GRADUATE STUDENT GOES MISSING

The Yale Police Department says Annie Le GRD ’13, pictured above, has not been seen or heard from since Tuesday morning.
The Yale Police Department says Annie Le GRD ’13, pictured above, has not been seen or heard from since Tuesday morning. Photo by Office ofPublicAffairs.

A 24-year-old graduate student at the Yale School of Medicine was declared missing on Wednesday by the Yale Police Department.

According to the police, Annie Marie Le GRD ’13 — whose wedding is supposed to take place on Sunday — has not been seen or heard from since Tuesday morning. Deputy University Secretary Martha Highsmith, who oversees campus security operations, said there is no evidence to suggest foul play in the disappearance but declined to elaborate further Wednesday evening, saying she would not comment on an ongoing investigation. The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Connecticut State Police are assisting the YPD in the search.

Police searched Annie Le’s GRD '13 last known location, 10 Amistad St., late last night, but they did not locate the doctoral student. The Yale Police Department is seeking information about Le’s whereabouts.
Police searched Annie Le’s GRD '13 last known location, 10 Amistad St., late last night, but they did not locate the doctoral student. The Yale Police Department is seeking information about Le’s whereabouts.
Annie Le MED '13 is seen entering 10 Amistad St. on Tuesday morning, when she was last seen.
Office ofPublicAffairs
Annie Le MED '13 is seen entering 10 Amistad St. on Tuesday morning, when she was last seen.

A surveillance photograph distributed by the University shows Le, a native of Placerville, Calif., entering a Yale research facility at 10 Amistad St. on Tuesday morning. Officials say she has not been seen or heard from since.

Le, a 4-foot-11-inch Asian female who has shoulder-length brown hair and brown eyes, was last seen wearing a knee-length brown skirt, a bright green short-sleeved T-shirt, brown shoes and a brown necklace. The police believe she does not have access to a car.

A 2007 graduate of the University of Rochester who is now studying for a doctorate in pharmacology and molecular medicine, Le started her Tuesday morning working in her lab at the Sterling Hall of Medicine, University Vice President and Secretary Linda Lorimer said. Le left the lab at some point that morning to walk the three blocks to the Amistad Street facility where she frequently works on experiments, Lorimer said. She brought her Yale identification card with her — records show that she swiped into the building at about 10 a.m — but left her purse, which contained her cell phone, credit cards and money, in her Sterling office, Lorimer said.

The search for Le on Wednesday was largely focused on the Amistad Street building, where she was last seen. Several dozen police and security officers searched the building and the connected parking garage late last night, but they did not find Le. The search took about an hour, though the police paused at times to obtain keys to certain remote areas of the building. People continued to enter and exit the facility as the search continued.

Several students and workers confirmed that there had been an unexpected fire alarm in the building at about 1 p.m. on Tuesday, and the building was evacuated as a result. Although security cameras are stationed all around the building, Lorimer said the University has not been able to confirm that Le left the facility at any point after she entered it.

“We have been looking now at all of the tapes of every exit and entrance over the entire 24 hours, just to see if there’s any information we can give to the law enforcement agencies,” Lorimer said late Wednesday evening.

No e-mail was sent to the campus community to inform students and faculty of the disappearance. Le’s fiance, Jonathan Widawsky, a graduate student at Columbia University who attended Rochester with her, could not be reached for comment Wednesday, though NBC Connecticut reported that he was in New Haven helping with the search on Wednesday. Efforts to reach Le’s parents were also unsuccessful.

Le worked in the pharmacology lab of Anton Bennett, an associate professor of pharmacology. Police confiscated her belongings from that lab yesterday and were still examining her lab space Wednesday evening.

Bennett, for his part, said he was first contacted by police late Tuesday after Le’s roommate reported her missing.

He emphasized that his eight-person laboratory team, of which Le is a member, works closely together and, as such, her colleagues noticed her absence quickly.

“There was certainly immediate concern about her whereabouts,” Bennett said. “And they grew over the course of the day,” especially after she missed a pathology class for which she is a teaching assistant.

