Warrants were issued Tuesday night to search the home of a 24-year-old Yale animal technician who is a suspect in the killing of Annie Le GRD ’13 and to obtain a DNA sample, the New Haven Police Department announced at a hastily convened press conference tonight.
Raymond Clark III, 24, worked in the same laboratory as Le, whose body was found in the basement of 10 Amistad St. on Sunday. Clark was not arrested and will be released once physical evidence has been obtained, NHPD Chief James Lewis said.
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At about 10:25 p.m., as the press conference was underway, Clark was brought out of his apartment in Middletown, Conn., in handcuffs and was taken away in a police car. Law enforcement officials had staked out Clark’s apartment for much of Monday and Tuesday.
Sources familiar with the investigation said Monday that Clark was among several individuals on whom the authorities were focusing in their search for Le’s killer, but police officials insisted throughout the day Tuesday that they had not formally declared any suspects in the case. (The News withheld his name becasue he had not officially been declared a suspect in the case.)
Neither Clark — nor a sister and brother-in-law who also work as animal technicians at Yale — showed up for work at Yale laboratories this morning, according to two people who work with them. By the end of the day, several news outlets had published his name and picture and labeled him a “person of interest” in the case.
Law enforcement officials focused their efforts on the narrow pool of people who had access to the basement and who may have encountered Le after she entered the building at 10 a.m. last Tuesday, University President Richard Levin said at a meeting of the medical school community Monday afternoon. Access to the basement area where her corpse was found is a restricted to certain specially authorized individuals who must use their Yale identification cards to access the floor.
Joe Avery, a spokesman for the New Haven Police Department, said the remains were discovered in a chase in the basement, a kind of shaft that provides room for mechanical equipment to travel from the roof to the basement of the 120,000-square-foot building. Police had been operating on the assumption that the murderer acted deliberately, Avery explained.
“We are not looking at it as if it is a random act,” he said.
Authorities first learned of Le’s disappearance when a roommate reported her missing at about 9 p.m. on Sept. 8, Yale Police Department 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.
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.
There was no immediate statement following the announcement from Le’s family, nor from fiance Jonathan Widawsky, whom Le was supposed to marry Sunday.