Background
This analysis is based on an older version of our inference model which is accurate but more difficult to read

Question

Serial: Who killed Hae Min Lee?

Hypothesesinfo icon

Calculated Conclusionsinfo icon

Conclusionsinfo icon

1

54%
Other murderer:

Hae Min Lee was killed by someone else (other than Adnan Syed, Jay Wilds, Don, or Roy Sharonnie Davis III).

54%

2

31%
Davis:

Roy Sharonnie Davis III (a convicted murderer who was in the area) killed Hae Min Lee.

31%

3

8%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial):

Adnan Syed killed Hae Min Lee, and buried her with Jay's help (this timeline differs from the version of events presented to the jury that convicted Adnan: killed after 2:30 PM and buried after 11 PM that night).

8%

4

4.7%
Don:
Don (Hae's boyfriend at the time of the murder) killed Hae Min Lee.
4.7%

5

1.4%
Adnan alone (late night burial):

Adnan Syed killed Hae Min Lee, and buried her without Jay's help (this timeline differs from the version of events presented to the jury that convicted Adnan: killed after 2:30 PM and buried after 11 PM that night).

1.4%

6

0.2%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial):

Adnan Syed killed Hae Min Lee, and buried her with Jay's help (this timeline was presented to the jury that convicted Adnan: he called for pickup at 2:35 PM after murdering Hae, and buried her around 7 PM).

0.2%

7

0.08%
Jay:

Jay Wilds killed Hae Min Lee.

0.08%

8

0.08%
Shamim:

Shamim Syed (Adnan's mother) killed Hae Min Lee.

0.08%

Summary

Hae Min Lee was a high school senior in Baltimore, Maryland, who disappeared on January 13, 1999. When her body was found a month later on February 9, an investigation ensued that relied heavily on information provided by Jay Wilds, a marijuana dealer who had graduated from Hae's high school. The police claimed to have focused on Hae's ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed, following a tip from an anonymous caller and information provided by Jenn (a friend of Jay but not of Adnan). After Adnan’s conviction, the case was featured in the podcasts Serial and Undisclosed, and some of the new evidence and arguments led the court to overturn Adnan's conviction and grant him a new trial. Followers of the case have made maps containing significant locations, multiple possible timelines have been suggested, and debates have ensued on forums such as Reddit.

At trial, the prosecution claimed that Adnan killed Hae and then called Jay for help only twenty minutes after school ended, at 2:36 PM. After a few side trips, they allegedly buried Hae’s body less than six hours later, around 7:00 PM. While the first trial could not come to a conclusion, after a second trial Adnan was convicted of first degree murder.

People who follow the case (as well as those on the jury) have wildly differing opinions on Adnan's guilt. This is expected in any case with many contradictory pieces of evidence, where none of them are clearly conclusive. When we try to analyze many, often contradictory, pieces of evidence with differing levels of reliability, human conclusions often prove incredibly inaccurate. This is exactly the kind of case where probabilistic inference can reach a far more accurate conclusion than a court or public debate.

Several alternative suspects have been suggested including Hae’s new boyfriend (Don), an unnamed drug dealer, as well as serial rapists or killers, most notably Roy Davis. Davis was convicted of raping and murdering another student from Woodlawn, but that case was still unsolved at the time of Hae’s murder, so Davis was not investigated regarding Hae’s murder.

Rootclaim's main finding is that Adnan is most likely not guilty (definitely not "beyond reasonable doubt" as required to put him behind bars), and that someone else is responsible. Of the specific suspects, Roy Davis is the most likely, although he still accounts for only 29%.

As always, this conclusion is based on a mathematical integration of many pieces of evidence and inputs, but can be simplistically explained as follows:

  1. As a starting point, female victims are about 16% likely to be murdered by an ex-boyfriend, and 12% by a stranger (of whom Davis is just one of millions).

