Ex-Girlfriend “Shocked” About Annie Le Target

(Updated) When she found out her ex-boyfriend was a suspect in the murder of Annie Le, a young Branford woman flashed back to a high school dispute that led to a visit from the cops.

The Branford woman used to date the lab technician who is now a “person of interest” in the killing of Yale graduate student Annie Le. They dated about six years ago, when they were both students at Branford High School.

According to a 2003 police report obtained by the Independent earlier this week, she told police he forced her to have sex with him and he “confronted” her, when against his wishes, she sought to end the relationship. However, she declined to press charges. She is not to be confused with the suspect’s fiancee, who lives in Middletown.

State cops discovered Le’s remains inside a basement wall at Yale on Sunday. Tuesday night, police took the technician into temporary custody for a DNA search in connection to the case; he was later released.

“I cant believe this is true,” the Branford ex-girlfriend wrote on her Facebook page Tuesday. She said she was “in total utter shock.”

(She declined to discuss the matter with the Independent.)

She wrote on her page that the news made her think of her high school relationship with the suspect.

“I feel like im 16 all over again,” she wrote. “Its jsut [sic] bringing back everything.”

She has known since Sunday that he was being looked at as a “possible” suspect in the crime, according to her private Facebook profile.

“Its been a rough few days,” she wrote.

Her ex-boyfriend is a Yale animal lab technician who at the time of the murder worked in the same building in which Annie Le, a Yale graduate student, did experiments. The suspect lives in Middletown. He was raised in Branford. Police took him into custody late Tuesday night to obtain DNA samples. He was later released.

Back on Sept. 29, 2003 he was a senior at Branford High School when Det. Ronald Washington responded to a report of a dispute. The dispute was between the young Branford woman and the (now) lab tech. A top school official had summoned the police to the high school.

“The two are in a relationship which [the girlfriend] wishes to terminate and [the male] does not wish to end it.” Washington wrote in the report. “[The male] did attempt to confront [the student] on this date and also wrote on her locker. The school will handle this incident concerning the locker and at the time of this report, [the lab tech] was advised to have no contact with” the female student.

The detective wrote that subsequently the girlfriend came with her mother to the station to speak to him.

She “wished to tell me of an incident that took place, however, did not want it
pursued by this Department,” the detective wrote. “She stated that she had been having a sexual relationship with [the male] and that at one time [the male] did force her to have sex with him. The relationship did continue after that incident, however she is unsure of what he may do as a result of the break up.

“She was advised to contact this Department if he should make any contact with her and we would pursue criminal charges if the investigation warrants it. [The girlfriend] would not give any formal statement regarding the forced sex. It should be noted that [the male’s] parents were also contacted by this Detective and advised of the situation.”

No arrest was made because the young woman decided not to press charges, police wrote.

Branford Police Chief John DeCarlo Wednesday confirmed in a press release that he has been contacted by the New Haven police about the lab tech because of his past Branford address. He declined to release information about this “person of interest.”

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posted by: NewHaven Resident on September 16, 2009  9:10am

Frightening. I’m impressed that the Independent scooped this information before the national or local media.

posted by: Bruce on September 16, 2009  9:42am

I’m more impressed that the Independent obviously had his name before anyone else but chose not to publish it.

posted by: Lance on September 16, 2009  9:51am

Do we get a prize (an independent coffee mug maybe?) if we correctly guess the source?

posted by: ESB on September 16, 2009  10:17am

Perhaps this is why:


posted by: Mofo on September 16, 2009  10:23am

Anyone on theories why he killed her and what his girlfriend, sister and her husband had to do with it?

posted by: tom on September 16, 2009  10:42am

wow, the independent is way more on top of things than the national news media

posted by: Earl on September 16, 2009  11:06am

I am not sure how I feel about our need to be amateur detectives, and judges; I think it is due to all the television shows dealing with murder and crime investigation. I hope we are wrong in our assumption of [the suspect’s] guilt. Isn’t he a flight risk?

posted by: Ed on September 16, 2009  11:26am

Hey Mofo. Sounds like you’ve already tried and convicted the guy. Give him a break at least until he’s arrested.