Bennett described his advisee as an extremely diligent and well-organized student. He added that she was always aware of her surroundings and took appropriate precautions when leaving the lab late at night. Colleagues interviewed universally described Le as a bundle of energy — an always upbeat and friendly individual, who, while petite, is readily recognizable by the clickety-clack of her high heels on the lab floors.

School of Medicine Dean Robert Alpern said he was notified about Le’s disappearance late yesterday afternoon, just before the Department of Pharmacology met and was briefed on the situation.

“The biggest thing we’re worried about right now is ‘Is she okay?’ ” he said.

Anyone with information on Le’s whereabouts is asked to contact the YPD at (203) 432-4400.

Comments

  • .

    Praying for her return.

  • Concerned

    As we continue to search for Annie Marie Le and hope for her safety, the university must study in earnest how it can improve the security in the area.

  • @#2

    I suppose Yale could employ storm-troopers to round up all the demented miscreants, raze the slums, jail the minorities, and round up the usual suspects–isn’t that what you mean?

  • Anonymous

    The story is now a national headline. CNN: http://www.cnn.com/2009/US/09/10/connecticut.missing.yale.student/index.html

    AOL headline: http://news.aol.com/article/student-disappears-just-before-wedding/665223?icid=main|htmlws-main|dl3|link3|http%3A%2F%2Fnews.aol.com%2Farticle%2Fstudent-disappears-just-before-wedding%2F665223

    And as with all AOL headlines, terrible comments are being made by those who aren’t involed in and have no real grasp of the situation, including racist and sexist comments about Le. Thank you, YDN, for reporting this as an issue of safety and security, and not blowing this up as twisted tabloid fodder.

  • BKW

    Want to read something chillingly ironic?

    http://bbs.yale.edu/images/B10_1.pdf

  • Y07

    I’m a little disturbed by the fact that the Yale community was not informed until well after the initial YDN report was posted, given how many undergrads and grads work in that area.

    Godspeed to those working to find her, and I hope the family gets some answers soon.

  • undergrad

    Praying for Annie’s return as well.

    Maybe Yale should stop spending its money on things like spa water and start using its resources to boost security in the infamously scary med. school area. Please. That can’t fly.

  • Hieronymus

    I *am* impressed with the outpouring of applications to a Higher Power. Didn’t think ole Yale had it in her!

  • brittany

    As a parent of a freshman, i am very upset the Yale community was not notified. I hope Annie Marie is found safe.

  • concerned parent

    As a parent of a collage student myself I am curious as to why the security at this campus waited so log to report this to police,Also what was she carring into the lab with her, It sorta looks like a baby,

  • Dan

    I read that an alarm sounded…did the building empty? Every place in the building, possible and impossible should be searched, every inch. Overlooking the obvious is a bad habit of police and people. Use research techniques to find her. Students need to scour the area in mass. Good luck and hope for the best.

  • guest

    Misread about her parents not being contacted….

  • Cathy O’Dell

    I hope that she is found somewhere in or around the area where she was last seen. If there is no video footage of her leaving the building, then dogs should be used to search every single inch of the building. A New York woman was found dead in the same building where she disappeared. Hopefully this young Yale woman will be found alive.

  • lance

    i’m curious as to whether the huge amount of stimulus money earmarked for yale molecular research had something to do with this. just a thought.

  • GRD ’13

    Editor, can you please correct “MED ’13″ to “GRD ’13″? Seeing it printed incorrectly all over the news kinda bugs me, since she is a pharmacology student at the School of Medicine, but not a med student like everyone is reporting. Very silly point considering the gravity of the situation, so no need to post this to the public.

    My prayers go to the searchers and the family, and for Annie and her safety.

  • GRD ’10

    I agree – what is it that she has in her arms. A labcoat? A stray cat? A bag? Her lunch? It’s not her purse, because that was left in her office. Do the authorities already know what it is?

  • Elihu Jim

    To #10 Concerned Parent- It was reported to the Yale Police by her coworkers. Yale has both a Police and a Security Department. So there wasn’t any lag time for her disappearance being reported to police.

