Autopsy results expected on Yale grad student - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Autopsy results expected on Yale grad student

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This undated photo provided by Union Mine High School principal Tony DeVille shows Annie Le, front row, center, with other members of the 'Culture Club.' Le's body was found inside a wall in medical lab building on the Yale campus in New Haven, Conn. on S This undated photo provided by Union Mine High School principal Tony DeVille shows Annie Le, front row, center, with other members of the 'Culture Club.' Le's body was found inside a wall in medical lab building on the Yale campus in New Haven, Conn. on S
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  • Body in Yale building ID'd as missing grad student

    Body in Yale building ID'd as missing grad student

    Monday, September 14 2009 9:59 AM EDT2009-09-14 13:59:42 GMT
    Monday, September 14 2009 4:31 PM EDT2009-09-14 20:31:31 GMT
    Police are hunting for the killer who stuffed a body believed to be that of a Yale University graduate student behind a wall in the high-security laboratory building where she worked. 
    Connecticut's chief medical examiner says the body found hidden behind a wall in a Yale University research building is that of a missing graduate student. Dr. Wayne Carver says 24-year-old Annie Le's death is a homicide. He says he's temporarily withholding the cause of death "in order to facilitate the investigation." 
The state medical examiner's office said Tuesday that it would release the results of an autopsy of a Yale University graduate student amid indications that police were preparing to make an arrest in her killing.

A spokeswoman for the chief state medical examiner's office told The Associated Press that the cause of Annie Le's death would be released after 3 p.m. Tuesday. The office had been withholding its report to assist the police investigation.

New Haven police did not return calls Tuesday morning. They have said that Le's killing was not a random act and that no students are believed to be involved in the death.

Several news organizations reported that police were interviewing a possible suspect who failed a polygraph test and has defensive wounds on his body. New Haven police spokesman Joe Avery denied those reports Monday.

ABC News, WNBC-TV, The New Haven Register and the New Haven Independent cited anonymous sources in their reports. The Register and WNBC-TV also identify the possible suspect as a lab technician.

The state's chief medical examiner ruled Le's death a homicide but declined to say how she died, citing the pending police investigation.

Police are analyzing what they call "a large amount" of physical evidence, but have not gone into detail.

At a meeting of medical school students and teachers Monday, Yale president Richard Levin said police have narrowed the number of potential suspects to a very small pool because building security systems recorded who entered the building and what times they entered, the Yale Daily News reported Tuesday. He said the appropriate people are being monitored, the newspaper said.

Yale spokesman Tom Conroy and Robert Alpern, dean of the medical school, did not immediately return calls Tuesday.

The killing took place in a heavily secured building accessible only to students and university employees. It was the first killing at Yale in a decade.

Hundreds of students attended a Monday night prayer vigil and some students say Le's death is still troubling.

"I'm not walking at nights by myself anymore," said student Natoya Peart, 21, of Jamaica. "It could happen to anyone, anytime, anywhere."

Muneeb Sultan, 20, said he's shocked that a killing could take place in a secure Yale building.

"It's a frightening idea that there's a murderer walking around on campus," said Sultan, a chemistry student.

Le's roommate, Natalie Powers, recalled her during the vigil as tenacious, caring and "tougher than you'd think by just looking at her."

"That this horrible tragedy happened at all is incomprehensible," she said. "That it happened to her, I think is infinitely more so. It seems completely senseless."

Police found Le's body about 5 p.m. Sunday, the day she was to marry Columbia University graduate student Jonathan Widawsky, lovingly referred to on her Facebook page as "my best friend." The couple met as undergraduates at the University of Rochester and were eagerly awaiting their planned wedding on Long Island.

Police have said Widawsky is not a suspect and helped detectives in their investigation.

The building where the body was found is part of the university medical school complex about a mile from Yale's main campus. It is accessible to Yale personnel with identification cards. Some 75 video surveillance cameras monitor all doorways.

Her body was found in the basement in the wall chase - a deep recess where utilities and cables run between floors. The basement houses rodents, mostly mice, used for scientific testing by multiple Yale researchers, Alpern said.

Le was part of a research team headed by her faculty adviser, Anton Bennett. According to its Web site, the Bennett Laboratory was involved in enzyme research that could have implications in cancer, diabetes and muscular dystrophy. Bennett declined to comment Monday on the lab or Le's involvement with it.

Le's office was on the third floor of the five-story building, where authorities found her wallet, keys, money and purse.

Yale closed the building Monday so police could complete their investigation, according to a message sent to Yale students and staff. Scientists are being allowed in only to conduct essential research projects, and only under the supervision of a police officer.

They said the building would reopen as early as Tuesday under increased security.

On Monday afternoon, Yale officials apologized for an e-mail sent out earlier in the day notifying students about a job-search workshop named "Killer Cover Letters." The e-mail was distributed the same day the chief medical examiner's officer identified Le's body.

Philip Jones, assistant dean of Yale College, said the workshop's title is common, but its use was inappropriate at the time. The university was not intending to cause more distress, Jones said.

In the Sierra foothills community east of Sacramento where she was named "Most likely to be the next Einstein" in high school, Le was remembered as a high achiever who knew early on that she wanted a career in medicine.

In a Union Mine High School yearbook from 2003, Le said her long-term goal was to become a laboratory pathologist and said it would require about 12 years of higher education.

"I just hope that all that hard work is going to pay off and I'm really going to enjoy my job," she said.

No one answered the door Monday at the Widawskys' gray ranch-style home in Huntington, N.Y.

"He is a very nice young man," next-door neighbor George Mayer said of Jonathan Widawsky, a 24-year-old seeking his doctorate in physics. "His family, they're all just wonderful people - very, very nice people."

The death is the first killing at Yale since the unsolved December 1998 death of student Suzanne Jovin. The popular 21-year-old senior was stabbed 17 times in New Haven's East Rock neighborhood, about 2 miles from campus.

___

Associated Press writers Dave Collins and Pat Eaton-Robb in New Haven, Conn.; Susan Haigh in Hartford, Conn.; Frank Eltman in Huntington, N.Y.; Juliet Williams in Placerville, Calif.; and AP news researcher Rhonda Shafner in New York contributed to this report.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.

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