Reports that Annie Le’s GRD ’13 body was recovered from the lab where she was last seen Tuesday are untrue, law enforcement officials said Saturday.
At a press conference outside Woodbridge Hall this evening, officials from the University and law enforcement agencies also confirmed that evidence had been retrieved from the research facility at 10 Amistad St., but said that it had not yet been tied to Le. A New Haven Police Department official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation, said earlier today that bloody clothes and other items had been retrieved from a ceiling in the building, and two Yale Police Department officers said that 10 Amistad St. is now the site of a crime scene.
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Still, authorities at the press conference said there was no evidence of foul play in Le’s disappearance.
“We are not in the position today to conclude whether this is a missing person case, or whether criminality is involved,” FBI Special Agent Kim Mertz said. “We have conducted numerous interviews, and I can assure you no lead is going uncovered.”
Media reports emerged on Saturday afternoon that Le’s body had been found inside the Amistad Street building. Those reports were quickly dismissed.
“I will categorically say a body has not been found,” Mertz said
Le started her Tuesday morning working in the Sterling Hall of Medicine, where her lab was located, Yale Vice President and Secretary Linda Lorimer said. Le left the lab around 10 a.m. to walk to 10 Amistad St. three blocks away, where she frequently went to conduct experiments, Lorimer said. A surveillance photograph distributed by the YPD shows Le entering the building at 10 Amistad St. on Tuesday morning. University officials have yet to locate Le exiting the building.
Mertz said Saturday that authorities have spoken to “numerous people” who saw Le inside the facility at 10 Amistad St. but declined to give any further details.
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, Mertz said. Someone working in the lab produced steam that tripped the alarm, she said.
Yale officials have said it could be difficult to pick out Le, who is 4-feet-11-inches and weighs some 90 pounds, in the footage of the subsequent evacuation. Some officials have suggested that Le may have changed into a lab coat while in the building, which would make it even harder to identify her.
Le, who was scheduled to be married on Sunday, left her purse containing her cell phone, credit cards and money in her office in Sterling, Lorimer said. Her wedding has since been canceled.
Le’s family and fiance, Columbia University graduate student Jonathan Widawsky, are cooperating with the investigation. Officials asked that the media respect the family’s privacy.
Le was last seen wearing a knee-length brown skirt, a bright green short-sleeved T-shirt, brown shoes and a brown necklace, the YPD said. She does not have access to a car.
As part of that investigation, FBI agents undertook several complete sweeps of 10 Amistad St., bringing in bloodhounds and even combing through trash in a dumpster outside the building. They searched Le’s apartment at 188 Lawrence St. as well as her computer and phone for clues. As the search perimeter expanded, agents also searched medical school buildings in the surrounding area.
Anyone with information pertaining to Le’s disappearance is asked to call the FBI tip line at 1-877-503-1950.
Victor Zapana and Colin Ross contributed reporting.