  2. Jay's eyewitness testimony corroborated by Jenn dramatically increases the likelihood of Adnan’s guilt. While such testimonies do occur when the suspect is innocent (false informant testimony in 17% of DNA exonerations), they are, of course, much more likely when the suspect is indeed guilty. However, the many contradictions and the way the testimonies of Jay and Jenn correlate with the police's misconceptions (along with the rest of the evidence) imply that these testimonies were a result of police pressure. Together with the lack of any physical evidence against Adnan, and the pieces of evidence that support the other hypotheses, the effect of the testimony mostly cancels out. This leaves the likelihood of the hypotheses that Adnan is the killer at approximately 15%, which is about the standard likelihood of an ex-boyfriend with no testimony given against him to be the murderer.

  3. The analysis of Roy Davis is very interesting, involving several calculations. While he is initially just one of millions, rare coincidences need to be explained if he's not involved. Namely: he lives along the victim’s planned route when she disappeared, and he previously murdered an 18 year old girl in a similar pattern (daytime abduction, strangulation, and leaving the body in a park). By carefully assessing the probability of each such coincidence, the Bayesian calculation can estimate whether together they are strong enough to overcome that very low “starting point”. The main factors taken into account are:

    1. Davis is 1 of 60,000 strangers in Hae’s vicinity (based on demographics of Hae’s neighborhood).

    2. Being a past murderer implies that Davis is 600 times more likely to be Hae’s killer (based on local crime statistics).

    3. Living on the victims planned route - 6 times more likely (based on how much of the population of Woodlawn lived on Hae’s usual route).

    4. Similar previous murder pattern - 24 times more likely (based on the similarities and differences between the murder of Hae and Davis’ past victim).

    Overall the combined effect of all the coincidences is 86,000:1, which is higher than the initial 1:60,000, making Davis a very likely suspect among “strangers”. While strangers initially account for only 12%, the lack of evidence against any other specific suspect increases this likelihood dramatically, reaching a final conclusion of 29% that Davis is the killer.

  4. The option that Don, Hae’s new boyfriend, was the killer was found to be highly unlikely. While there is place to doubt the validity of Don’s alibi, the evidence that suggests that Don’s alibi was false is not strong enough to incriminate him. Additionally, Don and Hae’s relationship was new, and there was no reported friction between them - both unlikely if Don was the murderer.

  5. It is worth considering whether Jay himself was the murderer, but with no evidence other than his testimony, this is not enough to overcome the weak relationship that he had with with Hae and the apparent lack of motive.

  6. The prosecutor’s case, that Adnan killed Hae around 2:30 PM and buried her at 7:00 PM, is easy to exclude even without a probabilistic analysis - a medical examination of her body shows that after death she was left in the same position for at least 6-8 hours without being moved. Amazingly, this is the version that the jury used to convict Adnan “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

  7. Since it is unlikely to have been Jay, Don, or Adnan, and only moderately likely that Roy Davis was the murderer, the most likely conclusion is that it was someone else.

Key Evidenceinfo icon

Contributioninfo icon

1
Scenario A:
Yes, Don was working that day.
Scenario B:
No, Don was not working that day, but documents were falsified to make it seem as if he did.
LensCrafters
LensCrafters
www.flickr.com
Other murderer
5%
Davis
5%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
5%
Don
8%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
5%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
5%
Jay
5%
Shamim
61%
Other murderer
5%
Davis
5%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
5%
Don
8%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
5%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
5%
Jay
5%
Shamim
61%
2

Hae was killed by strangulation.

Sources: Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, State of Maryland
Other murderer
4.6%
Davis
56%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
6%
Don
6%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
6%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
6%
Jay
6%
Shamim
9%
Other murderer
4.6%
Davis
56%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
6%
Don
6%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
6%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
6%
Jay
6%
Shamim
9%
3

Hae's planned route took her by Roy Sharonnie Davis's house.

Sources: Business Insider
Other murderer
7%
Davis
48%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
7%
Don
7%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
7%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
7%
Jay
7%
Shamim
7%
Other murderer
7%
Davis
48%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
7%
Don
7%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
7%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
7%
Jay
7%
Shamim
7%
4
On the evening of January 13, Jay was behaving oddly ("crazy" and "shady"). 
Sources: Kristi, a friend of Jay
Other murderer
7%
Davis
7%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
15%
Don
7%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
3.6%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
15%
Jay
14%
Shamim
33%
Other murderer
7%
Davis
7%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
15%
Don
7%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
3.6%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
15%
Jay
14%
Shamim
33%
5

Jenn
said that Jay told her that Adnan killed Hae and swore her to secrecy.

