Chandra Levy's Remains Found in Park By Dog
Thursday, May 23, 2002
The skeletal remains of Chandra Ann Levy were found scattered on a steep, forested slope in Rock Creek Park yesterday, more than a year after her disappearance touched off an investigation that captivated the nation and ended the career of Rep. Gary A. Condit of California.
Drawn by the sniffing of his dog, a man on a morning outing in the Northwest Washington park swept away loose debris and uncovered a skull that the D.C. medical examiner's office identified late yesterday afternoon as Levy's, using dental records provided by her family months ago when the search for the former federal intern was at its peak.
D.C. Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey, standing in Broad Branch Road NW about 100 yards from from where the skull, other bones and personal items were found, said there was no indication how Levy, 24, died or whether her remains had been at the site since her death or moved there some time later.
"There certainly is more work to be done by the medical examiner," Ramsey said.
But the accidental discovery was a breakthrough in a missing-person case that stymied investigators, and occurred in a sector of Rock Creek Park that was searched by police last summer after Levy's computer files showed that she looked up the park's Klingle Mansion on the day she disappeared.
"It is news I had hoped I would never have to share with Dr. and Mrs. Levy," said Billy Martin, the attorney for Chandra's parents, Robert L. and Susan Levy, adding that the couple would not make a public statement immediately because Susan Levy is "in such a bad emotional state of mind that we need time for her to grieve."
The case has garnered interest well beyond the borders of the District because of the tie between the young woman and the congressman, a relationship that family, friends and police have described as romantic and that Condit has publicly called merely a close friendship.
Police have never said Condit is a suspect and have interviewed more than 100 people in connection with Levy's disappearance. Condit, 54, has been interviewed at least four times, and police have said that he told them he had an affair with Levy. They also searched his former apartment in Adams Morgan, and he has been subpoenaed to appear before a grand jury investigating Levy's disappearance.
His involvement in the case, particularly allegations that he was not forthcoming with authorities initially and might have obstructed justice in the probe, was the principal reason he lost his bid for reelection in a Democratic primary in March, after having represented the Modesto, Calif., area since 1989.
In a statement prepared by attorney Mark Geragos and faxed to the news media last night, Condit said he and his family "want to express their heartfelt sorrow and condolences to the Levy family. The Levy family will remain in our prayers."
The site where the remains were found, an area of heavy foliage bounded by Broad Branch, Grant and Ridge roads west of Rock Creek, will become what a law enforcement source called "an archaeological dig" in the next several days as investigators probe "layer by layer" for evidence of how Levy died and who, if anyone, might be involved. The police department borrowed lights from the National Guard to continue working at night.
Detectives believe the body was not in any kind of grave, but was simply left on the forest floor, where dirt and leaves eventually covered it, said law enforcement sources who spoke on condition that they not be identified. Police found "less of the body than more," they said, possibly because of animals.