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September 18, 2009

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Lab tech charged with murder

A YALE University lab technician was arrested yesterday at a hotel and charged with murdering a graduate student whose body was found stuffed in the wall of a research building on what would have been her wedding day.

Police said it was a case of workplace violence, but didn't elaborate.

Police had been waiting outside the Super 8 hotel in Cromwell, about 40 kilometers north of the Ivy League campus, where Raymond Clark III got a room shortly after being released from police questioning in the death of 24-year-old Annie Le.

Clark was expected to be arraigned on a murder charge, New Haven Police Chief James Lewis said. He would not rule out the possibility of additional charges.

"It is important to note that this is not about urban crime, university crime, domestic crime but an issue of workplace violence, which is becoming a growing concern around the country," Lewis said.

Le was found dead on Sunday, her body hidden in the basement wall of a building where she worked as a medical researcher, on the day she was to marry her college sweetheart, Columbia University graduate student Jonathan Widawsky. The Connecticut medical examiner said on Wednesday that Le died of "traumatic asphyxiation."

Clark was under constant surveillance after he was released.

Shortly after 8am yesterday, police moved on the hotel Clark was staying in, blocking roads near the hotel as they made the arrest. Clark was wearing a white shirt and tan pants as police ushered him into the back of a dark sedan with tinted windows.

Lewis said Clark was arrested without incident.

Clark's attorney, David Dworski, did not immediately return calls seeking comment yesterday. He has previously said Clark is "committed to proceeding appropriately" with police.

The Reverend Dennis Smith, a spokesman for the Le family, told NBC's "Today" show that an arrest would help give the family closure.

"It's such a terrible thing to have lost Annie as they have and not know who did it. That adds to the grief," he said.

In high school, Clark reportedly upset a girlfriend so much that police warned him to stay away from her.


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