Missing Yale student wrote article on staying safe

Liz De La Torre

From The Associated Press

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – A Yale University graduate student who disappeared less than a week before her planned wedding wrote a magazine article earlier this year about how to stay safe around the Ivy League campus.

Annie Le’s article, called “Crime and Safety in New Haven,” was published in February in a magazine produced by Yale’s medical school. It compares higher instances of robbery in New Haven to cities that house other Ivy League schools and includes an interview with Yale Police Chief James Perrotti, who offers advice such as “pay attention to where you are” and “avoid portraying yourself as a potential victim.”

“In short, New Haven is a city and all cities have their perils,” Le concludes. “But with a little street smarts, one can avoid becoming yet another statistic.”

Le, a 24-year-old doctoral student in pharmacology originally from Placerville, Calif., was last seen Tuesday at her laboratory in the Yale Medical School complex, slightly less than a mile from the main campus.

Le’s purse, cell phone, credit cards and money were found in her office. She planned to get married on Sunday, but has not contacted her family, co-workers or friends.

On Thursday, state police with bloodhounds searched the area where Le was last seen, and authorities were seen searching nearby trash bins. Perotti said the FBI was assisting, and investigators also were reviewing images from closed-circuit cameras. Le’s fiance, professors, colleagues, friends and family also were helping, he said. FBI agents were spotted Thursday at her New Haven apartment but declined to comment.

Asked about the possibility of foul play, Yale spokesman Tom Conroy said Thursday, “There’s no evidence of it at this time.”

Le was excited about getting married and is energetic and conscientious, said Debbie Apuzzo, who works in the pharmacology department.

Le, 4-foot-11 and 90 pounds, is of Asian descent and has brown hair and brown eyes. She received her undergraduate degree in bioscience in 2007 from the University of Rochester in New York, said Sharon Dickman, a university spokeswoman.

While at the University of Rochester, she did a summer project at the National Institutes of Health on bone tissue engineering with a goal of regenerating tissue for people suffering from degenerative bone diseases. She said her career goal was to work as an NIH investigator or as a professor.

Her mentor, Rocky Tuan, described her as bright and hardworking, saying the NIH undergraduate scholars program was very selective.

“She’s a very happy person,” Tuan said. “Everybody got along with her. She’s always smiling, laughing.”