Animals key in Le murder & Dugard kidnap cases
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, September 2009:
NEW HAVEN, Connecticut; ANTIOCH, Calif.– Animals were
central to two of the most sensational crimes against humans coming
to light in late summer 2009.
Yale University lab animal technician Raymond Clark III, 24,
was on September 18, 2009 charged with killing Annie Le, 24, a
pharmacology Ph.D. candidate. Le disappeared on September 8. Her
remains were found on September 13–scheduled to have been her
wedding day–hidden behind a wall in the lab where she and Clark both
Previously convicted kidnapper and rapist Philip Garrido,
58, was arrested on August 26, 2009 and charged again with
kidnapping and rape. Garrido and his wife Nancy, 54, who was also
charged, allegedly kidnapped Jaycee Dugard, then 11 years old, in
South Lake Tahoe, California, in 1991, and held her hostage in
Antioch, California, for 18 years. Garrido fathered two daughters
with Dugard: Starlit, now 15, and Angel, 11.
ABC News, Javier C. Hernandez and Serge Kovaleski of the New
York Times and Ray Henry and Michael Hill of Associated Press all
hinted soon after Clark was charged that a dispute over animal care
preceded the Annie Le murder.
“Animal technicians must also be watchdogs, making sure that
in the bureaucratic world of animal research, all documents have
been filed and all ethical standards obeyed,” noted Hernandez and
Kovaleski. “They might remind a student to put on a gown before
entering a room, or chide a researcher for failing to separate a
litter of mice or clipping a mouse tail for a DNA sample, a practice
that Yale forbids.”
According to ABC News, Clark sent a text message to Le on
the day she disappeared, requesting a meeting to discuss the
cleanliness of mouse cages.
Dugard and her daughters were to be reunited circa September
18 with their five cats, two dogs, three cockatiels, a pigeon, a
parakeet, and a white mouse. The animals had been kept at the
Contra Costa County animal shelter since Dugard and her daughters
were discovered and freed.
“Dugard, her daughters, and her mother are with counselors
in an undisclosed location,” reported CNN.
Perplexing investigators and commentators is that Dugard and
her daughters apparently made no attempts to escape or seek help,
despite many chances to do so. The importance of animals to them may
provide the explanation. Offenders in domestic violence cases often
use animal companionship as a controlling device. Access to animals
is allowed as a reward for compliant behavior, while the threat of
harm to the animals is used to keep the victims from leaving.
Photographs of the tents, sheds, and patio area where
Dugard and her daughters were held showed dozens of books about
animals, animal figurines, and art objects with animal motifs.