50 Join Levy Family at Anniversary Vigil

By Allan Lengel
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, May 5, 2002

Marilyn Woolls said she went to the vigil to pass on confidential information to Chandra Levy's parents. Karen Johnson, a former legislative aide, was there because "I have a niece, I have a granddaughter on the way and I just don't want these things to happen to them."

Woolls and Johnson were among about 50 supporters -- many holding candles and wearing "Where Is Chandra?" buttons -- who gathered on a pleasant, breezy evening along with Levy's parents, Robert and Susan, to mark the anniversary of the federal intern's disappearance.

"They sent their daughter here to enjoy life, to enjoy Washington and to return to California," said Levy attorney Billy Martin, standing next to the watery-eyed Levys in front of the building near Dupont Circle where Chandra rented a studio apartment. "Somebody out there knows where Chandra is and what happened to her."

Levy was last seen April 30, 2001. She was 24 and had just finished an internship at the U.S. Bureau of Prisons and was planning to move back to California, where she was to attend her graduate school commencement. That night, she canceled her membership at a gym near her apartment.

The next morning, she logged onto several Web sites, including one for the Klingle Mansion in Rock Creek Park. Those were the last actions of hers that authorities can document.

At first, her disappearance received little notice. But news of a close relationship between Levy and U.S. Rep. Gary A. Condit (D-Calif.) thrust the story into the media spotlight. On Sept. 11, the story vanished from the headlines.

Martin said the Levys hope that yesterday's events will renew interest in the disappearance, which police still classify as a missing-persons case.

As part of that effort, Robert and Susan Levy spent yesterday morning in New York on the morning talk shows, expressing grief, a tempered optimism about their daughter's well-being and continued suspicion about Condit, who authorities said was romantically involved with Chandra.

On NBC's "Today" show, Robert Levy, an oncologist, told co-host Matt Lauer that he believes his daughter may have met with Condit before she disappeared.

"We still believe that she went to meet him," he said.

A D.C. Superior Court grand jury is looking into the disappearance and allegations of obstruction of justice against Condit and others.

Condit has said he was not involved in Levy's disappearance. Neither his office nor his attorney returned phone calls yesterday seeking comment on the Levys' remarks and the vigil. The lawmaker went before the grand jury April 12, but what he said is not publicly known because the proceedings are secret. The grand jury also plans to call Condit's staff members and Levy's friends and acquaintances.

D.C. Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey, who is to meet with the Levys today, said yesterday that investigators still don't know what happened to Chandra. "It's going to take some kind of break, some kind of phone call. . . . We just need to keep plugging," he said.

Standing beside Martin at last night's vigil, the Levys delivered brief messages before a throng of cameras and reporters. The supporters, most of whom stood behind the media, held candles that had been extinguished by the evening breeze.

Susan Levy thanked everyone, read a passage from the Old Testament about redemption and delivered a painful message heard many times before.

"I would like to tell you that this has been so hard, so hard," she said.

Staff researcher Bobbye Pratt contributed to this report.

© 2002 The Washington Post Company