Car Seized From Motel Where Yale Suspect Arrested

Crime, Law and JusticeCrimeFamilyHotel and Accommodation IndustryHotels and AccommodationsJustice SystemNew Haven (New Haven, Connecticut)

Police investigating the murder of aYale graduate student are still collecting evidence, including acar they towed from the motel where the suspected killer wasarrested.

Police wouldn't confirm who owns the Ford Taurus they towedFriday night from the Super 8 motel in Cromwell, Conn. The fatherof Raymond Clark III, the Yale lab technician charged with themurder of Annie Le, checked into the motel before his son wasarrested Thursday.

A state trooper who took part in the seizure confirmed that itwas related to Clark's arrest. It's not clear if the suspect'sfather is still staying at the Super 8, and police did not enterthe motel.

New Haven police spokesman Joe Avery said he knew nothing aboutthe seizure. Cromwell police referred questions to the New Havenpolice department.

Clark's parents, Raymond John Clark Jr. and Diane Clark, areseparated, according to a person familiar with the family who spokeon the condition of anonymity because of the nature of the charges.

New Haven Police Chief James Lewis told The Associated Press ina telephone interview Friday that the investigation was continuing,although they didn't expect more arrests. Lewis said authoritiesmay never know the motive for the killing of Le, whose body wasfound hidden behind a wall on what should have been her weddingday.

"The only person who knows the motive is the suspect," Lewissaid. "It's true in many cases. You never know absolutely unlessthe person confesses, and in this case it's too early to tell."

Clark, a technician in the lab where Le conducted research, wasarrested a day after authorities took DNA samples from him tocompare with evidence from the crime scene.

Clark's bond was set at $3 million, and he did not enter a plea.

A telephone message seeking comment from the public defenders'office, which is representing Clark, was not immediately returnedSaturday.

A law enforcement official who talked to the AP on condition ofanonymity because the investigation was ongoing and many detailsremained sealed said co-workers called Clark a "control freak"who was territorial about the mice whose cages he cleaned.Authorities are investigating whether that attitude might have setoff a clash between Clark and Le.

Clark tried to hide evidence even as investigators worked in thebasement lab around him, authorities said, then coolly played asoftball game on the day Le's body was found stuffed inside anearby wall.

An investigator observed Clark trying to hide cleaning equipmentthat contained blood splatters as teams probed the disappearance ofLe, who was 24, according to a law enforcement official familiarwith the investigation who spoke to The Hartford Courant.

Investigators have records of Clark, also 24, cleaning areasthat Le was in before she was reported missing Sept. 8, theofficial told the Courant, speaking on condition of anonymity.

But despite Clark's efforts, investigators found DNA of both thesuspect and victim in the ceiling and in the wall recess where Le'sbody was hidden, the official told the paper. New Haven policewouldn't confirm that information to the AP.

The body of Le, a pharmacology student from Placerville, Calif.,was recovered Sunday, the day she was to get married on New York'sLong Island.

Prosecutors may face difficult questions in Clark's trial aboutwhy they didn't restrict access to the lab after Le was reportedmissing, legal experts said. Le disappeared on a Tuesday, andauthorities didn't close it until the weekend.

"If a jury is looking for something to grab onto, then thiscould be something for them to grab onto," said Hugh Keefe, a topstate defense attorney.

Le's work involved experiments on mice that were part ofresearch into enzymes that could have implications for treatment ofcancer, diabetes and muscular dystrophy, while Clark's technicianjob involved cleaning floors and mouse cages.

Ann Turner, executive director of the American Association forLaboratory Animal Science, acknowledges "there is a gulf" betweentechnicians and the researchers they interact with, but said a gapin education levels shouldn't necessarily lead to tension.

"If there is a culture of trust and a culture of respect, theresearchers will respect the animal care technicians, and viceversa," Turner said.

A memorial service for Le is planned at the Huntington, N.Y.,temple her fiance's family attends between the high holidays ofRosh Hashanah, beginning sundown Friday, and Yom Kippur on Sept.28, cantor Sandra Sherry said.

The family of fiance Jonathan Widawsky, a graduate student atColumbia University, had already announced it would not attendservices "for the foreseeable future" to ease things for thesynagogue, Sherry said.

Clark is jailed in Suffield, about 20 miles north of Hartford.His next scheduled court date is Oct. 6.

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