camera showed her entering the building but there was no record of her leaving. More than 100 law enforcement agents made up of Yale security, city and state police and FBI agents worked on the investigation. Tip lines were set up. Le's pictures were seen on posters throughout downtown and on local highway billboards.

On Sunday, the day she was to have been married, Le's body was discovered hidden behind a basement wall inside the Yale lab. Connecticut's medical examiner confirmed that Le died of asphyxiation. 24-year-old Raymond J. Clark III was arrested for the murder. New Haven Police Chief James Lewis.

Mr. JAMES LEWIS (Police Chief, New Haven): Based upon numerous interviews, forensic evidence and information learned from viewing video surveillance, detectives have secured the arrest warrant for Clark. This arrest warrant has been sealed. So, no further information can be released in order to comply with this court order.

ORSON: Hundreds of people have been interviewed as part of the investigation, more than 250 items gathered for DNA testing. Raymond Clark submitted to a request for DNA but officials will not confirm a match. Nor have authorities suggested a motive for the killing. But they say it was not an urban or domestic crime. They call it a case of workplace violence.

Clark had been a lab technician at Yale Medical School since December 2004. His work included cleaning the cages of animals used at the lab. Several of his family members are also employed at the university. School officials say nothing in Clark's employment history indicates that he could commit such a crime. The killing has shaken the Yale community. Yale President Richard Levin expressed relief at the arrest and said school safety is a top priority.

Mr. RICHARD LEVIN (President, Yale University): I want to emphasize that our campus and our city are safe places. What happened here could have happened anywhere. It says more about the dark side of the human soul than it does about anything else.

ORSON: The lab where Annie Le's body was found is part of the Yale Medical School complex, about a mile from the main campus. It's a high security lab with more than 70 surveillance cameras. For students, faculty, and tech workers to enter the basement, they must swipe special keycards. That's why students like 25-year-old Shirley Wang(ph) are so stunned by the killing.

Ms. SHIRLEY WANG (Freshman, Yale University): I'm wondering like if I came back late at night, will it be problem, you know, just walking in the library or walking in the medical building. I just can't understand why this kind of thing would happen at Yale.

ORSON: There was another murder at Yale a decade ago. The 1998 killing of Suzanne Jovin remains unsolved. Raymond Clark did not enter a plea during today's brief court appearance. Bail was set at $3 million. His next court date is October 6th.

For NPR News, I'm Diane Orson in New Haven.

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