Sources: Serial
Other murderer
7%
Davis
7%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
22%
Don
7%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
7%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
22%
Jay
2.9%
Shamim
24%
Other murderer
7%
Davis
7%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
22%
Don
7%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
7%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
22%
Jay
2.9%
Shamim
24%
Combined contribution of 49 remaining elements.
Other murderer
0.1%
Davis
0.05%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
0.005%
Don
0.06%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
0.005%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
0.0002%
Jay
0.01%
Shamim
99.6%

Analysis

Evidenceinfo icon

Starting Point (1 item)

Evidence provided by Jay Wilds (5 items)

Jay led police to Hae's car six weeks after Hae's disappearance.

Sources: Sarah Koenig, producer of Serial
Hae Min Lee's car
Hae Min Lee's car
www.splitthemoon.com
Other murderer
6%
Davis
6%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
18%
Don
6%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
6%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
17%
Jay
20%
Shamim
22%
Other murderer
6%
Davis
6%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
18%
Don
6%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
6%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
17%
Jay
20%
Shamim
22%

Jay told the police that Adnan admitted to killing Hae and showed him Hae's body in the trunk of her car.

Sources: Baltimore Police Department
Other murderer
12%
Davis
12%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
13%
Don
12%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
12%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
12%
Jay
13%
Shamim
16%
Other murderer
12%
Davis
12%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
13%
Don
12%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
12%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
12%
Jay
13%
Shamim
16%

Jay told the police that Adnan was wearing red gloves while burying Hae and driving her car.

Sources: Baltimore Police Department
Other murderer
11%
Davis
11%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
13%
Don
11%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
11%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
13%
Jay
13%
Shamim
16%
Other murderer
11%
Davis
11%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
13%
Don
11%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
11%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
13%
Jay
13%
Shamim
16%

Jay told police that before Hae's murder, Adnan told him that he would kill her (but it wasn't clear whether Adnan meant it or not).

Sources: Baltimore Police Department
Other murderer
9%
Davis
9%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
17%
Don
9%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
13%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
17%
Jay
13%
Shamim
13%
Other murderer
9%
Davis
9%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
17%
Don
9%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
13%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
17%
Jay
13%
Shamim
13%

Jay told the police that he helped Adnan get rid of Hae's car and bury Hae's body.

Sources: Baltimore Police Department
Other murderer
12%
Davis
12%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
13%
Don
12%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
12%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
12%
Jay
13%
Shamim
16%
Other murderer
12%
Davis
12%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
13%
Don
12%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
12%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
12%
Jay
13%
Shamim
16%

Reliability of Jay's testimony (5 items)

Jay changed key parts of his story a few times (adjusting times and locations, saying that Adnan showed him Hae's body in a variety of locations including in the Best Buy parking lot, at a friend's house, and near his grandmother's house, and eventually saying that he was actually paid to help Adnan bury Hae).

Sources: Brief of Apellant
Other murderer
13%
Davis
13%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
10%
Don
13%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
13%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
10%
Jay
13%
Shamim
16%
Other murderer
13%
Davis
13%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
10%
Don
13%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
13%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
10%
Jay
13%
Shamim
16%
Jay changed non-key parts of his story (for example, where he went after dropping Adnan off at track practice) to match the information available at the time of each interview or court testimony.
Sources: Susan Simpson, co-host of Undisclosed
Other murderer
11%
Davis
11%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
13%
Don
11%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
11%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
13%
Jay
13%
Shamim
16%
Other murderer
11%
Davis
11%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
13%
Don
11%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
11%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
13%
Jay
13%
Shamim
16%

During Jay's interviews with the police, there are several occurrences in which Jay either pauses or loses focus. After an audible tapping noise, he regains his focus and apologizes and/or remembers specific details (such as street names that appear on police maps). 

