More questions, facts, tidbits on Annie Le murder

The below is a miscellany from my reading about the case.

Why did it take so long to find the body?

The blog Saberpoint has more details (which the blogger, Stogie, found here and here) concerning the discovery of Annie Le’s blood and DNA on Raymond Clark’s clothing and also evidence of their respective comings and goings within the lab building. It is not just entry into and exit from the building itself that is recorded electronically based on the swipe of one’s ID card; it is entrance and exit from each area in the building. So police knew, not just that Annie had not left the building, but that she had not left her work area. Yet it took them four and half days to find her body—in her work area.

Inquiring minds would like to know why.

Ok, here’s an explanation, but a lame one, from ABC’s September 16 article:

Avery told today that authorities didn’t start focusing on the lab until a few days after Le was reported missing. Police were initially unsure, he said, if she had disappeared voluntarily before her wedding, or if she had been a crime victim.

It’s lame because Annie was very happy in her relationship with her fiance and was excitedly looking forward to her wedding, and there is nothing in her background to suggest that she would disappear like this voluntarily. Also, her pocketbook, cell phone, and other personal items were left behind. The notion that a well-functioning person like Annie Le would have behaved like this was absurd.

So it seems to me that the New Haven Police are seriously stupid to have waited a four days to have started searching the lab with dogs.

Four days: from 9 p.m. on Tuesday the 8th when her roommates reported her missing until Saturday night.

Also, most accounts have said the police used “dogs.” The New York Times said they used one dog named Max.

The only possible good explanation for the police waiting until Saturday night to begin searching the building is that it took several days to determine from surveillance cameras and computer records of ID card swipes that Annie had not left the building. I’ve been unable to determine on what day the police realized that Annie could not have left the building. In any case, for the first couple of days they did not take the situation seriously and thought—against all evidence and common sense—that Annie had run away to avoid her wedding.

Raymond Clark

The baby faced Raymond Clark is described as a mild mannered fellow with a good sense of humor. He’s 24 (the same age as Annie), and has worked for Yale since 2004. He has been living with his fiance and several pets in a house about 20 miles from New Haven and their wedding was scheduled for December 2011. See the article in Time. There’s nothing in Clark’s background or personality pointing to his suddenly strangling a co-worker to death in some fit of rage.

Here’s an odd detail, from ABC News, September 16, the day before Clark was arrested:

Clark’s sister, brother-in-law and fiancee, Jennifer Hromadka, also worked in the lab building but did not go to work today.

Then another question I’ve had all though this. The same ABC story says:

Sources also told ABC News that bloody clothing, found behind ceiling tiles in the lab, contained evidence that linked the killer to the crime.

If Clark strangled her to death, where did all this blood come from?

The Sept 19 New York Daily News suggests both a motive (of sorts) and a source of the blood:

Authorities believe Clark, who is said to have ruled the Yale lab where he cleaned rodent cages as his fiefdom, snapped because he thought Le wasn’t following the rules.

“Ray has always been very controlling over what goes on in the mouse room …often bothering people to the point of damn near harassment,” a co-worker told NBC’s “Today Show” Friday.

“Last thing I knew was Annie got a message from him saying her cages were dirty.”

The overbearing mouse-wrangler is believed to have hit Le before strangling her and stashing her body behind a wall.

As to why, police said they may never know.

“The only person who knows the motive is the suspect,” New Haven Police Chief James Lewis told The Associated Press. “It’s true in many cases. You never know absolutely unless the person confesses, and in this case it’s too early to tell.”

Disproportionate coverage?

From the Wikipedia article on the murder of Annie Le:

In the wake of Le’s disappearance and the discovery of her body, some commentators have suggested that the attention given by the media was disproportionate to that given to other murder victims.[19] Slate contributor Jack Shafer opined that “Journalists almost everywhere observe this rough rule of thumb: Three murders at a Midwestern college equal one murder at Harvard or Yale.”[20] The non-profit organization criticized the media for providing so much coverage of the Le murder while nearly ignoring a murder of a college student in Dallas.[21] Connecticut Post columnist MariAn Gail Brown argued that there is a “pecking order” in the investigation of crimes, and that Le’s murder attracted media attention because she was an “Ivy Leaguer. Translation: Someone who might earn beaucoup bucks. Someone who possesses sky’s-the-limit potential. Vivacious and attractive, too.”[22] Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma Executive Director Bruce Shapiro pointed out that journalists had missed the context of the story as one of thousands of deaths from workplace violence.[23]

Posted by Lawrence Auster at September 19, 2009 03:02 PM | Send

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