Another campus murder

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Thread: Another campus murder

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    VIP Member Array dukalmighty's Avatar
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    Another campus murder

    NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Police are hunting for the killer who stuffed a body believed to be that of a Yale University graduate student behind a wall in the high-security laboratory building where she worked.

    Police found the body around 5 p.m. Sunday, on what was to have been 24-year-old Annie Le's wedding day.

    An autopsy was underway on Monday to verify the identity of the body, found in a cable duct in the Yale medical school building. Police would not say Monday if they have a suspect, but said that nobody is in custody.

    "We're not believing it's a random act" said Officer Joe Avery, a police spokesman. He would not provide any further details, but said no one else is in danger.

    The building where the body was found is part of the university medical school complex about a mile from Yale's main campus and is accessible to Yale personnel with identification cards. Some 75 video surveillance cameras monitor all doorways.

    "It's a frightening idea that there's a murderer walking around on campus," said 20-year-old Muneeb Sultan, a chemistry student. "I'm shocked that it happened in a Yale building that had key-card access. It's really sad."

    Police have not provided any details on the condition of the body found or how the woman died.

    A friend said Monday the doctoral student never showed signs of worry about her own personal safety at work, although she did express concerns about crime in New Haven in an article she wrote last year.

    "If she was concerned about (it) she would have said something to someone and they would have known," Jennifer Simpson told CBS' "The Early Show." "And Jon (her fiance) would have known, her family would have known, friends would have known."

    Simpson called Le, a pharmacology student from Placerville, Calif., friendly and affable to everyone.

    "She was a people person," Simpson said. "She loved people. She loved life. We just can't imagine anybody wanting to harm Annie."

    Another friend, Laurel Griffeath, echoed those thoughts on NBC's "Today" show.

    "I can't even imagine someone mad at Annie, much less wanting to hurt her," Griffeath said.

    Police are analyzing what they're calling "a large amount" of physical evidence.

    They will not discuss suspects, other than to say Le's fiance is not a suspect and has assisted in the investigation.

    Campus officials have said that the security network recorded Le entering the building by swiping her ID card about 10 a.m. on Sept. 8, and have been baffled before Sunday's gruesome discovery that she was never seen leaving.

    The university planned a candlelight vigil at 8 p.m. Monday at the Ivy League university. The Yale Daily News says an e-mail to the Yale community invites participants to "bring a candle and join us in solidarity."

    Yale President Richard Levin offered support to Le's family and her fiance, Columbia University graduate student Jonathan Widawsky. The couple was to marry Sunday in Syosset, N.Y., on Long Island's north shore.

    "The family and fiance and friends now must suffer the additional ordeal of waiting for the body to be positively identified," Levin said.

    Le wrote an article that was published in February in the medical school's magazine. The piece, titled "Crime and Safety in New Haven," compared higher instances of robbery in New Haven with cities that house other Ivy League schools. It also included an interview with Yale Police Chief James Perrotti, who offered advice such as "pay attention to where you are" and "avoid portraying yourself as a potential victim."

    "In short, New Haven is a city and all cities have their perils," Le concludes. "But with a little street smarts, one can avoid becoming yet another statistic."

    Le, who worked in a laboratory in the five-story building's basement, was reported missing Sept. 8. Her ID, money, credit cards and purse were found in her third-floor office.

    More than 100 local, state and federal police had been searching the building for days, using blueprints to uncover any place where evidence or Le's body could be hidden.

    Investigators on Saturday said they recovered evidence from the building, but would not confirm media reports that the items included bloody clothing.

    Authorities also sifted through garbage at a Hartford incinerator Sunday, looking through trash that was taken from the building in the days since Le went missing.

    No one answered the door at the Widawskys' gray, ranch-style in Huntington, N.Y. on Monday.

    "He is a very nice young man," next-door neighbor George Mayer said of Jonathan Widawsky. "His family, they're all just wonderful people — very, very nice people."

    Both families belong to the same temple.

    Mayer, whose mother had been invited to the wedding, said he hopes whoever committed the crime "gets justice — that he gets whatever he deserves."

    Yale students on Monday called the finding sad, but some said the discovery doesn't make them feel less safe at Yale.

    "Obviously it's a city and there are safety concerns," said 18-year-old Peter Spaulding, a student from Maryland. "It can happen anywhere. You have to go on with life."

    Law student Lindsay Nash of West Chester, Pa., said she doesn't sense a heightened level of fear on campus.

    "There's always an attention to safety here," she said. "I think there's perception that you need to be careful regardless."

    ___

    Associated Press reporter David Collins in New Haven and Associated Press Writer Frank Eltman in Huntington, N.Y., contributed to this report.
    Even with all the security it wasm't enough,her interview with the chief and how not to be a victim makes this even more apparent that unless you have a means to defend yourself anywhere anytime you can become a statistic.
    I would be looking for somebody with a crush on her that didn't want her getting married to anybody but them
    "Outside of the killings, Washington has one of the lowest crime rates in the country,"
    --Mayor Marion Barry, Washington , DC .

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    Member Array CJ810's Avatar
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    A professor has been part of the investigation; my money's on him. He cancelled a class she was to be in the day she went missing, at the last minute.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CJ810 View Post
    A professor has been part of the investigation; my money's on him. He cancelled a class she was to be in the day she went missing, at the last minute.
    Yep, from what I saw on the news this guys behavior seemed a little suspect.
    Don't believe what you hear and only half of what you see!
    -Tony Soprano

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    Earlier foxnews had an article about a student suspect, posted after the body was found, but just now when I went there to get the link it wasn't up anymore. Makes me wonder if they're retracting it deliberately.