Sources: Undisclosed
Baltimore Police Department
Baltimore Police Department
twitter.com
Other murderer
13%
Davis
13%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
11%
Don
13%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
13%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
11%
Jay
7%
Shamim
18%
Other murderer
13%
Davis
13%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
11%
Don
13%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
13%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
11%
Jay
7%
Shamim
18%

Jay described a conversation he had with Adnan while sitting next to him at a time that he and Adnan were supposedly driving in separate cars.

Sources: Undisclosed
Other murderer
15%
Davis
15%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
10%
Don
15%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
15%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
10%
Jay
8%
Shamim
12%
Other murderer
15%
Davis
15%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
10%
Don
15%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
15%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
10%
Jay
8%
Shamim
12%

Fifteen years after Adnan's conviction, Jay maintained his basic story that he helped bury Hae after Adnan killed her (although he said that he had changed some details in his testimony because he was reluctant to be honest with the police).

Sources: The Intercept
Jay Wilds, fifteen years later
Jay Wilds, fifteen years later
thespeaker.co
Other murderer
10%
Davis
10%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
15%
Don
10%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
10%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
14%
Jay
15%
Shamim
16%
Other murderer
10%
Davis
10%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
15%
Don
10%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
10%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
14%
Jay
15%
Shamim
16%

Forensic evidence (10 items)

Hae's body exhibited frontal

lividity
(primarily in the chest and face).

Sources: Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, State of Maryland
Testimony regarding lividity
Testimony regarding lividity
lawprofessors.typepad.com
Other murderer
26%
Davis
16%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
10%
Don
19%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
10%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
1.8%
Jay
8%
Shamim
9%
Other murderer
26%
Davis
16%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
10%
Don
19%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
10%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
1.8%
Jay
8%
Shamim
9%

Hae's body tested negative for sperm and no sexual injuries were reported; her acid phosphate level was 136 U/L vaginally and 107 orally.

Sources: Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, State of Maryland
Other murderer
8%
Davis
3.8%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
17%
Don
8%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
17%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
14%
Jay
15%
Shamim
19%
Other murderer
8%
Davis
3.8%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
17%
Don
8%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
17%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
14%
Jay
15%
Shamim
19%

Hae was killed by strangulation.

Sources: Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, State of Maryland
Other murderer
4.6%
Davis
56%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
6%
Don
6%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
6%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
6%
Jay
6%
Shamim
9%
Other murderer
4.6%
Davis
56%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
6%
Don
6%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
6%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
6%
Jay
6%
Shamim
9%
Since the murder, no one has admitted to the crime (including Roy Davis, when he was arrested for other crimes). Except for Jay's testimony and a few other pieces of evidence (which are specifically addressed elsewhere in this analysis), evidence or eyewitness testimony that clearly points to any suspect has not been discovered.
Other murderer
14%
Davis
13%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
11%
Don
14%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
10%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
10%
Jay
12%
Shamim
14%
Other murderer
14%
Davis
13%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
11%
Don
14%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
10%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
10%
Jay
12%
Shamim
14%

Adnan's prints were found on a card in the glove compartment and on paper from the back seat of Hae's car, and his palm print was found on a map from the car (but nowhere else).

Sources: Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
Other murderer
13%
Davis
13%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
12%
Don
13%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
12%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
12%
Jay
13%
Shamim
12%
Other murderer
13%
Davis
13%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
12%
Don
13%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
12%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
12%
Jay
13%
Shamim
12%

Approximately twenty sets of prints from Hae's car, including some fingerprints on the rear-view mirror, were not matched.

Sources: Undisclosed
Other murderer
12%
Davis
11%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
13%
Don
13%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
13%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
13%
Jay
13%
Shamim
13%
Other murderer
12%
Davis
11%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
13%
Don
13%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
13%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
13%
Jay
13%
Shamim
13%

Photos of Hae's car when it was first reported discovered by police indicate that (some) grass underneath it was still green.

