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The Story of Hae Min Lee and Adnan Syed, The Man Convicted of Her Murder


In 2014, a podcast by This American Life titled Serial began to follow the murder of high school senior Hae Min Lee, whose body was found on February 9, 1999 in Baltimore, MD. Lee’s ex-boyfriend, 17-year-old Adnan Masud Syed, was tried and convicted for her murder and was given a life sentence plus 30 years in prison. But according to Serial host Sarah Koenig, things just didn’t add up.

The podcast became hugely popular and brought nationwide attention to Syed’s case, resulting in a dramatic turn of events. So what really happened to Hae Min Lee and to her convicted killer, Adnan Syed? Read on to find out. 

1. The victim: Hae Min Lee

Hae Min Lee was an 18-year-old girl who lived in Baltimore, Maryland. She was originally from South Korea and immigrated to the U.S. when she was 12 with her mother and brother. Her friends described her as a funny, smart and beautiful girl who was always kind to everyone.

Elizabeth Malby / Baltimore Sun

Elizabeth Malby / Baltimore Sun

Lee went to Woodlawn High School under the magnet program and was known as an athlete. She played lacrosse and field hockey at the school and wanted to be an optician. She actually worked at LensCrafters and was planning on traveling to France shortly before she went missing.

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