News | 8:14 pm | December 10, 2009 | By Nora Caplan-Bricker, Vivian Yee, and Esther Zuckerman

Missing lab tech found near home

John DiNello, 47, had not showed up to work as an animal lab technician at Yale for four days, as of Thursday.
John DiNello, 47, had not showed up to work as an animal lab technician at Yale for four days, as of Thursday. Photo by Nora Caplan-Bricker.

Updated 9:05 a.m. A Yale animal lab technician who went missing Monday has been found safe near his West Haven home, police said Friday morning.

According to a press release from the West Haven police, John DiNello, 47, was found at a Dunkin’ Donuts in West Haven around 6:30 a.m. Friday. A “good Samaritan” who had seen media reports of his disappearance recognized DiNello, and police officers arrived and located him.

DiNello, who needs medication daily, did not require any medical attention Friday morning, the press release said, and has been reunited with his family.

DiNello did not show up for work for four days and, until Friday, was not seen by his family for more than 60 hours, University spokesman Tom Conroy said Thursday evening. DiNello’s family had last seen him leaving their West Haven home for work Monday morning and reported the disappearance Thursday morning, according to the West Haven police. DiNello left his home Monday without his medication, police said.

West Haven police spokesman Martin Garcia said Thursday that there was no reason to suspect any connection between DiNello’s disappearance and the murder of Annie Le GRD ’13, for which another Yale lab technician, Raymond Clark III, was charged in September. Le’s body was found behind a wall in the 10 Amistad St. research facility where she worked.

“We are not investigating anything, any type of involvement,” Garcia said Thursday. “There’s no criminal aspect to this investigation.”

Yale Police Chief James Perrotti sent e-mails to DiNello’s colleagues seeking information and encouraging people who might know something to call the West Haven or Yale police, Conroy said Thursday.

Gabrielle DiNello, John DiNello’s sister who lives with him and their parents, said Thursday that the family members did not know what was going on, except that the police were investigating.

“Maybe to us he’s missing,” she said Thursday. “Maybe to him he’s not missing.”

Comments
  • Yale alum ’08

    You’ve got to be kidding me. Is this New Haven or an eerie suspense thriller

  • Yale ‘ o9

    What ailment does Mr.Denello suffer from ? High blood pressure ? Maybe he’ll show up at a local hospital with amnesia or some other sickness. Maybe lost his hat.
    It’s eerie new haven

  • Y10

    Good lord – what is the deal with New Haven this semester? This is really getting too tragically weird. I sincerely hope this is just a misunderstanding and Mr. DiNello returns safe and soon.

  • Yale ’10

    This is an inauspicious place to work!

  • yale’11

    Come back safe!!

  • ’12

    “Officials said there is no connection between the two incidents.”

    Be consistent with your wording. There is a very big difference between “no connection” and “no reason to suspect any connection.”

    Of course, let’s hope they turn out to be one in the same.

  • WT*.

    What is going on this semester at Yale? This is out of control.

  • yale 09

    come back safe!!! god bless and fingers crossed.

  • lee

    @ #6

    or you could even say “no APPARENT reason to suspect any connection”

    my dictionary sez it’s “one AND the same”

  • alum2

    “Officials said there is no connection between the two incidents.”
    Please Yale officials address safety issue or resign. Professor Steitz is receiving Nobel Prize in chemistry, but I am afraid to work at his lab…Saying”no connection” is not going to do it.

    Yale officials should follow New Haven Police Chief stepping down if the only thing they can do after Annie’s death is to bring Clark’s fiancée back to work and demand everyone else to move on.

  • joehc oo

    Nothing different from a few years ago.
    And a couple of months before that.9 years ago was even eerier.Please don’t think your special and set apart from the rest via choking,stabbing,wild blows
    …missing persons.

  • 08

    If the reporter is quoting the police officials, then it is the word choice of those officials you should have a problem with, not the reporter.

  • Possible connection?

    Clark’s girlfriend still works in the lab. Maybe Mr. DiNello got scared?

    Diane Sawyer, send some flowers DiNello’s way!

  • wow

    Dunkin’ donuts? Perhaps the most anticlimactic ending to a news story ever

  • Helen Li

    This might be a cry for help. Please, Yale’s Human Resource, talk to this guy and see if he needs any help. Does he have a carload of relatives working with him at Yale too? Is there anything in his background we should know about? Michael Peel, have you started on the Christmas hampers that you are gagging to send to the Clark relatives? Don’t do it. Use your time wisely by cleaning out your department of nepotism, hire people in an open competitive process, don’t hire on the cheap (all seem to be high school graudates, why,) don’t let family members working together (ganging up and covering up,) institute a proper complaint, transparent complaint and staff monitoring/reviewing procedure.

  • too weird

    what the hell just happened??? what is wrong with this place??

    by the way, helen li is right on.

  • Yale ’08

    Dunkin Donuts??! Couldn’t the guy at least have played a round of craps in Atlantic City first?

  • Yale 08

    Murders who years prior had restraining orders … unstable nutcases … boy, Yale did a top-notch job filling the employee ranks at 10 Amistad.

  • moe

    I started a longer list of questions, but here are a few thoughts.