Other murderer
11%
Davis
11%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
13%
Don
11%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
11%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
13%
Jay
13%
Shamim
16%
Other murderer
11%
Davis
11%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
13%
Don
11%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
11%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
13%
Jay
13%
Shamim
16%
Hae was partially buried in a shallow grave.
Sources: Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, State of Maryland
Other murderer
10%
Davis
10%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
12%
Don
15%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
15%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
12%
Jay
15%
Shamim
12%
Other murderer
10%
Davis
10%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
12%
Don
15%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
15%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
12%
Jay
15%
Shamim
12%
The soil samples from Adnan's car and boots did not match the soil samples from the burial site in Leakin Park.
Sources: Police Department Baltimore, Maryland
Shoes found at Adnan's home
Shoes found at Adnan's home
undisclosed.wikispaces.com
Other murderer
14%
Davis
14%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
10%
Don
14%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
10%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
10%
Jay
14%
Shamim
14%
Other murderer
14%
Davis
14%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
10%
Don
14%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
10%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
10%
Jay
14%
Shamim
14%
The hairs recovered from Hae's body (that did not belong to Hae) did not belong to Adnan.
Sources: Sal Bianca, Trace Analysis Unit
Other murderer
14%
Davis
14%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
9%
Don
14%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
9%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
9%
Jay
14%
Shamim
14%
Other murderer
14%
Davis
14%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
9%
Don
14%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
9%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
9%
Jay
14%
Shamim
14%

Adnan's actions and behavior (6 items)

On January 13, Adnan asked Hae for a ride to his car after school.

Sources: Krista Lynn, a friend of both Hae and Adnan
Other murderer
11%
Davis
11%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
17%
Don
11%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
17%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
12%
Jay
11%
Shamim
11%
Other murderer
11%
Davis
11%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
17%
Don
11%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
17%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
12%
Jay
11%
Shamim
11%

Adnan was hysterical the morning after Hae's body was found (he was crying and saying "I can't believe she's dead").

Sources: Margaret “Meg” Muse, a teacher at the high school
Other murderer
14%
Davis
14%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
11%
Don
14%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
11%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
11%
Jay
14%
Shamim
13%
Other murderer
14%
Davis
14%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
11%
Don
14%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
11%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
11%
Jay
14%
Shamim
13%
On the evening of January 13, Adnan went to his mosque.
Sources: Bilal, a youth organizer at the mosque
Other murderer
15%
Davis
15%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
10%
Don
15%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
10%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
9%
Jay
15%
Shamim
12%
Other murderer
15%
Davis
15%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
10%
Don
15%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
10%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
9%
Jay
15%
Shamim
12%
Adnan showed Hae's body to a third party,
Mr. E
.
Sources: Dave and his daughter Laura, Mr. E's neighbors
Other murderer
12%
Davis
12%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
13%
Don
12%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
12%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
13%
Jay
12%
Shamim
12%
Other murderer
12%
Davis
12%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
13%
Don
12%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
12%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
13%
Jay
12%
Shamim
12%
Adnan has maintained his claim of innocence for 17 years after Hae's murder.
Sources: Rabia Chaudry, Adnan's family friend and co-host of Undisclosed
Adnan Syed, February 5, 2016
Adnan Syed, February 5, 2016
www.nbcnews.com
Other murderer
18%
Davis
18%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
4.6%
Don
18%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
4.6%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
4.6%
Jay
18%
Shamim
14%
Other murderer
18%
Davis
18%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
4.6%
Don
18%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
4.6%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
4.6%
Jay
18%
Shamim
14%

In a letter he wrote from prison to

Sarah Koenig
, Adnan mentions making a cell phone call at a time in which he didn't have one.

Other murderer
12%
Davis
12%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
13%
Don
12%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
13%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
13%
Jay
12%
Shamim
13%
Other murderer
12%
Davis
12%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
13%
Don
12%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
13%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
13%
Jay
12%
Shamim
13%

Relationship evidence (6 items)

Hae disappeared within the first few weeks of her relationship with Don. There was no reported friction between Hae and Don during these weeks.

Sources: Serial
Other murderer
10%
Davis
10%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
20%
Don
1.7%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
20%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
20%
Jay
10%
Shamim
10%
Other murderer
10%
Davis
10%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
20%
Don
1.7%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
20%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
20%
Jay
10%
Shamim
10%

There was no reported friction between Jay and Hae in the weeks leading up to Hae's disappearance.

