BODY IDENTIFIED AS ANNIE LE GRD ’13

Police tape barricaded Amistad St. Monday afternoon and kept reporters and cameramen at a one-block radius.
Police tape barricaded Amistad St. Monday afternoon and kept reporters and cameramen at a one-block radius. Photo by Nick Bayless.

The body found at 10 Amistad St. has been identified as the remains of Annie Le GRD ’13, according to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Connecticut.

The manner of death has been classified as a homicide, though the office declined to release the cause of death in order to facilitate the ongoing investigation into Le’s death. The cause of death will be released tomorrow at 3 p.m., according to the office.

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New Haven Police Department Assistant Chief Peter Reichard reveals that a body was found.
Nick Bayless
New Haven Police Department Assistant Chief Peter Reichard reveals that a body was found.
University President Richard Levin speaks to the press Sunday
Nick Bayless
University President Richard Levin speaks to the press Sunday
Grad students place flowers outside Amistad Park in honor of Annie Le GRD '13.
Grad students place flowers outside Amistad Park in honor of Annie Le GRD '13.
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Since it was classified a homicide on Sunday, the case is being investigated primarily by the New Haven Police Department. NHPD Spokesman Officer Joe Avery said Monday afternoon that there are no suspects, adding that police believe Le was targeted and her killing was not a random act.

Speaking to reporters outside Woodbridge Hall late Sunday night, University President Richard Levin conveyed the “deeply felt support of the entire Yale University community” and said “our hearts go out to the family of Annie Le, to her fiance, to her friends.”

“The investigation will continue,” Levin said. “We have every hope that it will be successfully resolved.”

Law enforcement officials have now sealed the building at 10 Amistad St. where Le’s body was found shortly after 5 p.m. on Sunday. Footage from security cameras shows Le entering the building at 10 a.m. Tuesday but never leaving; now the investigation will focus on what she did and where she went once inside.

Deputy Secretary Martha Highsmith, who oversees campus security, said earlier this week that access to the rooms and labs inside the building is restricted and digitally monitored. Authorities said they know who was in the basement at the time when Le entered.

Robert Alpern, dean of the Yale School of Medicine, where Le was studying for a Ph.D. in pharmacology, said in a telephone interview Sunday night that access to the basement where Le was found is limited to certain people with approved Yale magnetic identification cards, as it is at all University facilities where research is conducted on animals.

“I think that it suggests it was someone who could get into that space,” he said. “It certainly would be extremely difficult for someone from outside of Yale to get into that space. Not impossible, but extremely difficult.”

Still, there remain more questions than answers about the circumstances of Le’s death.

Vice President and Secretary Linda Lorimer said last week that Le’s fiance, Jonathan Widawsky , was not a suspect and that there was “not a worry” about his involvement in what was at the time considered a missing person case. She added that he and Le’s family have cooperated with authorities.

Along with the NHPD, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Connecticut State Police and the Yale Police Department all remain involved in the investigation.

Authorities first learned of Le’s disappearance when a roommate reported her missing at about 9 p.m. Tuesday, YPD Chief James Perrotti said. The police quickly began investigating the matter and learned that she took a Yale Transit bus from her apartment at 188 Lawrence St. to her office at the Sterling Hall of Medicine early Tuesday morning.

Later in the morning, she walked from that office to 10 Amistad St., leaving her purse, cell phone and wallet behind. She took her Yale identification card with her, and the surveillance footage shows her carrying another object as she entered the building. Officials have not said what she was carrying.

At 12:40 p.m. on Tuesday, a fire alarm sounded in the building. The special agent in charge of the FBI in Connecticut, Kimberly Mertz, said at a press conference Saturday that the alarm was caused by a release of steam from a laboratory hood. She said it was possible that the steam was intentionally released by a person.

There were few other leads in the investigation until the weekend. Authorities seized bloody clothes on Saturday, though a Yale police source said the fabric was not a piece of clothing that Le was known to have been wearing and said it was not clear at the time whether the fabric had human blood or animal blood on it.

On Sunday, after lead investigators arrived at Amistad Street in the morning, dogs from the Connecticut State Police were seen entering the building. The bloodhounds had been part of the search since Thursday, as had more than 100 law enforcement officials from the various agencies.

Some of those officers were in Hartford on Sunday searching through trash at the garbage incinerator there. Other authorities had searched through trash in the dumpsters outside the Amistad Street facility in prior days.

Mertz said Saturday that authorities had already interviewed “numerous people” who saw Le inside the building on Tuesday, but she declined to give any further details. There are 75 cameras around the building and in the surrounding area; investigators spent a large part of their time examining all the video footage to determine if Le, who was 4-feet-11-inches and weighed 90 pounds, could be seen exiting.

The killing is the first homicide in New Haven since mid-March and the first killing of a Yale student since Suzanne Jovin ’99 was stabbed to death on Dec. 4, 1998.

Reporting was contributed by Isaac Arnsdorf, Nora Caplan-Bricker, Florence Dethy, Zeke Miller, Martine Powers, Colin Ross, Divya Subrahmanyam, Victor Zapana and Esther Zuckerman.

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