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    Up-date

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/15/nyregion/15yale.html

    Yale Killing Not a ‘Random Act,’ Police Say

    By JAMES BARRON and LISA W. FODERARO
    Published: September 14, 2009
    NEW HAVEN — The police in New Haven have said that the apparent slaying of a 24-year-old Yale graduate student “doesn’t appear to be a random act,” a spokesman said, suggesting that she had been singled out.

    The body of the student, Annie Le, was found behind a wall in a laboratory building near the Yale Medical School on Sunday night. Her identity was confirmed in an autopsy on Monday, according to the office of Connecticut’s chief medical examiner.

    A statement issued by the medical examiner’s office said Ms. Le’s death had been classified a homicide. The statement said the cause of death was not being released “to facilitate the investigation.”

    Ms. Le had disappeared last week. Surveillance video showed her entering the lab building around 10 a.m. Tuesday. None of the cameras trained on the building showed her leaving.

    Yale said it was planning a candlelight vigil for Ms. Le, who was studying pharmacology. The university also promised additional security at the lab building, which Yale closed on Monday while investigators swarmed in, looking for possible clues. Yellow police tape fluttered on two streets around the lab building, keeping traffic away.

    But the yellow tape did not prevent people from placing bouquets and candles at the metal fence leading to the lab building, and the case inevitably raised fresh questions about safety at Yale. Ms. Le herself had weighed in on the subject less than eight months ago, when she wrote an article for a student magazine on how to avoid becoming “yet another statistic.”

    Students interviewed on Monday echoed what she had written — that living in New Haven requires a certain urban awareness. “I always take precautions,” said Megan Quattlebaum, 28, a third-year law student. “New Haven is a city. It has city problems.”

    But Leslie Tung of Kalamazoo, Mich., whose daughter has just entered Yale, said it would be “terrifically misguided to be walking around consumed by fear.”

    “I don’t think you can worry about living in a college setting, or else you stop living,” he said.

    He said he was not worried about his daughter. “She knows to lock her door and be careful,” he said.

    Ms. Le’s absence was first noticed on Tuesday, after her purse — with her identification, her cellphone and some money — was found in her office, in another Yale building a few blocks away. Investigators watched hours of video from dozens of cameras around the building and saw someone matching her description — a young woman in a bright green T-shirt and a brown skirt — going in.

    The body, found on what was supposed to have been her wedding night, was discovered in a recess for utility pipes and cables behind a wall.

    The discovery ended a six-day search for Ms. Le, whose disappearance began with speculation of a runaway bride but quickly gave way to near-certainty that a crime had been committed. Her disappearance recalled a troubling case from December 1998 that has never been closed: the stabbing death of Suzanne Jovin, 21, a Yale senior whose body was found in a neighborhood not far from the campus.

    Ms. Le’s disappearance preoccupied Yale within hours after she was reported missing. By Thursday, Yale officials said that more than 100 law enforcement officials were looking for Ms. Le. A $10,000 reward was posted for her whereabouts.

    On Saturday, the police reportedly found bloody clothes above ceiling tiles in the lab building, though other reports said the clothes were not the same ones Ms. Le was last seen wearing. On Monday, Officer Avery, the police spokesman, confirmed that clothes had been found in the ceiling but would not say if the police knew whose they were.

    On Sunday, the search appeared to have moved to a waste-processing facility on the industrial fringe of Hartford where trash from much of New Haven, as well of the rest of the state, is burned to generate electric power. Officials did not say if they had found anything there.

    But investigators, working from blueprints of the lab building on Amistad Street that houses three of Yale’s research programs, continued searching every literal nook and cranny of the building for clues.

    On Monday Linda Koch Lorimer, a Yale vice president, said the university was “cooperating in all possible ways with the police to ensure they find every shred of physical evidence” in the building on Amistad Street.

    She said the building had been closed for the day “so that the police can continue their investigation.” She said that people with “essential research responsibilities” would be let in, but would be accompanied by a police officer.

    She said Yale officials expected to know by the end of the day whether the building would have to stay closed longer.

    Ms. Le’s friends described her as friendly and outgoing. Dennis Jones, a graduate student in immunology, said that he and his own thesis adviser had interviewed Ms. Lee in the fall of 2007 as she was arriving at Yale. “She was a focused person,” Mr. Jones said. “She asked the good questions, like what’s the working environment in the lab. Most people are afraid to ask that.”

    Since then, he said, he often saw her at lunchtime, walking along the block between her office and the building where she was apparently killed. Many times, he said, she was pushing a cart with the mice she used for experiments. He said it took three levels of security to get into the basement of the lab building on Amistad Street, including two swipes of a security card.

    “She was going to go out and change the world,” said Virginia Hamilton, a librarian and adviser to the culture club at the high school Ms. Le had attended. “She was very smart, but not the quiet, nerdy type.”

    Ms. Le had not only been valedictorian of her class, but her classmates voted her “most likely to be the next Einstein.”

    Tony DeVille, who became principal of the school three years ago—three years after she graduated—said she was well-known among the faculty for devoting more than an hour each night to writing essays and filling out applications for scholarships.

    Her work paid off, literally: She received $160,000 in scholarship offers, he said.

    She wrote a one-page primer for future students on how to apply for scholarships was still in the files of the high school’s career center on Monday. The paper described her concern about affording college and the process of applying for 102 scholarships.“My tongue is sore from licking envelopes, my wrist hurts from typing and stapling, and the post office clerk knows me on a first name basis,” Ms. Lee wrote, “but other than that, there is nothing I can complain about; It was not difficult at all!”

    The money took her to the University of Rochester, where she met Jonathan Widawsky, now a graduate student at Columbia University. They planned to be married on Sunday at a catering hall in Syosset, N.Y. They had invited more than 160 guests. Mr. Widawsky was not considered a suspect and was said to have cooperated with the police in New Haven.
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