Other murderer
13%
Davis
13%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
13%
Don
13%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
13%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
13%
Jay
7%
Shamim
13%
Other murderer
13%
Davis
13%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
13%
Don
13%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
13%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
13%
Jay
7%
Shamim
13%
Almost everyone interviewed said that Adnan was sad about the breakup but was not overly obsessed.
Sources: Serial
Hae and Adnan with their friends
Hae and Adnan with their friends
www.today.com
Other murderer
14%
Davis
14%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
10%
Don
14%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
10%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
10%
Jay
14%
Shamim
14%
Other murderer
14%
Davis
14%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
10%
Don
14%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
10%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
10%
Jay
14%
Shamim
14%

Adnan wrote "I'm going to kill" on the top of a note that he exchanged with a friend in class.

Sources: Serial
The words "I'm going to kill" are written at the top of the note
The words "I'm going to kill" are written at the top of the note
undisclosed-podcast.com
Other murderer
13%
Davis
13%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
12%
Don
13%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
12%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
12%
Jay
13%
Shamim
13%
Other murderer
13%
Davis
13%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
12%
Don
13%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
12%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
12%
Jay
13%
Shamim
13%
Adnan said that Hae was planning to confront Jay (about cheating on
Stephanie
) the next time she saw him.
Sources: EvidenceProf Blog
Other murderer
12%
Davis
12%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
11%
Don
12%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
11%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
10%
Jay
17%
Shamim
13%
Other murderer
12%
Davis
12%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
11%
Don
12%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
11%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
10%
Jay
17%
Shamim
13%
Scenario A:
Yes.
Scenario B:
No.
Other murderer
14%
Davis
14%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
10%
Don
14%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
10%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
10%
Jay
14%
Shamim
14%
Other murderer
14%
Davis
14%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
10%
Don
14%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
10%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
10%
Jay
14%
Shamim
14%

Location-based evidence (7 items)

Adnan was seen (without Hae) on campus (in the library) at approximately 2:30 PM.

Sources: Asia McClain, a student at the high school
Woodlawn Branch Library
Woodlawn Branch Library
www.asiamcclain.com
Other murderer
16%
Davis
16%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
8%
Don
16%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
8%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
6%
Jay
14%
Shamim
16%
Other murderer
16%
Davis
16%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
8%
Don
16%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
8%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
6%
Jay
14%
Shamim
16%

Did a friend talk to Hae around 2:45 regarding a wrestling match that was on January 13?

Scenario A:

Yes.

Scenario B:

No.

Woodlawn High School
Woodlawn High School
www.huffingtonpost.com
Other murderer
14%
Davis
14%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
13%
Don
14%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
13%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
7%
Jay
12%
Shamim
14%
Other murderer
14%
Davis
14%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
13%
Don
14%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
13%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
7%
Jay
12%
Shamim
14%

Adnan's cell phone was picked up by a cell tower near Leakin Park around 7:15 PM on January 13.

Sources: AT&T
Cell coverage from tower L689
Cell coverage from tower L689
viewfromll2.com
Other murderer
12%
Davis
12%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
12%
Don
12%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
12%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
15%
Jay
12%
Shamim
12%
Other murderer
12%
Davis
12%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
12%
Don
12%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
12%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
15%
Jay
12%
Shamim
12%
Scenario A:
Yes, Don was working that day.
Scenario B:
No, Don was not working that day, but documents were falsified to make it seem as if he did.
LensCrafters
LensCrafters
www.flickr.com
Other murderer
5%
Davis
5%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
5%
Don
8%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
5%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
5%
Jay
5%
Shamim
61%
Other murderer
5%
Davis
5%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
5%
Don
8%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
5%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
5%
Jay
5%
Shamim
61%

In an NCIC offline search for inquiries on the license plate of Hae's car, six inquiries were discovered (two on January 14, one on January 15, one on January 29, and two on February 4).