NewHaven: You might be surprised, but I’m not. The Indy actually covers New Haven, unlike the “local” media, which gave up on the city a long time ago. That’s why the “local paper” is usually full of fluff about suburban sewing circles and library clubs.

posted by: JZ on September 16, 2009  11:29am

Interesting how so many news outlets had a lot of info on this guy up within minutes of his being taken into custody. Seems like his identity was pretty common knowledge among reporters and that the police begged them to hold-off on publishing it. Nice scoop Independent, but it’s pretty rare for even date rapists to do what the killer did…

posted by: Pat Santoro on September 16, 2009  11:34am

Innocent until proven guilty !!!

posted by: anon on September 16, 2009  11:39am

You also reported earlier that he was arrested for driving too fast. Any more details on that?  Honestly, when aggressive behaviors—such as violence against women (women are seven to 14 times more likely than men to report suffering severe physical assaults from an intimate partner), speeding (young men are responsible for 90% of pedestrian deaths in some studies), rape (about a third of young women report being physically abused by their male partners), and war (e.g. bombing Iraq)—are condoned by our society and not properly addressed, we should not be surprised when more severe things to happen from time to time.

posted by: local on September 16, 2009  11:48am

I hope the NHI and Marcia have their facts strait. Accusing this guy of what amounts to past date rape is grounds for a law suite if they are even slightly off.

posted by: William Kurtz on September 16, 2009  12:06pm

No surprise; the NHI has consistently had the best and most thorough reporting on this sad affair.  They deserve recognition for their sensitivity and discretion, as does the NHPD for managing (despite a few leaks) the information in such a way as to attempt to reassure the public as well as to preserve the integrity of the investigation and the dignity of the victim and the many other people examined during its course.

That said, might it not be appropriate at this point to publish the name of the person taken into custody last evening?  There’s no need to engage in some of the relentless rumor-mongering and baseless speculation about his (possible) relationship to Ms. Le, but if it turns out that he is the victim of a misguided or malicious prosecution, that is ultimately newsworthy, too.  I’m curious, not critical.

posted by: anon on September 16, 2009  12:18pm

I agree with Ed that the NHI is the best local news site in the country, but the only thing surprising about that is that New Haven is a small market. 

That said, I don’t agree that other papers have “abandoned” the city. The Register still provides valuable coverage, and has a much higher mass readership, both locally and within the region as a whole—and I’m not going by public circulation figures, I am going by confidential, strategic PR surveys about what people read each day. 

Of course, city hall insiders and younger folks may be leaning increasingly towards the Independent, but you are talking about only 5-10% of the population there.

posted by: TheVolleyballGod on September 16, 2009  12:44pm

You are all a bunch of sick witch hunters so willing to smear and hang anyone.. I submit if the victim was fat and ugly you would not be lurking on this thread..

poor Ol Ray (Willard).. so far the most this boy seems to be getting flack over is that hew as angry the victim was mistreating his lab mice.

Give Willard a break!

posted by: Freddie on September 16, 2009  12:58pm

So glad to still live in a country where you are innocent until proven guilty.

posted by: asdf... on September 16, 2009  1:25pm

William Kurtz—-do you really think the NHPD deserves credit for handling information?  As soon as the NHPD took over the investigation, the information began streaming to the press.  I can’t think of a single piece of information that was given through official channels that wasn’t already leaked through back channels—the suspects name, his occupation, the cause of death, the failure of the lie detector, the defense wounds…etc were all reported before being officially released.

posted by: Hew Naven?? on September 16, 2009  1:54pm

Wow, I didn’t realize that the advertising execs at the Register read the Independent. They seem to be getting a little defensive:

”...I don’t agree that other papers have “abandoned” the city. The Register still provides valuable coverage, and has a much higher mass readership, both locally and within the region as a whole—and I’m not going by public circulation figures, I am going by confidential, strategic PR surveys about what people read each day.

Of course, city hall insiders and younger folks may be leaning increasingly towards the Independent, but you are talking about only 5-10% of the population there.”

posted by: sara on September 16, 2009  2:04pm

I was JUST thinking as I read this how good the Ind. coverage has been on this story!!! GREAT JOB!!
Channel 8 is useless….Hartford is doing a good job too, but the NH Independant is now in my “favorites” list

Branford High Class of 2002

posted by: nicki on September 16, 2009  2:05pm

Oh dear WilliamK—-welcome to 2009 where you best do better than hide your bloody clothes in the ceiling if you do not want every media outlet known to man hounding you.

