Author Topic: Chandra's Ghost  (Read 21789 times)

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Offline nacho

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Chandra's Ghost
« on: May 01, 2006, 11:21:46 AM »
Back before The Thing landed and took us all over on 9/11, DC loved a good murder mystery. It never failed that the city would become embroiled in some weird death, a real front pager that kept us all hungry for more.  Little breaks here and there and a staring skull coming at us from behind police tape.  Dead women kept us going... And the last of these great cases before our world changed was Chandra Levy.  In fact, her case simply vanished in the flames of the Pentagon.  Chandra Levy went from a household name to a forgotten footnote overnight.

RC wrote quite a bit about Levy back in our virgin days.  Today, she returns to the front page of an increasingly bored Washington Post:

Quote
After 5 Years, Levy Case Yields Plenty of Theories but No Break

By Allan Lengel and Petula Dvorak
Washington Post Staff Writers
Monday, May 1, 2006; B01



Five years after the killing of Chandra Levy, authorities have come up with plenty of theories but no results in solving one of Washington's most-publicized cases.

The FBI and D.C. police say they still are pushing to turn up a break that will lead to the killer of the 24-year-old federal intern. Levy's family, meanwhile, tried to rejuvenate the probe recently by launching a Web site, http://www. http://whokilledchandra.com .

Longtime FBI agent Brad Garrett, who has solved other high-profile crimes, said he has done a lot of legwork in the past year. He has scoured phone records and court cases, gone to prisons to investigate or interview inmates and even put people under surveillance. He also has spent time at Rock Creek Park, where Levy's skeletal remains were found more than a year after she disappeared.

Garrett said he has gone himself or enlisted the aid of other FBI agents to follow leads in four states. He said he has particular interest in a handful of people, including some who knew Levy and strangers who have criminal records. He's not naming names, and he's not saying much about where he thinks the case is headed.

"Do I lean toward a stranger or somebody who knew her?" he asks. "I do, but I'm not going to voice that opinion. But having said that, I don't have a strong leaning. New information can either change or adjust what you're doing."

The case has taken many turns since May 1, 2001, when Levy left her apartment in the Dupont Circle area of Northwest Washington for the last time. It was about 1 p.m. that day that she used her home computer to look up Klingle Mansion, the National Park Service's headquarters in Rock Creek Park.

Her disappearance set off a maelstrom of speculation that endures today, fueled initially by revelations that she was having an affair with her hometown congressman, Gary A. Condit (D-Calif.). Police have said repeatedly that Condit is not a suspect. Condit, who later lost a bid for reelection, has said he knows nothing about Levy's death.

"This case boils down to a couple of things," said Garrett, who will retire in August and hand off the case unless he gets a break soon. "One is that someone spurned her either in taking her to the park, leaving her at the park or some version thereof. Or a stranger harmed her after she got to the park."

Garrett is working with D.C. police on the investigation. The department lists the slaying as one of about 6,000 "cold cases" dating as far back as the early 1980s. But one official said the probe is in the top 10 in terms of priority, and one detective is assigned to work on it full time.

"It's very important to us. . . . We want to figure out what happened just as much as anybody else," said Lt. Guy Middleton, who heads the cold case squad.

He said his unit follows up on tips, which trickle in at a rate of about two a month via phone, e-mail and letter. So far, all have proved fruitless, including one last year that seemed intriguing enough to send a detective to Wisconsin. A woman claimed her ex-husband was an assassin hired to kill Levy. There was nothing to the claim.

Authorities believe that Levy was killed in the park, several miles from her apartment, and possibly in a sexual assault. They said they remain interested in a man who is serving a 10-year prison sentence for attacking two joggers in Rock Creek Park shortly after Levy disappeared. But they have been looking into his activities for more than three years and have not developed evidence tying him to Levy's death.

The forensic evidence from Rock Creek Park, where Levy's body was discovered May 22, 2002, by a man who was searching for turtles, has not yielded anything of significance. Because Levy's remains were in such a punishing environment for so long -- humidity, wind, rain and snow alternately cleansed and contaminated the crime scene for a year -- some officials believe that only a tipster will lead them to the killer.

"It's going to take a break," said D.C. Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey. "But I'm optimistic it's going to be solved."

Levy vanished shortly after completing an internship with the U.S. Bureau of Prisons in Washington and just before she planned to move back to her hometown of Modesto. Authorities interviewed Condit four times in 2001, subpoenaed his bank, phone and credit card records, took a DNA sample and searched his condominium. Every step generated enormous media attention, locally and nationwide.

