The Annie Le Case: A Yale Student’s View
A Yale student give an insider perspective on the murder of fellow student Annie Le.
The Yale student body breathed a collective sigh of relief this morning with the news that lab technician Raymond Clark has been detained in the connection with the gruesome killing of graduate student Annie Le. The body of Le, a doctorate student in pharmacology, was found on Sunday — the day she was due to get married — stuffed behind a wall in the basement of the building in which she and Clark both worked.
Clark’s exact connection to the case remains unclear, and he has been released following the execution of search warrants on his body. Unsubstantiated rumors suggest that he failed a lie-detector test, had defensive scratches on his chest, and came home wearing different clothes on the day Le disappeared. However, given that access to the area of the basement in which Le’s body was found is both monitored and restricted, most students I know are confident that, whether or not Clark is the killer, the person(s) responsible for this terrible crime will be apprehended in short order.
The investigation will not be without its detractors, who have already criticized the length of time it took to locate Le’s body (five days) and the fact that Yale Daily News reporters were able to access the building’s basement unescorted on Friday. Yale students have also expressed dismay about the fact that they were not notified of Le’s disappearance until more than 24 hours after she was last seen alive and the terse tone of President Richard Levin’s email after the body was found.
However, the cooperation and deliberation exhibited by law enforcement in this case already provides a sharp contrast to the bungled investigation following the 1998 slaying of Yale student Suzanne Jovin. Police in that case refused assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (which has already played a key role in the Le investigation), and prematurely leaked the name of a Yale instructor who was initially the prime suspect. Key evidence was ignored, and, nearly 11 years later, Jovin’s murder remains unsolved.
Jovin, an undergraduate, was the last Yale student killed in New Haven, a fact that ought to give pause to commentators who have spent much of the last week opining on the dangerousness of the Elm City. Violent crime is, as the Yale administration has noted, down significantly over the past decade. However, that is beside the point: every student I’ve talked to has realized ever since Le’s body was found that her murder was not a random act and, as such, no reflection on the general safety of either New Haven or the Yale campus.