PLEASE. Sympathize with the devil why don’t you.

posted by: nicki on September 16, 2009  2:06pm

oops—my previous comment was meant for FREDDIE. Sorry WmK.

posted by: Waitaminute on September 16, 2009  2:28pm

Anon 12:39, did you just equate speeding with rape, murder, and war?  Are you nuts?

posted by: inthedesert on September 16, 2009  2:39pm

If you are ever being strangled- you need to press your THUMBS as hard as possible into the eyeballs of the person strangling you.  It takes 5-8 minutes to neck strangle a person, but under a minute to make someone pass out from having their optic nerve pressed on!

posted by: Ed on September 16, 2009  2:51pm

To be clear, NHR still has some great staff and provides intermittently good coverage of the city. However, it has long focused on the suburbs at the expense of New Haven. That is what I mean when I say it has “abandoned” New Haven.

posted by: anon on September 16, 2009  2:57pm

Aggressive behavior, and abuse of those who are more vulnerable, are the markings of an uncivil society.  Though currently much of it may be socially acceptable, we should all immediately stand up, make our voices heard, and refuse to countenance it.  Ever hear of take back the night?  If you’re still confused, there are plenty of studies out there on what aggressive behavior is, who commits it, what it leads to, how many deaths it causes, and how it can be reduced through effective community-wide action.

posted by: anon on September 16, 2009  3:05pm

HewNaven, perhaps you just need to expand your circle of friends. :)

posted by: Our Town on September 16, 2009  3:06pm

Waitaminute…maybe you don’t read this site often, but per ANON, all social ills are caused by speeding or bad roadway design, and he will have some useless statistic to back up his claim.

posted by: ctkeith on September 16, 2009  3:21pm

Great Job Marcia and Malissa,

It is absolutly no suprise to anyone who is a regular reader hear that the NHI staff is Kicking ass and taking names on this or any other story on THEIR BEAT.
You guys OWN the rest of the media.

posted by: anon on September 16, 2009  3:23pm

I disagree, Our Town - First of all, I have never seen anyone here make that claim, though I don’t read every article and there have been several commenters who post with the same handles. Second, I personally don’t believe that. Third, it seems like you might benefit from focusing on the social issues at hand here and stop flooding the comment board with personal attacks, while contributing nothing yourself (this is where the NYT’s and NHI’s comment policies differ). 

Anyhow, I find it interesting to read the comments and see who would rush to defend our society’s acceptance of aggressive behaviors of all types—behaviors mostly committed by men (proving they are not “random”) and which you simply can not dispute directly and indirectly kill tens of thousands of Americans per year: including my neighbors, colleagues, friends and children.

posted by: GoHornets on September 16, 2009  4:15pm

Ron Washington is the man!

posted by: Robin B on September 16, 2009  5:28pm

I live in Portland, Oregon and have followed this story from its break.
This Independent has scooped every single news venue out there! I found you through 11 pages of Google and found the most updated info available on the net!

Yes, the police agencies are a leaky bunch. But then they don’t get many cases this brutal. Even in a small community, sources who will talk seem to be unidentifiable. Whether they’re right or not is another thing and I applaud the NHI for holding off publishing until they had confirmation.

posted by: Our Town on September 16, 2009  5:32pm

Actually, ANON, I do like threads that stay on topic, and I have commented with my sincere sympathy to the family and friends of this wonderful young person on another thread. It’s you that hijacks thread after thread with your rants filled with bogus statistics. I usually hold my tongue and let you spout off…I just didn’t think this was a proper thread for one of your lectures on your philosophy of the “right way.”

posted by: HewNaven?? on September 16, 2009  5:52pm

I have to come to Anon’s defense here. The suspect’s alleged behavior is typical of the male-dominant culture in America that celebrates aggression, selfish pride, and strength over efficiency. This crime is an example of what unchecked anti-social behavior can escalate to.

