Mother bids emotional farewell at Yale student’s funeral

Yale student Annie Le's family said in a statement that
Mourners gathered Saturday in a California church to remember slain Yale graduate student Annie Le, 24, whose body was found on the day she was to be married.

“You were born in my loving embrace,” said Le’s mother, Vivian Van Le, reading a poem she’d written in Vietnamese to those gathered for the funeral at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in El Dorado Hills, California. Chris Le — her son and Annie Le’s brother — provided a translation. “The most wonderful gift that God had sent to me. … You left life at too young an age, at the beginning of many great things. All the dreams and hopes of your future gone with you to your resting place,” Vivian Van Le said, according to her son. Le, a pharmacology graduate student, was last seen alive on September 8, the day she appeared in a surveillance video as she entered the four-story lab at 10 Amistad St., about 10 blocks from Yale University’s campus. Her body was found inside the basement wall of the building on September 12, the day she was to be married. Authorities have charged Yale lab technician Raymond Clark, 24, with Le’s murder. Bond has been set at $3 million, according to police. See timeline of case Vivian Van Le addressed her daughter’s fiance, Jonathan Widawsky, on Saturday at the funeral, saying, “Even now, Annie is gone. But I still have you and love you very much, like my son, Christopher.” Widawsky is a graduate student in physics at Columbia University, according to Yale. Monsignor James C. Kidder told the mourners that “the worth of Annie’s life was not its length, it was its intensity of love.”

Yale released a statement Friday, saying that a university memorial service would be held on October 12. The university is also establishing a scholarship in Le’s memory. It released a statement from her family, saying “Annie was loved by everyone who knew her and special to all those who came in contact with her. … Her laughter was infectious and her goodness was ingenuous. … We will always remember her beautiful smile, her fun-loving spirit, and the joy that she brought to us all.”