No suspects in disappearance, police say

A billboard bearing a photo Annie Le GRD '13 is seen alongside Interstate 91 on Friday.
A billboard bearing a photo Annie Le GRD '13 is seen alongside Interstate 91 on Friday. Photo by Harrison Korn.

The authorities have not identified any suspects in the disappearance of Annie Le GRD ’13, even as they expanded the search for her on Friday and Yale offered a reward of $10,000 for information.

No caption.
No caption.
No caption.
No caption.
No caption.
No caption.

Yale Police Department Chief James Perrotti said in an interview late Friday evening that law enforcement officials “still have no idea” whether the 24-year-old Le ever exited the research facility at 10 Amistad St. where she was last seen Tuesday morning. But after searching that building thoroughly on Wednesday and Thursday, investigators have begun reviewing security camera footage from surrounding buildings in an effort to identify Le, a graduate student at the Yale School of Medicine who was supposed to be married this weekend.

“I know the police are aggressively pursuing it and searching the entire area by the Amistad building over and over,” University President Richard Levin said. “A situation like this is always a matter of great concern.”

There are now 100 officers from four different agencies investigating the disappearance, Yale officials said Friday. Perrotti said the Federal Bureau of Investigation is “coordinating all the resources” for the search, though FBI supervisory special agent Bill Reiner declined to comment on the investigation. In addition to the YPD and the FBI, the Connecticut State Police and the New Haven Police Department are taking part in the search.

At this point, much of the search for Le continues to center on video footage from the 75 security cameras that Deputy Secretary Martha Highsmith, who oversees campus security operations, said cover every entrance and exit to the Amistad Street building.

Yale officials said investigators have also looked at Le’s computer and her e-mail account for leads in the case. Two canines from the State Police also were brought into 10 Amistad St. for about a half hour on Friday evening, though it is unclear whether Le’s scent remains strong enough at this point for the dogs to find any clues.

Asked if the investigation made any progress on Friday, Perrotti responded, “depends on how you define progress,” though he added that the authorities were following standard protocols.

One thing is clear: Le will not marry her fiancé, Jonathan Widawsky, on Sunday. The wedding, which had been planned for a year, was cancelled Friday, according to the North Ritz Club in Syosset, N.Y., where the couple had planned exchange vows.

Widawsky, a graduate student at Columbia University who attended the University of Rochester with Le, did not speak publicly on Friday, and neither did members of Le’s immediate family. Still, Yale officials have maintained that Widawsky and Le’s family are cooperating with investigators.

Highsmith held a meeting at about 2 p.m. Friday to brief occupants of the Amistad Street building about the investigation and to inform them of new security precautions in the facility.

Investigators also continued to interview Le’s friends and colleagues on Friday, a day after they searched her apartment at 188 Lawrence St. and even combed through trash in a dumpster outside the Amistad Street building.

Le has not been seen or heard from since Tuesday morning, when she left her belongings in her office at the Sterling Hall of Medicine and walked three blocks to Amistad St. A roommate reported her missing that night and investigators immediately began their work.

A fire alarm that sounded in the Amistad Street facility at 12:40 p.m. on Tuesday is thought to have been a false alarm, Highsmith said, though she acknowledged that it could be difficult to pick out Le, who is 4’11” and weighs some 90 pounds, in the footage of the evacuation. Highsmith also said it is possible that Le changed into a lab coat while in the building, which would make it even harder to identify her.

The authorities still say there is no evidence of foul play in her disappearance.

Electronic billboards across Interstates 91 and 95 are displaying a message that include a photo and description of Le and asks motorists with information about her whereabouts to contact the FBI.

Anyone with information pertaining to Le’s disappearance is asked to call the FBI tip line at 1-877-503-1950.

Comments

  • Joe

    I feel she is not in the building. It’s likely she was taken to the attached garage and driven from the premises. Had she taken her cell phone with her, it might have been possible to approximate her whereabouts. Something to keep in mind as a future safety tip for all.

  • Anon.

    “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. (Yale Daily News, 9/10/2009)

    “One of missing Yale grad student Annie Le’s professors reportedly was questioned by cops after they learned he canceled a class the bride-to-be was due to attend the same day she mysteriously disappeared.

    The prof called off the class Tuesday, well before anyone raised an alarm that Le had vanished — just five days ahead of her scheduled Long Island wedding, Fox61-TV in Connecticut reported. The professor has not been charged.” (New York Post, 9/12/2009)

  • Swimmer

    Anyone know more about the professor angle?…who is he?…his relationship with her?…etc

  • youtube

    why don’t they put all the video footage on youtube, crowd-source the project

  • student parents

    Did check her cell phone history and office phone history?