To that end, it comes as no surprise that the suspect drives a Ford Mustang, a national symbol of male chauvinism and unfocused anger.

posted by: Me! on September 16, 2009  6:06pm

What is so great about this coverage? They appear to be reading someone’s Facebook pages and, in my opinion, this story should never have been published. WHAT IF it turns out this guy is not the murderer? Also, let this be a lesson to everyone out there… what you write in your Facebook could end up anywhere!!

posted by: Tikkles on September 16, 2009  6:40pm

Oh my…I drive a Ford Mustang, and I’m a girly-girl for sure.  I don’t think I have unfocused anger either.

posted by: Fearless on September 16, 2009  7:20pm

Inthedesert: Unfortunately, I’ve been attacked and strangled by a psychopath once. I was out cold in about a minute. Perhaps it takes 5-8 minutes to kill someone via strangulation. I don’t know. But I really didn’t have very long to react before I was unconscious. Just thought I’d share that.

posted by: LeadMare on September 16, 2009  8:18pm

Surely you jest wrt the Ford Mustang. I am a 60-year old medical professional and equestrienne. I bought my Ford Mustang GT convertible because I love horses.

In 2005, the Ford Motor company established the Save The Mustangs fund “to build public awareness for the plight of America’s wild horses and help fund their adoption by non-profit sanctuaries.”

STM has raised over $200,000 to help the BLM and other agencies.
<a href=“http://www.ford.com/our-values/environment/nature-wildlife/save-the-mustangs/save-wild-mustangs” rel=“nofollow”><a href=“http://www.ford.com/our-values/environment/nature-wildlife/save-the-mustangs/save-wild-mustangs” rel=“nofollow”>http://www.ford.com/our-values/environment/nature-wildlife/save-the-mustangs/save-wild-mustangs</a></a>

More on topic, it’s tragic, and somewhat ironic, to have this crime occur in an ivory tower in the hallowed halls of medicine (I also work in one of the top med ctrs in the world) with 75 surveillance cameras and a card swipe in every pot. The Trickster Archetype—Kokopelli, Coyote—mocks us once again.

posted by: L on September 16, 2009  8:31pm

I am a Yale alum and employee. I am horrified and saddened about this tragedy. I am scared for my students in general, because I feel like Yale must hire a lot of people who they shouldn’t, honestly. Do they do background checks on all of us before we are hired? I hope so. The DMV does a background check when we apply for a CT license. Frankly, even if he was just hired as a lackey to clean the mouse cages, and had this prior date rape and harassment issue/charge in his file, he should not have been hired by Yale to be around young college students. Period. I hope Yale will go through and reassess some of their employees. The university is the custodian of people’s children, even if they are at or just over the age of 18.

posted by: streever on September 17, 2009  7:01am

there was no date rape in his record. No charges were pressed. Unfortunate.

Yale does do extensive background checks: in fact, having poor credit disqualifies you from many positions at Yale.

They actually added this clause just at the start of this global recession.

posted by: streever on September 17, 2009  7:02am

to sum it up, Yale does extensive background checks. This young man however only had one citation for “agressive driving”, which is a value judgement on the part of the driver issuing the ticket. It could mean he accelerated fast.

Background screenings can’t prevent all tragedy. This is a shame & a very sad story, but it’s really hard to say that anyone dropped the ball.

posted by: JohnH on September 17, 2009  7:18am

Part of the criticism Yale University and YNHH has received through the years is their tax exemption. Their response is to point out the millions of dollars in free care the Hospital provides through the community, AND thehospital and University policy to hire from the community.

There are many fine workers from the greater New Haven area. However, a simple observation found walking through these facilities will show, you have some employees who are unworthy beneficiaries of this policy.

posted by: Wow on September 17, 2009  7:22am

Have we ever heard a term called “hearsay?”  I am not trying to subdue a high school girl’s story, but she chose to not pursue any charges at that time, and this story should have been left there, in the past.  Another term I would like to toss out there is “slander.”  We have all heard of freedom of the press, but I would be careful to attack a potential murder suspect with “stories” from his past.  I am not siding with anyone that murders, nor am I trying to take a high school child’s story and sound uncompassionate. I realize she most likely did not pursue criminally in high school to keep her integrity, but now is not the time to attack someone.
Good luck printing trash, and I can not believe anyone would attack the NHPD for “leaking” any information, seeing the information printed here holds no ground whatsoever.

posted by: Bruce on September 17, 2009  8:49am

NHI coverage picked up by AP story:

“...he once forced her to have sex. The relationship continued after that incident, according to the Independent, a news Web site.” (LINK)

Well, they sort of tried to give you credit.

posted by: Annie on September 17, 2009  9:30am

It’s such a shame that if this guy is the killer, that his date rape was not officially charged. I wonder how his parents dealt with the news about this girlfriend saying that he raped her. I imagine it’s pretty likely they didn’t believe it.