  • evonn

    i hope they check locked doors too… a yr a two ago we had a soldier wander into a what employees thought was a locked door (so they didn’t check it and he was there the whole time..) it was a ventilation room, so there was a large fan in there, the soldier (drunk celebrating his return and soon leaving of the military)was in the dark trying to get out, he ended up slicing his arm. Long story short he passed out and bled to death.. the whole time the employees and police checked around the premises but never checked the doors that they thought where supposed to be locked.. So locked or not please check all the doors and don’t make the same mistake..

  • Curious

    This story reminds me a another story i have read on Fox5news.com. It stated this women who was a janitor in the building was sweeping the floor and then vanished like Annie did. her purse, keys, phone and everything was still in her locker and there were no traces of her leaving the building. I hope Annie can make it home safe and sound.
    http://scaredmonkeys.net/index.php?topic=5643.0

  • SonnyRice

    How many of our children and women must die or disappear before we stand up to protect them. It seems to be a problem that will not go away by ignoring . I call upon each and every citizen to “ Stand With ME “ and do the right thing.
    We outnumber the bad in this country in all but the willingness to get involved. The low life’s count on us not getting together. They operate in the day light as well as in the dark without any apparent fear. They come in all sizes, ages, colors, all incomes, yet no one sees them. We look away and hope they don’t see us. We turn blind and deaf as they prey on our society. We no longer know who our neighbors by name. Fear fills our streets, schools, and public parks for both the young and the old.
    I say it is the bad ones who should live in fear. Stand with each other and take back our country. Stand with me and I will help you be strong. Every person that helps another, helps themselves. Go out and greet your neighbors so a stranger stands out from the crowd. Watch out for all our loved ones so we are no longer prey.
    Stand with me America so our country can be safe. I can’t be by your side everyday so please stand together. I can’t be everywhere but you can.
    You are all stronger then the bad. No bully can face a crowd. No thief can steal what all eyes are on. No child can be harmed if we all listen and see. No woman can be harmed if people are there to render aide. No one old or young can suffer if we all stand together.
    I call upon you my fellow Americans to return control of this great land. I will be there for you, so please be there for each other. Be the human being and let us put the animals in a cage. No vigilantes, only citizens doing what is right. If we fill the jails we will build more of them. If we save one person the cost will balance out. Are you willing to live a better life now. Stand with me America, I can not do it alone.

    Stand up with me, and America will be free. Stand side by side, against all who don’t abide.
    Stand up against all crimes, and we will live in the best of times.
    Stand up at home with all your might, a family united is worth the fight.
    Stand up for the weak, and together we can have the life we seek.
    Stand up for the young and old, for together we may all be bold.
    Stand up against everything wrong, Stand as one and be strong.
    Stand together and end all pain, Stand united and we all gain.
    Stand against bullies and thieves, Stand deaf to he who deceives.
    Stand up with me as a proud American, and honestly do all that you can.
    Contact me ernieiii@hotmail.com – Together we are strong – Let us work together America.

  • Engineer

    Many of Yale’s buildings are connected by steam tunnels. If this one is I hope it is being checked.

  • @SonnyRice

    Have some respect. Take your spam and get out.

  • AV

    Did anyone look on the roof?

    Have any of the videos shown anyone leaving with anything that could contain a person?

    Miss Le is quite petite, much smaller than I am. And when I was thinner (much thinner) I could fit into a large animal carrier. Or in cupboards.

    This means suitcases, medical supply carts, laundry carts, rolling bins, janitorial bins on wheels and otherwise, crawl spaces, vent ducts, coat closets, lockers, fridges, etc.

    I don’t know anything other than what I’ve read on the news. But if there were animals she worked with, and one got loose, and she tried to get it in a small space, she could have gone in somewhere after it and gotten stuck. Or banged her head and passed out.

    If she was scared of something/someone, she also could have hidden somewhere.

    I keep hoping to read that she has been found. That she’s ok and it’s just some weird fluke. Like maybe going to the roof for a breath of fresh air and tripping over something and other than a fractured ankle that she can’t walk on, she’s fine.

    Just needs someone to find her.

    I hope someone finds her soon.

