March 15th, 2010 | News, University

Cops wanted fiancée’s DNA for crime scene tests

Raymond Clark III seen exiting the New Haven Superior Court in September.
Raymond Clark III seen exiting the New Haven Superior Court in September. Photo by Jennifer Nadelmann.

Updated: 12:11 p.m. Police sought DNA samples from the fiancée of Raymond Clark III, who pleaded not guilty in January to the murder of Annie Le GRD ’13, because they thought her DNA might match traces found at the crime scene, according to documents released today.

The fiancée, Jennifer Hromadka, has not been a suspect in the investigation, her attorney, Robert Berke, said in December. But police requested her DNA on Nov. 25 in hopes of determining whether it matched an unknown female DNA sample found in Clark’s apartment and on the inside of a bloody green pen at the crime scene, according to the search warrant just released.

As of November, the document said, the sample could not be “eliminated” as a possible contributor to the mixture of DNA found on one of Le’s white athletic socks, which was hidden in a ceiling of the Yale research facility at 10 Amistad St., where Le’s body was discovered Sept. 13.

Berke said he did not know whether Hromadka’s DNA matched any traces found in the crime scene or whether she was now considered a suspect in the case.

Joseph Lopez, one of Clark’s defense lawyers, said he does not believe DNA testing for the investigation has been completed and does not know whether Hromadka is a suspect. He added that because they have been dating, their DNA most likely would be found together in various places.

“All DNA can tell you is if someone came into contact with something,” Lopez said. “[The warrant] really hasn’t changed anything in the case.”

According to documents released in December, surveillance videos from the day Le disappeared show Hromadka meeting Clark shortly after he left 10 Amistad St. on Sept. 8, the day Le was reported missing. After sitting at a table on the corner of Congress Avenue and Cedar Street, Clark entered a nearby café and left a few minutes later with Hromadka, also a Yale lab technician, and an unidentified woman. The three left for Clark’s apartment in a 1999 red Ford Taurus. Police later searched the Taurus and found parts of the car stained with blood.

According to the search warrant, Hromadka did not use her electronic key card to access 10 Amistad St. between Sept. 8 to 13, while police searched for Le’s body. But police said “it is not uncommon” for employees assigned to work there to follow behind others entering the building.

A secretary at Hromadka’s workplace, Yale’s Boyer Center for Molecular Medicine at 295 Congress Ave., said this morning that Hromadka was not in the building and would not speak to reporters.

Hromadka, as well as Clark’s sister, Denise Kent, and his brother-in-law, Shawn Kent, did not show up for work two days before Clark was arrested on Sept. 17, a person who works with Clark told the News at the time. But Hromadka and the Kents were back at work in the same positions, Vice President for Human Resources and Administration Michael Peel said in November.

Administrators felt obliged to help Hromadka and the Kents return to their normal work routines, Peel said, adding that the three have not been accused of any wrongdoing.

The search warrant, which New Haven Superior Court Judge Roland Fasano ordered last week to be released today, was the last one left to be made public.

Clark, whose job as a Yale animal lab technician has been suspended, is currently being held on a $3 million bond the MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution in Suffield, Conn. His next pre-trial court date is scheduled for April 7.

  • Alum

    Consider updating the headline for this article. When I first saw it I thought it implicated Annie’s fiance, not the suspect’s.

  • T.

    Maybe you should read more carefully then. Fiancée is female; fiancé is male. So the headline can pretty much only refer to the person it does.

    Yale alum?! Really!

  • @Alum

    You confusion would make sense if it weren’t for the fact that it says fiancee, not fiance. Nice try, though.

  • @1

    I Agree. Please revise the headline.

  • Emma

    I agree that the article headline is confusing at first, should look into changing.

  • hubie

    I can understand thinking they were talking about Widawsky. That Clark’s fiancee was involved is beyond wacky.

