Raymond Clark III was arrested this morning and charged with the murder of Annie Le GRD ’13, authorities announced Thursday.
New Haven Police Department Chief James Lewis said at a press conference that a warrant was issued for Clark’s arrest shortly after 8 a.m. Clark, 24, who worked at Yale as an animal lab technician, was taken into custody at the Super 8 motel in Cromwell, Conn., where he had been staying since yesterday.
He is being held at the Union Avenue police station on a $3 million bond. He is set to appear in court on Oct. 6. Clark’s job at Yale has been suspended and he is barred from campus, University President Richard Levin said in an e-mail message to students and their parents.
Clark was first detained late Tuesday night, when authorities called him a “person of interest,” served him with two search warrants and took a DNA sample. He was released at 3 a.m. Wednesday and served with two more search warrants.
A person familiar with the investigation said Wednesday that Clark’s DNA matched a piece of evidence taken from the Yale research facility at 10 Amistad St., where Le was strangled to death Sept. 8 and where her remains were found Sunday, which was supposed to be her wedding day.
Lewis declined to identify the DNA match, to specify a motive, or to discuss anything else contained in the arrest warrant, which has been sealed by the court.
He did say that there is no evidence of a romantic relationship between Clark and Le, but he declined to comment on reports that the murder is related to the lab animals that Clark cared for and Le studied. Levin, addressing a news report that Clark sent e-mails to Le before her death, said Wednesday, “To my knowledge there’s nothing that would be relevant to the case” in the correspondence between the two.
Clark, a Yale lab technician since December 2004, is the only suspect, Lewis said. Police have seized 300 pieces of physical evidence, Lewis said, adding that “you never know where evidence will take you,” but he doesn’t anticipate other suspects.
“This was not about New Haven crime, or University crime, or domestic crime,” Lewis said. “This was workplace violence.”
Clark’s attorney, David Dworski, was in court Thursday and could not be reached for comment immediately.
In his e-mail, Levin said “nothing in the history of [Clark's] employment at the University gave an indication that his involvement in such a crime might be possible.” Clark, an animal lab technician, has worked at Yale since Dec. 2004.
“It is frightening that a member of our own community might have committed this terrible crime,” he said. “This incident could have happened in any city, in any university, or in any workplace. It says more about the dark side of the human soul than it does about the extent of security measures.”
Still, he added that the University would reexamine its security measures and reemphasize its policy of zero tolerance for violence and threatening.
Unlike yesterday, when State’s Attorney Michael Dearington refused to name the judge who signed the search warrants, Lewis said the arrest warrant was signed by Judge Brian Fischer. Fisher signed the warrant just 20 minutes before the arrest after authorities spent all night preparing the documents, Lewis said.
“It’s not a case of putting off this press conference,” he said. “It literally took that long.” (Indeed, the press conference started almost 90 minutes late.)
Le was last seen entering the 10 Amistad St. building at 10 a.m. on Sept. 8, after leaving her keys, purse and phone in her office at the Sterling Hall of Medicine. She was considered a missing person until Sunday, when her body was found and the case became a homicide.
Le’s family and fiancé, Jonathan Widawsky, have not spoken publicly but issued a statement Tuesday thanking the community for its support and sensitivity.
“The Yale community is grateful for the collaborative efforts of the New Haven Police, the State Police and the FBI, and for their tireless devotion over the last eight days to the difficult task of finding Annie Le and determining who is responsible for this horrible crime,” Yale Police Department Chief James Perrotti said at the press conference.
Isaac Arnsdorf and Paul Needham reported from New Haven. Harrison Korn and Zeke Miller reported from Cromwell, Conn.