It was a nightmarish story that grabbed the attention of the news media around the world. Annie Le was a promising young graduate student. She was also engaged to be married, and her wedding was only days away when she turned up missing, having last been seen entering a Yale research building. Six frantic and anxious days followed on campus. Authorities searched; students held vigils. To no avail. She was eventually found dead on the premises, her body stuffed behind a hidden compartment in the lab wall.
The brutality of the crime, and the fact that it took place inside a heavily secured building, left many students feeling vulnerable. It would be hard to overstate the sense of shock, disbelief, and grief that swept over the student body. Even those who didn’t know Annie personally felt closely connected to her after her death. The crime occurred only a few months after my graduation, and I can attest to the constant stream of Facebook messages from students seeking to share their grief and anger.
Last week justice was served on Annie’s killer:
A Yale University lab technician pleaded guilty Thursday to murder and attempted sexual assault of a graduate student killed just days before her wedding.
Raymond Clark III, a former animal research technician charged with strangling 24-year-old Annie Le of Placerville, Calif., entered the plea in court Thursday after an agreement with prosecutors.
Prosecutors said Clark, 26, will be sentenced to 44 years in prison as part of a plea deal, reports. Le’s body was found stuffed behind a research lab wall on the day she was supposed to get married in September 2009.
Today, Annie’s friends and former classmates remember her best, not for the tragic circumstances of her death, but for the intelligence, grace, and goodwill she exemplified in life.