    For at least two reasons, we need to hear more about DiNello.

    For one thing, he works at 10 Amistad. The building is news. Just where? Near where Clark worked? Near his fiancee’s area? Is there anything about the “environment” there now that had any effect on his momentarily dropping out? I understand Clark’s bro’-in-law did work at Amistad but is elsewhere now. Where, “earlier,” did the whole group of four, including sister, work? Room 3-A white rats and Room 1-C hamsters? Whatever. What about DiNello?

    Another question: On what basis do the cops say there was “no connection” with DiNello’s disappearance and Clark’s, uh, “situation.” Don’t let them just say no, get a reason.

    This is touchy/brash, but what kind of meds does DiNello take? His own action, given the circumstances, has put him before the public eye and, since his meds have been acknowledged in the news, well…?

    Finally, it may only come out during a trial — though maybe nobody wants/needs to go to court — but was Annie, despite her scholastic status, being inappropriately pressured and intimidated? Especially with the demands of preparing for upcoming wedding. If — after, I believe I recall, getting Clark’s email to take a meeting — she’d just skipped out for a few days…

    [P.S. -- I've attempted to qualify any contentions regarding Clark and family and pose questions and concerns rather than accusations or judgments.]

  • @#14

    Anticlimactic you say? While I suppose finding his body behind a basement wall would have been quite a climax, I think you should remember that this is news and therefore not designed for your entertainment. This is the DESIRED outcome.

  • alum2

    I recalled Yale administrators laughed at Korean Dongguk University’s failing to check Shin’s fake Yale degree where in fact, Yale lied about Dongguk’s request for verifying the authenticity of Shin’s degree.
    Did Yale administrators themselves do the basic background checking? Or they are going to lie about it again and again if necessary?

  • larry

    But, you know, we still don’t know “why” DiNello was missing.

    And, of course, if it did have anything to do with what Clark is accused of, the cops wouldn’t say, now, would they?

  • Correction

    It’s been up for a while on other news sites that this guy was a sanitation worker who works at various medical buildings on campus, not an animal lab technician. I can see why “lab tech” is a much flashier headline given recent events, but the YDN should probably make a correction to get the facts straight.

    Also, from another news site:
    DiNello’s sister, Gabrielle, said the case wasn’t a disappearance, “just a lack of communication.”

    This is neither here nor there, but I think that someone should get to the bottom of what the hell kind of good reason this guy had for freaking out his family and an already freaked out yale/new haven community by disappearing for 60 hours without a word. I’m glad he’s ok, but after everything that’s happened this semester I can’t help feeling emotionally jerked around by this story – especially if it was for some douche-y inconsiderate reason. That guy should really know better than to create a headline that reads “Yale Employee at 10 Amistad Missing”.

  • Rupert Van

    I’m sure the family of New Haven Detectice Ralph Dinello will be ecstatic that their child and kin ids safe and sound and will be home with them for christmas.
    The folks at Best Buddies are overjoyed at the prospect of working with John once again in the future

  • Jennifer

    Why does everyone say “went missing” or “gone missing” instead of just “disappeared?” It sounds very pretentious and is not even a proper English phrase.

  • shemp

    Claude Rains’ character in the great James Whale’s “The Invisible Man” (1933) “disappeared” but he wasn’t “missing.”

  • Dennis

    Helen Li makes me laugh. Pay the animal techs more to clean out animal cages. Come on? And you suggest an open competitive process. Yeah, for cleaning mice cages. Very competitive.

  • Helen Li

    Dennis, an “open competitive process” can be applied to all kinds of jobs. It is the fairest way to get the best candidates in society. I suspect that Yale is hiring on the cheap by mostly high school graduates as lab techs. When I was in the States thirty plus years ago and working summers as a waitress, all the full time waitress who worked with me had degrees in music or maths or whatever. Is the union so powerful and such a closed-shop in certain areas of public offices that connections are more useful to get employment than ability or character.

    One note to the New Haven Police and Human Resource. Bearing in mind Annie’s recent death. should they have beefed up security at all the building that Dinello had access while he was missing? Was a campus-wide warning sent to students via e-mail to be on extra alert? I don’t want to impugn his good name and I believe he is an innocent but maybe troubled soul. But we don’t want to take any chances with staff and students’ life.

  • Anthony Maningino

    You think you have vicious lying, slandering, false statements about applicants from the police department who have a stranglehold on all jobs at Yale and the City ? Just wait until the pay increases. Then all holy hell will break out.
    You see now the employs are leaving for their city jobs. People in New Haven can’t find ONE job , and they have to watch “dispatch employs” or “janitors” , collecting a pension from Yale and somehow obtaining Board of Ed jobs in schools , to collect another pension, leaving whenever one feels to cover the other one – no oversight, no supervision

  • Helen Li

    Any place you work, if you go awol, the employer would call you at home. DiNello lives at home with his sister and parents, why was no call made to his home? His family waited for four days to alert the authorities, that could be because he had done it before or due to other reasons. But Yale also didn’t do anything for several days. Why? With Annie’s death just three months ago, weren’t they worried about another of their employee on the loose?

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