  • Divorcee

    I’m sure the family of Clark’s fiancee Jennifer are very happy. Jen Jen is probably ecstatic. But maybe the public,prosecutors,lawyers etc. will all be reassured by having Jennifer take a lie detector test and that will put to rest any suspicions of her involvement, or non involvement

  • ’05

    What’s with the ad hominem attacks, #2?

  • Gobbledeegook

    To “By ’05”, I think #2 is right. How can you be an alum of an ivy league school and not know the difference between fiance and fiancee? Not exactly an ad hominem attack, since #1 didn’t even discuss the article.

  • Gobbledygook is a good name

    “How can you be an alum of an ivy league school and not know the difference between fiance and fiancee?”
    Are you serious gg? First, you will note that “Alum” got the spelling correct in his response. Confusion, if you can’t figure it out gg, can come from a number of sources, including “mistake” or misapprehension. This headline is distinctly unhelpful on this score. Second, only an idiot would actually expect every ivy league graduate to get this particular spelling issue correct (by the way, calling gg an idiot here is, using gg’s bizarre standard, “not exactly” an ad hominem attack, because gg “didn’t even discuss the article.”

    “Not exactly an ad hominem attack, since #1 didn’t even discuss the article.” Please review the definition gg and note that the topic was set by Alum as the headline and a reason for its alteration. Instead of a substantive response relating to why Alum’s statement was not true, #2 chose to attack Alum’s intelligence. Note also that even accepting the frankly silly notion that every ivy grad would identify the difference, non-ivy grads likely may read the headline and be confused.

    A Yale degree is not about spelling. It is about the ability to reason. Under this standard, gg, you fail…(Again not exactly an ad hominem under gg’s absurd, must have discussed the article standard for an ad hominem attack standard…)

  • Ivy League

    Oh, you Yalies think the sun rises and sets out of your snooty noses. I think you are just worried that this case reveals some of the seamy side of Yale that goes on all the time. Should have gone to Rutgers…

  • Alum from Bum

    So all this warrant hub a ba loo is about jennifer ? Nothing more on Clark ? Who probably did it but did’nt act alone.
    Someone qustioned if there was any DNA under her fingernails, but no official statement from the PD or the warrants disclosure to support that claim or deny. Someone mentioned “they” put her through some sort of hose wash,probably an integral part of any lab. Which leads me ( unidentified) to believe that Bitsy Biting Rodent Boy might not have acted alone.
    yeah #1 might be off track on that , but so what. Thanx for posting. We look forward to hearing from you again.Practice makes perfect . So we shall wait for the trial to hopefully hear just what happened and why … But the “Familia” is closed mouths and closed fisted still ( Nepotism rears it’s rabid head)

  • @#10

    Give it a rest. It’s perfectly reasonable to expect people to understand that “fiancee” refers to a woman and “fiance” refers to a man. Does it make Alum (#1) stupid? Not necessarily. But he definitely overlooked a factor that would have clarified his confusion had he paid more attention, either to the headline or to the English language throughout his 23+ years. His own mistake led to the confusion, not the YDN’s.

  • Gobbledygook is a good name

    Hmmm. Someone writing “Give it a rest” followed by a paragraph of discussion. Obviously you are not much good at following your own advice. The fact several people were actually confused demonstrates your protestations are specious.

    The headline could be better written. It certainly could be more concise: “Warrant Sought Clark’s Fiancee’s DNA.” “Police Sought Clark’s Fiancee’s DNA. No issues with fiancee or the superfluous and ambiguous “crime scene tests”?

  • .,

    Some people don’t care about DNA and concealing their crimes or even their lives. Their only goal is to kill the target and as many people as possible in the shortest amount of time and then themselves. This is done as a method of revenge.

  • TD’04

    “The headline could be better written. It certainly could be more concise: “Warrant Sought Clark’s Fiancee’s DNA.” “Police Sought Clark’s Fiancee’s DNA. No issues with fiancee or the superfluous and ambiguous “crime scene tests”?”

    No, but a big issue with the horrible double possessive.