Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Annie Le: The Yale Lab Murder


Annie Le with fiancé Jonathan Widawsky
Annie Le with fiancé Jonathan Widawsky

Annie Le had it all. She was smart, pretty and charming. The daughter of immigrants, her talent and hard work had won her a place in the graduate pharmacology program at the world-renowned Yale School of Medicine. She was about to marry the man she called her best friend.

On September 8, 2009, five days before the wedding was to take place, she disappeared.

On the day she was scheduled to wed, New Haven police found her body stuffed inside the walls of a Yale animal laboratory where she performed her research.

Raymond Clark III
Raymond Clark III
Cops had already cleared her fiancé, Jonathan Widawsky, as well as a professor they'd questioned because he'd suddenly canceled class on the day Le went missing. But detectives had been watching Raymond Clark III, a technician at Le's Amistad Street labindeed, authorities quickly amassed enough evidence to arrest and charge him. Prosecutors are confident they have enough proof to readily convict Clark.

The question that remains is why Annie Le was killed. Some commentators speculated that she and Clark might have had a sexual relationship; police and friends disagree. Others suggested that the killing was the deadly climax in a town-gown conflict between the Ivy League university's students and its working-class staff. Le's friends doubt that, saying that the warm, personable woman they knew could quell any conflict with a kind smile. Coworkers, though, say that Clark was a control freak in the lab, and that he had a bad temper; they believe that the athletic hot-head may have lashed out and injured the woman who was half his size.

Yale President Richard Levin blames "the dark side of the human soul" for the tragedy.


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