"They looked at him. They determined pretty early on that he likely had nothing to do with it," Middleton recalled last week.

Now living in Arizona, Condit and his wife, Carolyn, are trying to find a new life away from politics. But the family still faces fallout from the Levy case. The couple's children, Cadee and Chad, were sued in January by the Fair Political Practices Commission, a California state political watchdog agency. The suit claims they took $226,000 from Condit's political action committee for a documentary examining news coverage of Condit during the Levy case but generated no discernable work.

Mark Geragos, a Los Angeles attorney representing the Condit family, said that the agency's lawsuit is unfounded and that the documentary eventually will be made public.

Meanwhile, Susan and Robert Levy, Chandra's parents, remain haunted by her death. Susan Levy said there are no plans for a vigil or a memorial to commemorate the anniversary. "I do it every day, all week," she said. "I think of her, remember her."

She suggested that everyone who has had a family member or friend slain make a public statement by placing purple ribbons on their clothes, their mailboxes or their cars. "It would make more people aware of crimes and how many victims are out there," she said.

The Levys hope someone will respond to their Web site.

"We want the right people to respond," Susan Levy said. "The people with some answers."

Staff researcher Don Pohlman contributed to this report.


Offline RottingCorpse

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Re: Chandra's Ghost
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2006, 03:01:22 PM »
Oh . . . don't get me started on Chandra. I may have chastised the shit out of the United 93 people for going ahead with that stroy with no historical perspective. However, I have a great "What happened to  Chandra Levy?" script in my head.

I can post the articles I wrote back in the day here in the forums if anyone is interested . . . or are they on plutoniumempire.com?

Offline nacho

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Re: Chandra's Ghost
« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2006, 03:03:42 PM »
I don't know if they are still online or not...  I'm far too busy drinking Cherry Coke and watching my phone ring to voicemail right now.

Offline RottingCorpse

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Re: Chandra's Ghost
« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2006, 03:10:39 PM »
Here we are folks, vintage Rotting Corpse!

I was in a huge Jack the Ripper phase and had just read From Hell for the first time right around when Chanrda disappreared. At the time, I was living in DC less than a mile from Rock Creek Park which was where Chandra disappeared.

I amped up the fear factor in my articles because, well, that's what I do.

* * *

A Nightmare in DC Part 1: Missing Interns and the Politicians Who Sleep With Them
http://www.plutoniumempire.com/section.php?sec=12&articleNum=96

A Nightmare in DC Part 2: Roll Call of the Vanished
http://www.plutoniumempire.com/section.php?sec=12&articleNum=98

A Nightmare in DC Part 3: Conspiracy Theories, or, Jack The Ripper Did It
http://www.plutoniumempire.com/section.php?sec=12&articleNum=99

A Nightmare in DC Revisited: The Return of the Chandra Levy Case
http://www.plutoniumempire.com/section.php?sec=12&articleNum=225
« Last Edit: June 28, 2006, 05:45:59 PM by RottingCorpse »

Offline RottingCorpse

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Re: Chandra's Ghost
« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2006, 05:50:11 PM »

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Re: Chandra's Ghost
« Reply #5 on: July 14, 2008, 01:33:56 PM »
So the Washington Post, in what can only be described as a fit of extreme boredom, has unearthed all the Chandra Levy shit with a retrospective anniversary special!

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/metro/specials/chandra/

http://whyihatedc.blogspot.com/2008/07/wa-po-recycles-white-girl-in-peril.html

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Re: Chandra's Ghost
« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2008, 01:39:32 AM »
Hey, I have shit to read this week.

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Re: Chandra's Ghost
« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2009, 08:27:43 PM »
http://www.cnn.com/2009/CRIME/02/21/chandra.levy/index.html



Quote
Washington police told the mother of slain congressional intern Chandra Levy that an arrest is imminent in her daughter's 2001 death, Susan Levy told CNN on Saturday.

...

A source close to the investigation told CNN the suspect was Ingmar Guandique, who is serving a 10-year prison sentence for two assaults in Washington's Rock Creek Park that occurred around the time of Levy's disappearance. Levy's remains were found in the park.

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Re: Chandra's Ghost
« Reply #8 on: February 22, 2009, 12:29:03 PM »
And she walks again!

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Re: Chandra's Ghost
« Reply #9 on: March 03, 2009, 03:45:53 PM »
http://www.cnn.com/2009/CRIME/03/03/chandra.levy.suspect/index.html



Quote
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A jailed laborer from El Salvador has been charged with first-degree murder in the 2001 slaying of federal intern Chandra Levy, authorities said Tuesday.