About the aggressive driving discussion here, it’s interesting to consider the personality type that does this sort of thing. We’ve all seen those aggressive tailgaters and the drivers (male and female) who weave dangerously between cars as if they are immortal (or suicidal) and as if they could not give a care about other drivers’ safety and as if they hold other drivers in contempt. You can’t convincingly make a jump to calling them anything other than disturbed and self-centered (and if habitual, undeserving of drivers’ licenses) but we can call them that at least.

posted by: Walt on September 17, 2009  9:45am

The Independent was quoted in the New York Post this morning,  which I assume is big time   in publishing. (Maybe not to the liberals posting here.)


posted by: steve on September 17, 2009  12:27pm

Give him the death penalty as soon as he is proven guilty.  DOnt let him live any more extra days than he needs to, he took a life, now the father or uncle of the poor victim should be able to choke him out now, forget the death penalty, make him suffer

posted by: MORRIS COVE MOM on September 17, 2009  2:05pm

They are not accusing him of date rape, read how they worded that paragraph: “According to a 2003 police report…”
The Independent is very careful of how they source, and what they say.
If only all other newsmedia outlets could say the same thing.
The only thing that confused me in this is that the ex-girlfriend says she can’t believe it. Really? Violence in past (per the police report) is an indicator of violence in the future. I’m not shocked, just scared for my girls to grow up.

posted by: THOMAS on September 17, 2009  5:37pm

(I have to come to Anon’s defense here. The suspect’s alleged behavior is typical of the male-dominant culture in America that celebrates aggression, selfish pride, and strength over efficiency. This crime is an example of what unchecked anti-social behavior can escalate to.)








posted by: Ann on September 17, 2009  6:06pm

If the former girlfriend is telling the truth, this is an excellent example of why it is so important to press charges when someone forces you to have sex.

posted by: anon on September 17, 2009  9:19pm

Thomas - I think I agree with your point. Supervisors have a role in reducing the potential for violence too.  But my point is, we all do.

posted by: juryday on September 17, 2009  10:19pm


The scary thing is, many thoughts are running through other PhD candidates minds on university campuses,such as could there be a psychopathic lab technician working among us.

That high school incident should’ve been a red flag, but once again another one fall through the crack.

posted by: Will on September 17, 2009  10:28pm

“The Register still provides valuable coverage…as a whole”
I think you spelled “whole” wrong.

posted by: RAY on September 18, 2009  12:34pm

One of the reports indicated that he has scratches on chest, arms and back.

If Annie used her hands and fingers to defend at the last minutes of her life, how could it be possible? unless he got his top took off.

posted by: Kelly on September 18, 2009  6:26pm

Ray: Exactly! That’s what I was wondering about as well. If he was wearing an open neck, short sleeved shirt it may have been possible to scratch his chest and arms but surely not his back - that doesn’t sound right unless he had his shirt off. Also, with a prior incident of (alleged) rape and control issues, I wonder if he tried to force himself on her. He’s fairly ripped and she was tiny.

posted by: Kris on September 18, 2009  7:46pm

i just think its funny that the reporters have to resort to FACEBOOK to get all their information.

posted by: claudia on September 18, 2009  11:50pm

I also think it is odd that Clark’s girlfriend explained before the murder via internet that Clark did not have an interest in a female at work, which was alledgedly rumored. Odd that there was a rumor he had an interest in a female at work and then a female at work is murdered. Isn’t it difficult to accept the workplace violence explanation, expecially knowing the police admit they may never know why Clark killed Annie Le considering he isn’t talking? Regardless that Clark supposedly sent text messages about the condition of the cages or whatever, he might have set her up to be in the same room that is not enough to assume workplace violence. I suspect there is a need for more investigating to determine what led to the murder of Annie Le. Possibly it is inappropriate to categorize this death as a result of workplace violence?

posted by: Pat Santoro on September 28, 2009  11:48am

If the alleged rape victim is telling the truth, why didn’t she have him arrested? Why didn’t her mother step in to protect her daughter and let the law handle the rest. Sounds fishy to me.