Police are calling animal technician Raymond Clark a "person of interest" (not a suspect) in the murder of Yale graduate student Annie Le, and have taken him into custody while they search his apartment.
Clark, 24, was led away in handcuffs Tuesday night from the home in Middletown, Connecticut he shared with fiancée Jennifer Hromadka. Police had been staking out the apartment building since Monday. Creepily, neighbors cheered as officers took Clark away.
Police say they will release Clark once they get DNA and other evidence from him and his residence. New Haven Police Chief James Lewis elaborated in a news conference that his department will compare Clark's DNA to evidence found at the lab where Le died. (He said others with access to the building had voluntarily given DNA samples, which might be compared as well.) Medical examiners declined to release Le's cause of death yesterday, but a source now says she was asphyxiated before her body was hidden in the wall where it was found.
It's not clear whether Clark had any connection to Le, other than taking care of animals in the lab where she worked. Last year, Clark's fiancée responded on her blog to rumors that he was having an affair with someone from the lab. She wrote,
My boyfriend, Ray, if you don't know him, has no interest in any of the other girls at [the university research center] as anything more than friends.
This rumor of a 'fling' is probably the most stupid thing i have ever heard and really is not even worth going into detail about.
She also said,
He is a bit naive, doesn't always use the best judgement, definitely is not the best judge of character but, he is a good guy.
A source, however, told CBS that "there's no romance involved" in this case. The New Haven police have been relatively secretive about the murder, and Yale students and faculty remain uneasy amid various unsubstantiated rumors. Yale President Richard Levin reassured medical students with the news that police have narrowed the pool of suspects down to a few who were videotaped entering the building where Le was found. And in a statement, Annie Le's family has asked for privacy and thanked the Yale community for its help. They say,
The entire Yale community as well as our extended families and friends have been very supportive, helpful and caring. Our loss would have been immeasurably more difficult to cope with without their support.
Update: Clark has been released after providing DNA evidence. Any arrest is unlikely until police complete DNA analysis, which could take weeks.
Image via CBS.
Man Being Questioned In Yale Asphyxiation [UPI.com]
Police Execute Search Warrant In Yale Slaying [MSNBC]
Lab Technician In Custody In Annie Le Slaying [LA Times]
Girlfriend Of Yale Lab Tech Denied Affair [CBS]
Police Seek DNA From Yale Worker In Death Of Student [CNN]
Fiancée's Blog Slams Cheating Rumors [New York Post]
Police Release Yale Worker In Probe Of Student's Death [CNN]