Levy Probe Concentrates On Rock Creek Attacker
Sunday, September 29, 2002
Detectives in the Chandra Levy murder case are focusing on a man convicted of assaulting two women jogging in Rock Creek Park last year -- a suspect who was initially discounted after he passed a polygraph test that investigators now believe was flawed.
Ingmar A. Guandique, 21, has been in prison for the assaults on the joggers since July 2001, two months after Levy disappeared. After her remains were found in the park May 22, some investigators reexamining his case were struck by the similarities in the three crime scenes, law enforcement sources said.
Investigators then discovered that a Spanish-speaking interpreter instead of a bilingual polygraph technician was used in administering Guandique's polygraph, sources said. Relying on an interpreter, according to legal experts, can skew the results of the test because the questions are filtered through and possibly altered by the interpreter.
The clothes Guandique was wearing when he was arrested July 1, 2001, were sent to the FBI laboratory in Washington for DNA tests, according to law enforcement sources. He wore the same dark, knee-length baggy shorts with a white stripe on each side during both attacks of which he was convicted, according to police reports.
Guandique's brother, Huber, who lives in the Washington area, said investigators have interviewed him four times over the past month and a half, each time pressing him to turn over any clothing belonging to Ingmar. The two did not live together at the time of the assaults, and Huber Guandique said he told police that he does not have anything belonging to his brother.
Ingmar Guandique, a Salvadoran immigrant, has become the focus of the Levy probe because the attacks on the joggers occurred not far from where her body was found and because of the violent nature of the assaults, according to law enforcement sources.
In a pre-sentencing memorandum, Assistant U.S. Attorney Kristina L. Ament called Guandique "a predator" who, armed with a knife, used the isolated portions of the park "as a hunting ground, waiting beside popular running trails, selecting victims and stalking them."
Levy's skeletal remains were discovered May 22, a little more than a year after she vanished, in an isolated pocket of the park about a half-mile from where Guandique attacked one jogger and less than two miles from where he attacked another.
Conflicting Theories There is no evidence linking Guandique or anyone else to the 17-month-old case, but the focus on him has reenergized a probe that appeared to have stalled. A team of D.C. police, FBI agents and prosecutors from the U.S. attorney's office is conducting the investigation.
D.C. Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey cautioned that investigators don't know whether Guandique was involved, but said, "He's someone we're interested in."
In May, authorities played down Guandique as a suspect because Levy had been killed before his attacks on the joggers -- who fought back and escaped without serious injury. They theorized that someone who already had killed would have been more violent with the later victims. Also, the two joggers looked strikingly similar, tall and blond, while Levy was a petite brunet.
But investigators now believe that opportunity, not how the women looked, was a key factor in the attacks, according to law enforcement sources. They still are not sure why Levy was in the park, because family and friends say she was not a jogger and didn't like to go there alone. Some investigators have speculated that she went for a long walk, possibly to see the Nature Center, or was in the park to meet someone.