NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Police investigating the slaying of a Yale graduate student zeroed in on a "person of interest" Tuesday after keeping tabs on an ever-tightening circle of people connected to the medical lab where her body was found stuffed behind a wall.
Authorities on the case have been tightlipped almost since the minute 24-year-old Annie Le was reported missing Sept. 8, just a few days before her wedding day. Police say they have ruled out her fiancee, a Columbia University graduate student, but they have provided little additional information - other than to deny reports that a suspect was in custody.
On Tuesday, investigators descended in large numbers on the home of a Yale animal research technician who lives in an apartment in Middletown, about 20 miles from the New Haven campus. Le worked for a Yale laboratory that conducted experiments on mice, and investigators found her body stuffed in the basement wall of a facility that housed research animals.
It was unclear whether the technician was the "person of interest," and whether police were giving the same attention to any others who had access to the lab where Le worked. Detectives have questioned more than 150 people, many of them believed to be connected to the busy medical research building where Le was a rising star.
Officials had promised Tuesday to release an autopsy report that would shed light on exactly how Le died. But then prosecutors blocked release of the results out of concern that it could hinder the investigation.
Le's body was found Sunday, the day she would have been married on New York's Long Island. Her remains had been crammed into a wall recess where utilities and cables run between floors.
The Le family issued a statement Tuesday through a family friend, the Rev. Dennis Smith, that thanked friends and the Yale community for their support during their grieving. The family also asked for privacy.
"The entire Yale community as well as our extended families and friends have been very supportive, helpful and caring," said Smith, speaking for the family. "Our loss would have been immeasurably more difficult to cope with without their support."