  • yale aunt

    what was she carrying? where was that professor who canceled class? was he in the building with her or did he go somewhere to meet her?
    get his phone records and his lap top

  • John

    I keep thinking about the fire alarm. Seems really suspicious.

  • Concerned

    Seems like too many coincidences. Class cancelled, fire alarm, girl vanishes. They shouldn’t be pussy-footing around. Get everything from this professor. Cell phone records, his computer. Search his office and home, car for any clues whatsoever. No hard feelings. Just checking out everything that looks suspicious. That’s how it’s done. They’d do the same for anyone. If it’s not the professor then move on until they find the girl. Something happened to her. She just didn’t vanish into thin air.

  • anon

    At #8, Concerned:

    The police would need a warrant to do everything you suggest, and nothing that’s been released suggests they’d have any reason to get one.

    These really coincidences; you’re just getting a highly filtered narrative. How many classes do you think were cancelled on Tuesday? And so far everyone has said the fire alarm was unrelated, due to a faulty smoke detector: not in itself unusual. How many false fire alarms do you think occur on campus every week?

    And beware the tabloid narratives, which keep repeating themselves (cf., for example, Suzanne Jovin).

  • elle

    IMMEDIATELY
    search everything this professor owns, and question everyone who knew him about his relationship with her.

    where was the fire alarm and why was it pulled?
    who left the building during the alarm time, or the garage?

    what about any large packages being moved, or food vending trucks or other trucks in and out of the building?

  • Joe

    Does anyone know if the building was evacuated when the fire alarm went off? Places I worked always had designated areas for employees to gather away from the building. Someone also had the task to take roll once everyone was believed to be outside. Whether it is a false alarm, drill or a real fire, someone should have the responsibility to know if all are accounted for or if any employee did not make it out safely. It would be criminal if this did not take place! If this practice is in place and was performed that day, can it be confirmed where Annie Le was at the time the alarm was made? If she was already missing at that point, was anyone else unaccounted for?

  • Fed Up

    Come on, Anon #2! Stop quoting bogus facts! Her class was not canceled. The class took place as scheduled, only she didn’t show up.

    #3, Swimmer; The professors relationship with her was that of a student and her professor.

    All of her professors were interviewed. So were all of her friends; all of her colleagues; all of her acquaintances. They’ve interviewed hundreds of people. It is all part of the search. Don’t jump to conclusions based on faulty and incomplete information.

  • John

    NY Daily News is now reporting they found Annie’s body in the building. Is that confirmed??? I’m so sorry and my prayers go out to her family and fiance.

  • Swimmer

    #12,

    According to one article, the class was cancelled “abruptly” and the prof was questioned because of the coincidence…if this is untrue, ok…but that was what was reported…

    Do you know the professor in question?…can you vouch for him completely?…if so, great…

  • Yikes

    They have talked to HUNDREDS of people. Why are you folks (#8, #10) so obsessed with the professor? Especially when they (the FBI) clearly realized he/she had nothing to do with it? Get a life.

  • Monica M.

    Could it be that she pulled the fire alarm as she was being abducted? This came to mind.

  • Really?

    Uhhh, because it looks suspicious….

  • Swimmer

    Because:
    — it was reported in the NY Post and NY Daily News that the prof was being questioned and that the class cancellation was being viewed as suspicious.
    — given that bloody clothes have been found in the building, the two initial theories (some kind of runaway bride thing or random abduction by muggers on the street) seem almostly certainly incorrect…that would leave someone who had regular access to the building (e.g. a prof, staffer, or fellow student) as more likely suspects…

  • really bored sleuth

    is it possible that all the folders she is carrying in the footage, was material for the class she was a TA for? and she went to the prof’s office before class? Perhaps the prof. was the last one to see her before she vanished?

  • Fed Up

    Oh, if the NY Post reported it then it must be true.

    Except for the little problem that it isn’t. I will say it again. The class was not canceled. And I don’t need to vouch for the professor because the NY Daily News has at last clarifed that the professor has a “rock solid alibi”.

    It is the ‘easy’ way out to point fingers at ‘the professor’ based on inaccurate information. What is far more scary is that it wasn’t someone so predictable.

  • sad

    She had published the safety article to gain access to police during research, professor said Ann did not feel safe. Who made her feel unsafe at Yale? Her instincts were right and she knew the person before writing her safety article.

  • Dave

    The Proffesor was teaching in 99 when another girl was stabbed. A serial killing proffesor?