Lack of Answers Frustrates Family of Missing Woman

By Arthur Santana
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, May 16, 2001

The parents of a missing woman who recently completed an internship in Washington flew from California yesterday to learn more about her disappearance, a trip borne of frustration with the information they have received from D.C. police, a family spokeswoman said.

"They are fuming at the lack of cooperation, and they want some answers," Jennifer Baker said of Chandra Ann Levy's parents, Susan and Robert Levy. "They have no idea what's going on with the investigation."

Executive Assistant Police Chief Terrance W. Gainer attributed any lack of communication to the fact that police have reached no conclusions in the case. Although Levy, 24, disappeared more than two weeks ago, police "have no information yet that's very helpful to us," he said. He also declined to say whether foul play is suspected. "We're keeping an open mind," he said.

Gainer added that he's not surprised that her family and friends are frustrated with police. "They're looking for answers, and we don't have them yet," he said.

The Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department, near Levy's home town of Modesto, was asked by the family to act as a go-between to try to obtain more information from D.C. police, but its efforts were rebuffed, a department spokesman said yesterday.

Detective Mario Cisneros arrived in Washington on Friday, the spokesman, Kelly Huston, said. On Monday, D.C. police requested information the department had gathered, but officers told the California department to cease further investigation and advised Cisneros to go home, Huston said.

"There was really not much explanation to it," Huston said. "It's a little odd in that we obviously have access to people out here that knew her. . . . It was surprising that they said they didn't need our help."

Gainer disputed the claim by the sheriff's office that D.C. police had told it to stop investigating. "We would not have the authority to tell them what to do," he said. However, he added, "At this moment, we didn't need their assistance. . . . They don't have law enforcement authority in the District of Columbia."

Chandra Levy hasn't been seen since April 30, when she canceled her membership at the Washington Sports Club, several blocks from her apartment on the western fringe of downtown, as she prepared to move back to California, D.C. police said.

Levy was to return to Modesto on May 9 before attending her graduate school commencement ceremony at the University of Southern California last Friday in Los Angeles, police said. She had worked in Washington as an intern at the Federal Bureau of Prisons and was completing her graduate work in public administration.

Sgt. Joe Gentile, a D.C. police spokesman, said yesterday that police still considered Levy's disappearance a missing persons case and that there was no evidence to suggest that a crime had been committed. "We're not ruling anything out," Gentile said.

When police searched Levy's apartment May 10 in the 1200 block of 21st Street NW, where she lived alone, they found no signs of a struggle, they said. However, personal items such as credit cards, her driver's license and packed luggage were found.

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