News’ View: A community mourns

After 10 Amistad St. morphed from an anonymous research laboratory to a media campground, after missing-person posters were plastered on campus and billboards hung above local highways, after the breathless television news reports and endless searches with bloodhounds, University President Richard Levin said the only thing that could be said: “This is as bad as it gets.”

Levin spoke softly on the telephone from his Woodbridge Hall office as reporters assembled outside on Saturday for a briefing from law enforcement officials. Twenty-four hours later, the authorities found a body in the Amistad Street building, presumed to be that of missing graduate student Annie Le GRD ’13.

It was news that this campus spent four days hoping not to hear, collectively holding its breath, hoping maybe, just somehow, this was a misunderstanding, a miscommunication, that Le would turn up safe and sound.

Instead, last night, the president stood on the first step of Woodbridge Hall, a folded sheet of paper in his hand, the same reporters gathered once again. Again, he spoke softly, pausing between words, shaking ever so slightly.

“Now,” he concluded, “is a time for compassion, for condolences and for coming together as a community.”

Afterward, Levin said that meeting with Le’s family was one of the hardest things he has ever had to do. The coming days and weeks will be no more bearable, especially for those in the medical school community, and especially many times over for Le’s family and friends. This is not something any person, any family, any community should have to go through. This is not something that should happen, at Yale or elsewhere.

There will be second-guessing — about whether the administration should have alerted the community sooner about Le’s disappearance, or why it took so long to find what is presumed to be her body, or whether steps should be taken to increase surveillance in Yale’s most sprawling facilities. We can only hope that Yale will become a safer place from the lessons learned in this tragic case, that something positive can come out of this horror.

The Rev. Jonathan Edwards once gave a sermon after the sudden death of a young person in his community. The death, he said, shows “what need you have to be determined concerning your hope, as it shows you how liable you are, suddenly and with but little warning, to be snatched out of the world.”

And so it befell Annie Le. A 24-year-old woman with endless promise is presumed dead, her body found on the day she was to marry. Most frightening is the fact that Le may have been killed by someone who walks among us, considering the basement of 10 Amistad St. is only accessible with a Yale keycard.

It is a tragedy, an unthinkable one, and nothing more can be said.

The authorities have refused to comment on what might have led to last week’s tragedy. Yale officials say more details will come out in the following days and that they have learned lessons from the botched investigation into the murder of Suzanne Jovin ’99. We all hope so.

But right now, the speculation that will fill dining halls and cable news shows over the days and weeks to come is of no gain. Rather, today, we mourn, for that is all we can do.

Comments

  • Cathy ODell

    One of Yale’s officials spoke last week about Ms. Le in the past tense. He needs to be scrutinized, no matter his title. Investigate ALL janitors, repair personnel, students, and professors. Pay close attention to people who were in the building from Friday afternoon to Saturday night. Pull out all the stops and get this murderer.

  • A Hokie

    To the Yale community, please know you are in the thoughts and prayers of Hokies everywhere.

  • Janet

    Annie’s friend is probably correct that some Hannibal wanted to rise to the challenge because of what Annie wrote. Some of the nuts out there do like a challenge.

    Annie’s message is correct and it is true that students – especially attractive female students are not safe on University Campus in USA, does not matter which state. Something needs to be done so that lambs are not silenced in one way or another.

  • Kelly Russo

    Dear Annie Le-

    There a many of us that feel as though we know you, although we never got the chance to. We know that you were a bright, caring, dynamic young woman that left your mark in the hearts of those that surrounded you. A role model for the young and the impressionable. Pride and envy to those of us that are older than you. A reminder of how important education is. You were going to be our future. You were going to educate us with your knowledge. Even enlighten us with your wisdom. Make us smile with your spirit. Someone we could cheer for when you achieved your goals, as we know you would have.

    You were going to get married Annie. You were marrying the one young man in this world that was worthy of you. Someone that loved you for all that you are and all that you were going to be. A once in a life time that some people spend years searching for and never find it. You had it Annie. Your big day was coming. Less than a week away. Your beginning of a lifetime.

    We all watched with bated breath as the FBI, Connecticut State Police Major Crime Squad, and local police searched for you.
    Annie, they were determined to bring you home. Minutes turned into hours and hours turned into days. They were relentless. They were not giving up. They turned Yale upside down searching for you. They would have gone to the ends of the earth for any other outcome other than the real one. The cruel way in which you were disposed of. The fact that your body was found on the very day that your lifetime was to begin. They are also effected by your death and the ugly truth of what happened to you. For them it’s not over. They’re not done and they’re not going home until they bring you justice.

    The lights went out for all of us the day your body was found. We were all hit by the shocking blow. Our hearts sank and sadness took over Connecticut. Another senseless crime. Another devastating loss. A loss for those that knew you and a loss for those of us that didn’t. We all lost the day you were murdered. We lost your future and all of the promise that it was filled with. Your killer took that away from us. All we can do now is remember you for all that you were because we will never forget you Annie Le and that is something that your killer could never take away.

    Rest in peace sweet girl

    Kelly Russo and family

  • Cathy O’Dell

    Raymond Clark, III, now arrested for the horrific murder of Ms. Le — does anyone know of a bad working relationship between Ms. Le and this monster? He worked there for almost five years. There have to be indicators — employees always know the true personality of their co-workers. I cannot imagine how Ms. Le must have felt when she realized that she was being murdered. I feel sorry for the entire Yale community, the family, and the friends. We must find a way to rid ourselves of monsters like this Clark guy.

  • A Concerned Parent

    News outlets now report that the alleged perpetrator of this crime was the subject of a police complaint in 2003, in which the complainant stated that he would not accept her desire to end their relationship and that he subsequently forced her to have sex with him. That is rape; nevertheless, Mr. Clark was allowed to work in close proximity to Ms. Le and other innocent, unsuspecting females. It’s time for all universities to scrutinize the past of all employees as carefully as they examine the past of prospective students, lest further tragedies occur.

  • Patient for due process

    My heart goes out to Annie’s family and friends – Annie’s colleagues – and to all those who live in greater fear because of this incident. This is a horrible tragedy for everyone.

    Regarding the case of the State vs. Raymond Clark – I hope that due process happens and reports are made public. I hope the prosecutors will conclusively delineate the DNA evidence from any “environmental” DNA.

    The building was opened in 2007, so the number of people who have frequented the building is probably small. Any DNA samples from the Amistad Building “environment” would obviously include DNA from Clark, since he was an employee there for several years.

    I hope the evidence conclusively tells one story and that it will lead to a solid resolution.

  • GK

    The killer at Yale University is still there. In 1998, the same killer committed a murder. Then, he got sleep in Yale University’s Hall distructing everyone. Do you know what a killer always ignores? When a victim is dying in the hand of the killer, both are face to face. So, God’s will of taking out the soul becomes killer’s will. There is not problem when someone died as God’s will. God is the owner of soul. God gives us soul and He can take it anytime He wants. So, when someone kills innocent person, he is responsible for the victim soul. “Being responsible of someone soul”? The killer at Yale University has been there since 1998. Annie Le’s article stimulated again the same killer. Be aware that the killer is around you as long as you don’t make effort to know him. Now,the killer is responsible of two souls.