Le Suspect Scrubbed, Made Small Talk With Cops - NBC Bay Area

Le Suspect Scrubbed, Made Small Talk With Cops



    Not Getting Enough Sleep? What’s Your Excuse?
    Court documents state that Raymond Clark III, 24, tried to hide evidence in plain view of cops. Police also said they found a blood-stained boot with "Ray-C" on the back.

    The man suspected of strangling Yale graduate student Annie Le was busy scrubbing drains and moving bloodstained evidence right under the glare of investigators searching for his victim, according to his arrest warrant.

    Raymond Clark III even went as far as to make small talk with a police officer while trying to turn what later became a piece of evidence – a blood-stained box of “Wipe Alls” – in a way so that investigators could not see the blood.

    Court documents from the investigation into the murder of Le reveal key pieces of information about Clark’s actions as police began investigating the case unfolding all around him.

    On Sept. 10, two days after Le was reported missing but before her body was found, police saw Clark go in and out of her lab room several times. While waiting for the FBI, police noticed Clark walk over to the box of wipes on a steel pushcart inside Lab room G-13, and move them, so the blood spatter faced the opposite direction, the documents state.

    Then, he leaned against the cart and made small talk with cops. But, the officer had already seen the box, and what appeared to be a stain, and moved it back to where it had been.  

    Later, Clark returned to the room and scrubbed the floor grate and drain with SOS pads and cleaning solution, something police thought was odd, according to documents.
    “Officer (Sabrina) Wood (of Yale University Police) thought it was unusual that Clark was scrubbing the drain because it did not appear to need cleaning,” the report says.
    Cops sent the wipes and a blood-stained lab coat to the state forensics lab, which found DNA from Le, as well as a man, on the items.
    As police investigated on Sept. 10, Clark approached Officer Jennifer Garcia, of the Yale University Police Department, and said he had known Le for four months. They did not socialize and did not spend time together outside of work, he said.
    He also helped lay out a timeline for Sept. 8:
    Clark arrived at work around 7 a.m. that day and used a key card to enter several rooms were animals are housed in the basement.
    Around 10:30 a.m., he said, he saw Le working in room G13.
    At noon, he left for lunch and returned at 12:30 p.m.
    At some time between 12:30 and 12:45 p.m., Le was gathering her notebook and two bags of mouse food and getting ready to leave, he said.
    At 12:45 p.m., he said, he left the Amistad building.
    The fire alarm went off at 1:55 p.m., set off by steam from equipment used to sterilize lab equipment. Clark said it went off between 2 p.m. and 2:30 p.m., police said.
    The documents also point out what officials observed, including that Clark changed his clothes at least once while the FBI processed the scene.
    Then there was a scratch on his face and left bicep, documents state. He blamed one of his cats at home.

    Police issued a warrant for Clark’s DNA and submitted it for testing. An athletic sock officials found inside a drop ceiling outside the lab area had Clark and Le’s DNA, police said.
    Inside the drop ceiling, located outside the lab area, officials also found a bloody rubber glove and a pair of Vikings work boots with a missing shoe lace and blood-stained heels. On the back it was inscribed “Ray-C”.
    On Sept. 13, five days after Le was reported missing, investigators made the gruesome discovery – her body as they were inspecting a locker room on the lower level of the building. 

    "An odor similar to that of a decomposing body" was immediately apparent, explained the affidavit. 
    Cadaver-sniffing dogs keyed in on a wall behind the toilet. Investigators opened a mechanical chase and noticed bloodlike smears behind the doorframe, on pipe insulation and then, the body.
    The Chief Medical Examiner's office determined Le was strangled -- the manner of death ruled a homicide.

    On releasing the documents, Clark's public defender says "the judge tried to balance different interests and we respect his opinion."