| Chandra Levy |
|Born||Chandra Ann Levy|
Cleveland, Ohio, United States
|Died||2002-05-22 (Age 25)|
|Alma mater||San Francisco State University|
|Parents||Robert and Susan Levy|
Murdered Washington intern. Congressman Gary Condit was prime suspect, but case pinned on a Salvadorean immigrant who had the case dropped in a retrial. The case is still officially unsolved.
Chandra Levy was an intern at the Federal Bureau of Prisons in Washington, D.C., who disappeared in May 2001. She was presumed murdered after her skeletal remains were found in Rock Creek Park in May 2002. The case attracted attention from the American news media for several years.
Congressman Gary Condit, who represented California's 18th congressional district in the House of Representatives from 1989 to 2003, gained significant national attention for an extramarital affair with Levy. Condit personally had an an ironclad alibi at the time of her murder. The case was pinned on Ingmar Guandique, a Salvadorean immigrant, who was convicted of the killing in 2010, but granted a new trial. In 2016, prosecutors announced that they would not proceed with the case against Guandique and would, instead, seek to have him deported.
Due to a miscommunication, the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia (MPD) failed to follow its own search parameters in Rock Creek Park, leaving Levy's body to decompose for a year. Further, the MPD had been informed, but soon dismissed the information that Ingmar Guandique, already arrested for attacking women in Rock Creek Park, had confessed to attacking Levy. The MPD instead put much of its focus on the revelation that Levy had been having an affair with Congressman Gary Condit, a married Democrat then serving his fifth term representing California's 18th congressional district, and a senior member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Condit had an unassailable alibi (he was in meetings with the Vice President), was never named as a suspect by police, and was eventually cleared of any involvement in the disappearance. Due to the cloud of suspicion raised by the intense media focus on the missing intern and the later revelation of the affair, Condit lost his bid for re-election in 2002.
Following a series of investigative reports by The Washington Post in 2008, the MPD followed up and finally obtained a warrant, on March 3, 2009, to arrest Ingmar Guandique, identified and dismissed by the MPD eight years earlier. He had been convicted of assaulting two other women in Rock Creek Park around the time of Levy's disappearance and was still in prison on those convictions when the arrest warrant on Levy's death was issued. Prosecutors alleged that Guandique had attacked and tied up Levy in a remote area of the park and left her to die of dehydration or exposure. In November 2010, Guandique was convicted of murdering Levy; he was sentenced in February 2011 to 60 years in prison. In June 2015, however, Guandique was granted a new trial. On July 28, 2016, prosecutors announced that they would not proceed with the case against Guandique and would, instead, seek to have him deported. In episode 3 of Chandra Levy: An American Murder Mystery on the case, it is mentioned that in March 2017 Guandique lost his bid to remain in the United States and was deported to his native El Salvador on May 5, 2017. Levy's murder remains unsolved.
Relationship with Condit
Controversy surrounding Levy's disappearance drew the attention of the American news media. Condit, a married man who represented the congressional district in which the Levy family resided, at first denied that he had had an affair with her. Although police stated that Condit was not a suspect, Levy's family said they felt Condit was being evasive and possibly hiding information about the matter.
Unidentified police sources alleged that Condit had admitted to an affair with Levy during an interview with law enforcement officers on July 7, 2001. Condit described her to police as a vegetarian who avoided drinking and smoking. He thought that Levy was going to return to Washington, D.C. after her graduation and was surprised to find out that the lease on her apartment had ended. Investigators searched Condit's apartment on July 10. They questioned flight attendant Anne Marie Smith, who claimed that Condit told her she did not need to speak to the Federal Bureau of Investigation about his personal life. Federal officials began investigating Condit for possible obstruction of justice, as Smith was also involved in an affair with him. (She was not acquainted with Levy.) Upset by leaks to the media, Condit refused to submit to a polygraph test by the D.C. police; his attorney asserted that Condit passed a test administered by a privately hired examiner on July 13. He avoided answering direct questions during a televised interview on August 23, with news anchor Connie Chung on the ABC News program Primetime Thursday. Intensive coverage continued until news of the September 11 attacks superseded the media's coverage of the Levy case.
In a nationwide Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll of 900 registered voters conducted in July 2001, 44 percent of American respondents thought that Condit was involved in Levy's disappearance and 27 percent felt that he should resign. Fifty-one percent of the respondents believed that he was acting as if he were guilty; 13 percent felt that he should run again for office. A poll sample taken from Condit's congressional district held a more favorable view of Condit. On March 5, 2002, Condit lost the Democratic primary election for his Congressional seat, with the Levy controversy being cited as a contributing factor. He was subpoenaed to appear on April 1, 2002, before a District of Columbia grand jury investigating the disappearance. The date was kept a carefully guarded secret to avoid further leaks. Condit left Congress at the end of his term on January 3, 2003, after failing to win his re-election bid.