8=o tation

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Re: Chandra's Ghost
« Reply #10 on: March 03, 2009, 03:55:56 PM »
There was an article from three or four years ago talking about this guy. I wonder why it took this long for an arrest.

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Re: Chandra's Ghost
« Reply #11 on: March 03, 2009, 03:58:31 PM »
Here are some more details, RC.  This is still kind of shaky, in my opinion...

Quote
Key among the new evidence outlined in the police affidavit released today were statements from several unidentified witnesses who said that Guandique confessed to them that he brutally attacked, assaulted and killed Levy in the park.

One witness, interviewed late last year, said he had communicated with Guandique many times through letters and that Guandique wrote that he was "responsible for the murder of a young woman." In a taped telephone conversation with that witness, Guandique confirmed that he had told the witness about the "girl who was dead," the affidavit states.

Another witness told police last November that he had known Guandique for many years and that Guandique boasted that he was a member of the Salvadoran gang MS-13. He was allegedly known in the gang as "Chuckie" because he had a reputation for "killing and chopping up people," the witness said.

Guandique allegedly told the witness that he had attacked and raped many women after lying in wait on a dirt path in the park. He would grab the women, tie them up and sexually assault them, according to the witness.

During one of the conversations with that witness, Guandique allegedly said that he and two other men were in the park when they saw a female jogger who "looked Italian with thick, dark hair." One of the men jumped in front of her, and Guandique grabbed her around the neck and dragged her to a secluded area. Once in the woods, the men knocked the woman unconscious, tied her feet, assaulted her and killed her.

Police also said that during a recent search of Guandique's cell they found a photograph of Levy, apparently torn from a magazine.

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Re: Chandra's Ghost
« Reply #12 on: March 03, 2009, 04:01:17 PM »
His statement:

Quote
"I have nothing to do with the death of that girl. I am innocent, and I am not afraid of the police investigation," he said.

And more...

Quote
From the time of Guandique's arrest July 1, 2001, it took police 13 months to interview his ex-girlfriend, who told The Post that Guandique choked her and bit her around the time of Levy's disappearance. It took police 14 months to interview his landlord, who said Guandique looked as if he had been in a bad fight around the time Levy vanished. The landlord told police she had thrown out some of Guandique's belongings that summer. Police also later learned that Guandique did not show up for work the day that Levy disappeared.
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With no physical evidence linking Guandique to the crime and few promising leads left to follow, the case went cold.

Last fall, prosecutors began bringing people connected to the case before a grand jury in the District, and new detectives and a prosecutor assigned to the case interviewed witnesses and examined evidence, including sending some of Guandique's belongings for DNA testing, sources familiar with the case have said. In December, one of the women attacked by Guandique at knifepoint in 2001 was asked to return to the spot and reenact the incident for the detectives.

The Post investigation published last July found many missteps by the original investigators. Police failed to secure surveillance tapes from Levy's Dupont Circle apartment, and they had no idea when she left and whether she left alone or with someone. They then corrupted a search of her computer, making it difficult for them to figure out which Web sites she visited before she disappeared. Police did not learn for a month that she was looking for information about Rock Creek Park on the day she disappeared.

When police did start to search Rock Creek Park, in July 2001, they botched a search order. The search teams looked 100 yards off the roads in the park instead of 100 yards off the trails. They missed finding Levy's remains by 79 yards. It would be another year before a man walking his dog found them.

In an interview this week, former police chief Charles Ramsey said he had been surprised by some of the findings of the Post's investigation. "There were a couple of things, when I read the series, I said, 'Oh man,' " Ramsey said.

For example, Ramsey said, he had not known that his two original detectives on the Levy case never interviewed the two other women that Guandique had attacked.

"That's ridiculous. That's fundamental and basic," said Ramsey, who now is the police commissioner in Philadelphia. "There are a few things that I assumed had been done. People criticized us for micromanaging. In retrospect, we should have micromanaged more."

Ramsey said he also didn't know that the U.S. Park Police detective who arrested Guandique for the other attacks had shown him a photo of Levy, and that Guandique had told the detective he saw Levy in Rock Creek Park.

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Re: Chandra's Ghost
« Reply #13 on: March 03, 2009, 04:04:57 PM »
City Paper updates...

http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/citydesk/2009/03/03/guandique-arrested-in-chandra-case/


Quote
At 1:14 p.m., D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty held a press conference at D.C. Police Department headquarters to announce that an arrest warrant had been issued for illegal Salvadoran immigrant Ingmar Guandique in the May 2001 murder of congressional intern Chandra Levy. The announcement has been widely anticipated since Feb. 20, when news accounts reported a break in the case.