  • george

    I read about Le’s disappearance in Foxnews and have tried to connect the following dots:

    “Le was in her lab at the Sterling Hall of Medicine Tuesday morning, and then walked a few blocks to another lab facility at 10 Amistad Street. A security camera captured her going into the building at 10 a.m., the same time she swiped her Yale ID card at the entrance. …There was no image of her leaving, …”

    “A fire alarm set off by a faulty smoke detector about 12:40 p.m. at the Amistad Street building isn’t thought to be connected to Le’s disappearance, university Deputy Secretary Martha Highsmith told the Yale Daily News.”

    “Ironically, Le wrote a magazine article earlier this year about how to stay safe on the Ivy League campus. …
    Annie Le’s article, called “Crime and Safety in New Haven,” was published in February in a magazine produced by Yale’s medical school.”

    Considering that Le was very safety-conscious, could something happen to her while she was inside the Amistad building, such that in reaction she sounded the fire alarm for help? Maybe the police should check the area where the fire alarm was.

    Just a theory.

  • joe

    maybe,she caught cold feet,not wanting to be married and fled stealth.

  • CM

    FYI:
    The Amistad building is not usually locked during the day time, but there is a security guard sitting there (it’s locked at 6pm.) So she shouldn’t need the ID to get in.

    The only place in the whole building that is always keycard-accessed is the mouse facility down in the basement. So, I’m assuming that’s why she walked over from the lab that she actually works in to the Amistad building – to check on her mice or do an experiment, maybe?

    What’s in her arms look to me like 2 boxes, which I then assume that they’re probably equipment/reagents she needed to work with the mice. They could probably easily ask people in her lab what they should be.

    Moreover, people wear white gowns in the mouse facility, which you should remove before leaving. (It’s not a lab coat, and it’d look weird if you do walk outside in this thing.) But she could have left with it. I hope they’re thinking of that while looking at all those tapes too.

    Plus, mice stink. A LOT. I don’t know how a dog is supposed to pick up any scent within the vicinity of those mice…

  • Anonymous

    Who remembers Suzanne Jovin’s case of 1998? Yale has a huge public relations problem on its hands….

  • Anthy

    They’ve just discovered her bloody clothes hidden in a ceiling panel in the laboratory basement… and then they found her body.

    Sad

  • Anthy

    Sorry, got that info about a body being found from the New York Daily News, which has since retracted that statement! No body been found yet…

  • SafetyCat

    It seems clear that she was concerned about safety. A person doesn’t just decide to write an article of the nature that she wrote for fun. Is it perhaps likely that she was aware of some danger and uneasy about it? Maybe she dealt with the feelings of unease in the most rational way possible – by exploring them and writing about them?

  • AV

    What are the laws or rules of reporting a missing person in that area? Some places it is supposed to be at least 24 hours. Other places it does not have to be.

    As the news video I watched earlier said they were investigating the evidence (the reported bloody clothing) to see if it was connected at all with Miss Le, I guess it was NOT the items she was last seen wearing.

    So whose were they? And whose blood was on them?

    What students and/or faculty that SHOULD be around campus have disappeared? For any reason.

    Anyone at all in the area that has seemingly excused themselves since Miss Le’s disappearance? For any reason.

    Is there a record of autos that have parked in the adjacent parking structure? Is there anything that records entering and exiting?

    For instance, is it possible to have an image of a specific vehicle with driver showing their clothing as they are driving into the structure and leaving the structure?

    So that a person who is seen in a silver car enters in a blue shirt and leaves in a white shirt…and maybe the evidence they have is a blue shirt.

    Why is this evidence JUST being found? It was in the lab? Up, always check above.

    As that seems to be the last place people look. That’s why I suggested the roof. But then i saw a picture of the roof and it looks like it might be a parking structure. Rather than an isolated rooftop that no one goes to.

    How were the items in the ceiling found? Some decided to look up there, just in case? Or what?

    This is all very strange.

  • george

    Neither the fire alarm sounds off everyday, nor someone disappears everyday in a building. If these two occurred at about the same time, they were likely to be related. If someone hurt Le, he could have turned on the fire alarm to make everyone leave the building and then proceed.

  • Former YDS Student

    What class was it that was cancelled that she was about to attend?

    Is the class taught by a male professor?

    What is his age?

  • DJ

    it looks like she’s holding a book.