Police found Annie's body on what should have been her wedding day…
The grainy CCTV image showed student Annie Le, 24, hurrying along the corridor of the research building.
Tiny 4ft 9in Annie was a talented doctoral student at Yale School of Medicine’s Department of Pharmacology. She had a glittering future ahead, and a personal life just as promising.
Her wedding to Jonathan Widawsky, then 24, was just five days away. Annie was so excited.
But on Tuesday 8 September 2009, a CCTV camera captured Annie entering the building. But there was no footage of her ever leaving. How could Annie have vanished into thin air? Police even searched the school’s rubbish dump. Why would an excited bride-to-be vanish?
A professor who suddenly cancelled a class Le was about to attend around the time she went missing was questioned. But with a solid alibi, they weren’t considered a suspect.
And then, on the Saturday, Annie Le’s bloody clothes were found concealed above a ceiling tile in the building.
The following day, on what should have been her wedding, police found her body. She’d been stuffed upside down inside the wall of a basement laboratory in the research building.
Annie’s decomposing body was battered and bruised. Her collarbone and jaw had been broken before her death, and her underwear had been pulled down. She’d been strangled. Who would’ve done such a thing?
Underneath Annie’s body, police discovered a green ink pen. A clue?
The basement where she was discovered was used to keep mice for experiments. Only Yale employees would have the identification cards needed to gain access. One of them was Raymond Clark, 26. A lab technician, he was often seen cleaning out the mice cages.
He had the opportunity to kill Annie, but what motive? Searching through the sign-in sheet at the research building, Clark’s signature stood out. It was written in green ink.
Next a bloodied sock was found, hidden in a ceiling. It contained two notes from Clark, begging his colleagues to supply him with an alibi. DNA evidence found on the pen, and in the semen found on Annie’s underwear, put him directly at the scene.
Everyone who knew him was shocked. He was charged with felony murder, murder and sexual assault, but even with such overwhelming evidence, he maintained his innocence.
Clark reached a plea agreement, pleading guilty to murder and entering an Alford plea to the sexual assault.
Under US law, an Alford plea means a defendant maintains their innocence but admits there’s enough evidence against them to secure conviction.
Saving himself from going to trial, Clark likely got away with a lesser sentence.
In June 2011, Raymond Clark III, 26, was given 44 years in jail.
He wept as Annie’s family gave their emotional testimonies. But Clark’s tears were too late. He’d stolen Annie’s future, and nothing could make up for that.
By Rachel Tompkins