Friday, September 11, 2009

IM MURDER: Mystery 'elevator person' last to see professor alive?

Elevator encounter illustrates big gap in what police are telling the public

COLUMBIA, 9/11/09 (Beat Byte) -- Never previously reported or publicly identified by MUPD, a person "rode down the elevator," with Jeong Im, Ph.D. as Im left his MU office shortly after 10 a.m. and just minutes before he was murdered in the Maryland Ave. parking garage on a snowy Jan. 2005 morning, says a former Im co-worker.

The unreported elevator encounter illustrates what Mark Foecking calls "the gulf between what the press has reported, what I and others in the department know, and finally what the police know about the case.  The police have oodles more information about this case than any of us can possibly have."

Security cameras show Im -- a biochemist -- entering MU's Maryland Avenue parking garage at 10:31 am.  MU police believe he was murdered within the next fifteen minutes.  They have never released details on security photos of the person with Im in the elevator. 

"The person who rode down the elevator with Im is not a suspect," said Foecking , a co-worker who took over Im's position as a protein chemist in 2005.  "If you knew who it was, and the random nature of the encounter, you wouldn't even call this person a 'person of interest.'  This person could not physically have done this."

Foecking -- who said he saw Im leave his laboratory office shortly after 10:00 the morning of Friday, Jan. 7 -- declined to identify the person in the elevator.

Security cameras pegged Im leaving the laboratory building at 10:31 am.   Foecking said he thinks Im did not go directly to the garage after he left his office.   "The difference between 10:31 am and when I remember him leaving the lab makes me think he stopped off to talk to someone on the way out," Foecking told the Heart Beat. 


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