Wednesday, 16 September 2009

The Annie Le Murder: Three Questions

Okay, I know I'm drifting afield again, but I have a weak spot for true crime stories and Jane Velez-Mitchell's yammering on HLN. Annie Le is of course the 24-year-old Yale graduate student whose body was found crammed inside the wall of a laboratory on campus, five days after she went missing. Medical technician Raymond Clark has been declared a "person of interest" (these are almost always suspects, though the police have quite pointedly avoided using that word in Clark's case).

I'm following all the dribs and drabs of coverage of this sad story, but there's not much news. There are three questions I can't figure out why no one is talking about (and if they are, please note where and I'll happily shut up).

1. The police found bloody clothes, apparently belonging to the murderer, behind some ceiling tiles. The police also have video from some 70 cameras outside the building showing everyone who entered and left. Then why don't they just match the clothing to the video images of everyone who entered? After all, we know exactly what Annie Le was wearing, because it was clear on the image that the video captured of her entering the building. Or did the killer bring a few pairs of clothes to work that day? In which case, you'd start looking hard at people coming to work carrying odd bags, right? Is anyone in the media asking this question about whether police have tried to match the bloody clothing to the video images?

2. The New Haven Independent quoted an anonymous student who said she contacted the FBI after someone held open for her the door to the garage adjoining the lab building, on the day of Annie's disappearance, and he happened to have a quarter-sized blood stain on his shirt. She described the man as white skinned with reddish-brown hair and eyeglasses. Has anyone noted the shade of Clark's hair? Does he ever wear glasses? The bigger question: why hasn't the New Haven reporter who broke the story gone back to this anonymous student and asked her, now that Clark's face is all over the news: So, was that the guy you saw that day?

3. The killer's bloody clothes were allegedly found behind ceiling tiles. So if he stashed them there, what did he wear home that night? Did he bring a second set of clothes with him to work, with full knowledge of what he planned to do? Or how did he get fresh clothes, in an inconspicuous way? The most likely scenario would be that he simply donned some kind of lab clothing, maybe a loose-fitting hygienic smock. But in that case, wouldn't the police notice on the surveillance video that Man X enters wearing one set of clothes and leaves wearing another?

Overall, my thinking is that the police have a really, really good idea who did this. They may be waiting for the DNA tests to be absolutely sure, but I'm betting they knew the identify of their killer days ago.