Sources: Maryland State Police
NCIC offline search results for queries on the license plate of Hae's car
NCIC offline search results for queries on the license plate of Hae's car
undisclosed-podcast.com
Other murderer
13%
Davis
13%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
13%
Don
13%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
13%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
13%
Jay
13%
Shamim
13%
Other murderer
13%
Davis
13%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
13%
Don
13%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
13%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
13%
Jay
13%
Shamim
13%
Hae's CheckCard showed a charge at the Crown Gas Station (about 10 miles north-east from Woodlawn High School) the day she disappeared.
Sources: NationsBank
Hae's CheckCard records
Hae's CheckCard records
viewfromll2.com
Other murderer
12%
Davis
14%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
12%
Don
12%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
12%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
12%
Jay
12%
Shamim
12%
Other murderer
12%
Davis
14%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
12%
Don
12%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
12%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
12%
Jay
12%
Shamim
12%

Adnan attended track practice, which took place from approximately 4:00 PM to 5:30-6:00 PM, on January 13, and he was not noticed to be late. 

Other murderer
16%
Davis
16%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
7%
Don
16%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
9%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
4.7%
Jay
16%
Shamim
16%
Other murderer
16%
Davis
16%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
7%
Don
16%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
9%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
4.7%
Jay
16%
Shamim
16%

Phone evidence (4 items)

Adnan's cell phone log shows a short (5 seconds) incoming call at 2:36 PM. There are longer incoming calls recorded around 3:15 (20 seconds), 4:30 (3 minutes), 5:00 (20 seconds), and 5:15 (2 minutes).

Sources: Serial
Adnan's cell phone record
Adnan's cell phone record
www.splitthemoon.com
Other murderer
13%
Davis
13%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
19%
Don
13%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
15%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
2.1%
Jay
13%
Shamim
13%
Other murderer
13%
Davis
13%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
19%
Don
13%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
15%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
2.1%
Jay
13%
Shamim
13%
Neither Adnan nor Don try to contact Hae after hearing from the police that she was missing.
Sources: Serial
Other murderer
8%
Davis
8%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
15%
Don
17%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
15%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
15%
Jay
8%
Shamim
15%
Other murderer
8%
Davis
8%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
15%
Don
17%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
15%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
15%
Jay
8%
Shamim
15%
Scenario A:
Nisha talked to both Adnan and Jay during that phone call.
Scenario B:
Nisha talked only to Jay during that phone call.
Scenario C:
Nisha didn't talk to either of them; Jay called her by mistake.
Scenario D:
Nisha didn't talk to either of them; there was no call.
Other murderer
19%
Davis
19%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
13%
Don
19%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
6%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
10%
Jay
6%
Shamim
7%
Other murderer
19%
Davis
19%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
13%
Don
19%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
6%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
10%
Jay
6%
Shamim
7%
Scenario A:
Jay, who was involved in the murder/burial.
Scenario B:
Jay, who was not involved in the murder/burial.
Scenario C:
Someone else (not Jay), who was involved in the murder/burial..
Scenario D:

Someone else (not Jay), who was not involved in the murder/burial.

Other murderer
13%
Davis
13%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
12%
Don
13%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
13%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
12%
Jay
12%
Shamim
12%
Other murderer
13%
Davis
13%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
12%
Don
13%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
13%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
12%
Jay
12%
Shamim
12%

Jenn's testimony (3 items)

Jenn
said that Jay told her that Adnan killed Hae and swore her to secrecy.

Sources: Serial
Other murderer
7%
Davis
7%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
22%
Don
7%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
7%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
22%
Jay
2.9%
Shamim
24%
Other murderer
7%
Davis
7%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
22%
Don
7%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
7%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
22%
Jay
2.9%
Shamim
24%

Jenn
said she dropped off Jay where he could retrieve the shovels and wipe the handles clean in case of fingerprints.

Sources: Serial
Other murderer
Davis
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
Don
Adnan alone (late night burial)
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
Jay
Shamim
Other murderer
Davis
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
Don
Adnan alone (late night burial)
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
Jay
Shamim
Jenn
's testimony contradicted Jay's version of events (in
Jenn
's version, she arrived home before Jay, he got a call from Adnan while at her house, and he told her that he had not buried the body).
Other murderer
13%
Davis
13%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
9%
Don
13%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
13%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
9%
Jay
12%
Shamim
17%
Other murderer
13%
Davis
13%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
9%
Don
13%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
13%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
9%
Jay
12%
Shamim
17%

Kristi's testimony (3 items)

On the evening of January 13, Adnan and Jay went to the apartment of a friend of Jay's to hang out and watch TV.