Those accounts may have helped seal the arrest. According to arrest documents filed in D.C. Superior Court, Guandique, who is now incarcerated for other attacks, “heard a recent news report on the radio, broadcasting that he would be arrested soon for the Chandra Levy murder. [A witness] said that Guandique became very anxious and said something to the effect of, ‘Fuck, it’s over. They got me now. What am I gonna do?’”

Guandique told the witness that when detectives came to arrest him, “he was going to escape by starting a fire with a battery and tissue to cause a distraction.”

The arrest stems from Guandique’s own jailhouse ramblings. The new evidence in the case comes mainly from other inmates and people who have heard Guandique talk about the Levy murder. D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier says that these witnesses have been thoroughly vetted.

Lanier was asked if the Washington Post’s multipart series in 2008 on the Levy case had anything to do with the arrest. She responded that it didn’t, calling the paper’s reporting old news. “The Post series revealed what was known at the time,” she said. The provenance of the Guandique arrest, said Lanier, dates back to spring 2007, when she reviewed several cold cases, including Shaquita Bell and Levy’s.

Lanier has made solving old homicides one of her priorities. Since the late ’60s, there are 3700 cold cases in the District yet to be solved, according to Capt. Michael Farish. In Spring of 2007, Lanier saw enough in the Levy file to assign new detectives to the case. She also met with the Levy family and assured them that if there was any break in the case, she would make sure the family wouldn’t have to first read about it a newspaper.

This morning, Lanier called the Levys and told them about the arrest warrant in their daughter’s case. She told reporters after the press conference that the call was an emotional one, that it was clear there wasn’t anything she could do for the family except bring a convict her daughter’s killer.

Lanier and Fenty made sure to thank the efforts of the new detectives and the prosecutors who worked the case. Lanier said the detectives chased leads and interviewed witnesses across the country.

But many of those witnesses turned out to be the kinds of witnesses found in a lot of homicide cases: prison informants and outside friends.

According to the court filing, a witness was interviewed in late 2008. This witness professed to having communicated with Guandique in 2003 via letters. During the course of their correspondence, “Guandique wrote that he spent time in a park in D.C. and that he was responsible for the murder of a young woman.” The witness later spoke with Guandique in a recorded telephone conversation; during the exchange, Guandique acknowledged that he had written to the witness about a dead woman.

In November 2008, a witness was interviewed in the investigation, stated he had known Guandique for several years; Guandique boasted to the witness that he was a member of MS-13 and that he had committed many robberies and that he had a nickname, “Chuckie” “because he had a reputation for killing and chopping up people.” He also confessed that he had committed many crimes against women, including rapes. “Guandique said that he would hide on a dirt path and wait for the girl to walk by. He would then lasso the girl around the neck and tie her hands and feet together behind her back to prevent her from scratching or kicking him. He claimed that he would tie the girl up with a rope…After the girl was tied up, he would rape her.”

A different witness gave an extensive account of what Guandique had said about the incident. According to this witness, Guandique had revealed that he and “two teenage males were sitting on a bench in a ‘big park’ that stretches from D.C., through Maryland, and Virginia, smoking marijuana laced with cocaine, when he saw Levy jogging in an area where people walk their dogs…When he saw Levy, she had curly hair, and he thought she ‘looked good.’ He told the other two males that he was going to ‘get her.’ According to Guandique, the three then followed Levy along a track where the ladies run. Guandique stated that they grabbed her and took her into the bushes. Guandique said that they ‘had her down,’ and the ‘bitch’ started screaming and fighting back. It was then, according to Guandique, that he grabbed her by the neck and choked her to death.”

U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Taylor, when asked if they were looking for the other males, said the investigation is ongoing.

Taylor stated during the press conference that it would take between 45 to 60 days to bring Guandique to the District for his arraignment on first-degree murder charges. He stressed that there wasn’t one thing that led to the Guandique’s arrest, that his arrest came about from the “cumulative weight of evidence.”

“We believe Ms. Levy was a random victim of Guandique,” Taylor said.

Taylor also defended law enforcement’s initial focus on Rep. Gary Condit. He said detectives were just following where the evidence led. After Levy’s body was discovered in May 2002, Taylor said, the case shifted.

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Re: Chandra's Ghost
« Reply #14 on: March 03, 2009, 04:12:13 PM »
And somwhere, Gary Condit mourns his political career.