Friday, September 18, 2009

Annie Le and Jonathan Widawsky: A Photo and My Thoughts

The story of Annie Le, the Yale grad student who was murdered September 8, is a sad one. She was to be married to Columbia grad student Jonathan Widawsky on September 13. That date was to have been a very special one in her life. Ironically, it was the date police found her body hidden in a basement laboratory at Yale University.

Annie was, in many ways, similar to my own wife. Annie was 4' 11", the same height as my wife, Asian like my wife, and weighed only 90 pounds, the same weight as my wife when we were married. (Mrs. Chomper has since gained a little, to a whopping 110 pounds.)

Annie was a very lovely young woman with great promise. I can only imagine how terrible this is for her family, her friends and her fiancé.

The evidence against Raymond Clark, a lab technician, appears solid. Swipe cards for restricted entrance are a key control in businesses and universities.  They are plastic cards with magnetic coding that are passed in front of an electronic reader.  The system will unlock the door only for authorized personnel.  Entries and exits to buildings and rooms are monitored and recorded in the computer system, with the individuals specifically identified as well as the exact date and time of entry and exit. Clark's swipe card records show that he entered the room where Annie was working, but there is no record of Annie ever leaving that room. These records confirm that Clark was the last person to see Annie alive.

An hour after Annie entered the lab, swipe card records show Clark wandering the building from room to room in a haphazard fashion, even to areas where he didn't work. Finally, DNA evidence showed that Annie's blood was on Clark's shoes, and her hair and DNA on his clothes.

Clark is innocent until proven guilty but the case, at this stage anyway, appears open and shut. Clark may very well have ended Annie Le's life, but if so he also has ended his own. Because life behind bars isn't much of a life.

Photo:  Annie Le and Jonathan Widawsky.  The original picture (#4 of 28) was too light and faded.  I used Photoshop techniques to sharpen and darken the photo.

Related news stories:
1. DNA and other evidence against Raymond Clark
2.  Scratches found on Raymond Clark's chest, back and arms

Update:  Annie will be laid to rest in Green Valley Cemetery in Rescue, California on Saturday, September 26.  Her funeral will be a private family ceremony.

You can sign her online guestbook at this link.


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