Sources: Kristi, a friend of Jay
Other murderer
14%
Davis
14%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
10%
Don
14%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
8%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
10%
Jay
8%
Shamim
21%
Other murderer
14%
Davis
14%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
10%
Don
14%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
8%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
10%
Jay
8%
Shamim
21%

On the evening of January 13, Adnan was behaving oddly ("crazy" and "shady"). After Adnan was officially informed by the police of Hae's disappearance, he expressed concern about what he should say or do if and when the police would come to talk to him.

Sources: Kristi, a friend of Jay
Other murderer
13%
Davis
13%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
12%
Don
13%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
9%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
12%
Jay
7%
Shamim
20%
Other murderer
13%
Davis
13%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
12%
Don
13%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
9%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
12%
Jay
7%
Shamim
20%
On the evening of January 13, Jay was behaving oddly ("crazy" and "shady"). 
Sources: Kristi, a friend of Jay
Other murderer
7%
Davis
7%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
15%
Don
7%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
3.6%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
15%
Jay
14%
Shamim
33%
Other murderer
7%
Davis
7%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
15%
Don
7%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
3.6%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
15%
Jay
14%
Shamim
33%

Roy Sharonnie Davis (2 items)

Hae's planned route took her by Roy Sharonnie Davis's house.

Sources: Business Insider
Other murderer
7%
Davis
48%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
7%
Don
7%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
7%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
7%
Jay
7%
Shamim
7%
Other murderer
7%
Davis
48%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
7%
Don
7%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
7%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
7%
Jay
7%
Shamim
7%

Less than a year before Hae's murder, another Woodlawn student,

Jada Lambert
, was abducted during the day, raped, killed, and left in a park. Davis was convicted of the rape and murder after DNA linked him to the attack.

Sources: Business Insider
Other murderer
12%
Davis
14%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
12%
Don
12%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
12%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
12%
Jay
12%
Shamim
12%
Other murderer
12%
Davis
14%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
12%
Don
12%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
12%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
12%
Jay
12%
Shamim
12%

Legalities (2 items)

Adnan's appeal (in 2000) dealt with technical matters without addressing his innocence.

Sources: Appeal from the circuit court of Baltimore City
Other murderer
11%
Davis
11%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
14%
Don
11%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
14%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
14%
Jay
11%
Shamim
13%
Other murderer
11%
Davis
11%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
14%
Don
11%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
14%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
14%
Jay
11%
Shamim
13%

Adnan's defense team did not ask for DNA testing of Hae's body (for the 2016 retrial).

Other murderer
7%
Davis
7%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
18%
Don
7%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
18%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
18%
Jay
7%
Shamim
18%
Other murderer
7%
Davis
7%
Adnan with Jay (late night burial)
18%
Don
7%
Adnan alone (late night burial)
18%
Adnan with Jay (7 PM burial)
18%
Jay
7%
Shamim
18%

Storyline Assumptionsinfo icon

Assumptions that derive from the evidence above are presented and evaluated here for each hypothesis.
Storyline assumptions:
Likelihood given hypothesis
(including preceding assumptions)

Discussioninfo icon

userIcon
user icon
Not Adnan Syed
Mar 7, 2022 at 4:04 PM
Ronald Lee Moore (a convicted murderer who was in the area) killed Hae Min Lee.
user icon
Lupus5651
Oct 19, 2019 at 2:05 AM
Someone known to Hae's family, or part of Hae's family killed her..every episode of every show mentions that Hae had trouble at home
user icon
Kayleeann.016
Apr 26, 2019 at 6:01 PM
DNA evidence did not match any known criminals in the database
user icon
hbanana24
Mar 21, 2019 at 10:44 PM
adnan was framed. Jay was apart of the murder
user icon
NewHypothesis
Mar 18, 2019 at 1:09 PM
Jay Wilds killed Hae because he was jealous of Adnan's relationship to Stephanie (or some other reason) and framed Adnan. He had Adnan's car and phone, and the person with him was not Adnan but an accomplice who looked like Adnan.