Man's Friends Face Levy Case Grand Jury

Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, October 4, 2002

A grand jury has subpoenaed friends of a man who is now the focus of the Chandra Levy investigation, among them an apartment manager who has told The Washington Post that the man had facial scratches and a swollen, cut lip around the time the former federal intern disappeared.

Sheila Cruz, the manager of a building on Somerset Place NW where Ingmar Guandique lived, said she can place the time she saw the facial abrasions as late April or early May because it was shortly before Guandique, then 19, was arrested May 7, 2001, on charges of breaking into an apartment in the complex.

Levy, whose remains were found in Rock Creek Park this spring, disappeared May 1, 2001.

Guandique blamed his wounds on his girlfriend, saying she had hit him, Cruz said. But the former girlfriend, in an interview, said she had not caused the injuries to his face. She said she never saw the scratches and swollen lip. She described their relationship as tumultuous and said it was on and off by May 2001.

Cruz was subpoenaed late Wednesday night, hours after she was interviewed by The Post. Her boyfriend, one of Guandique's friends, also was subpoenaed.

Guandique's former girlfriend, Iris Portillo, and her mother said in an interview that they were called to the U.S. attorney's office last month. Portillo, 20, said she took detectives to a spot in Rock Creek Park where she had gone with Guandique, less than a mile from where Levy's remains were found. She said investigators took a gold bracelet, which she said was a gift from Guandique in early 2001, and a necklace.

It is unclear what jewelry Levy was wearing when she was slain. Law enforcement sources have said that a gold bracelet and a gold ring were missing from her belongings.

Cruz said that until this week, she had not been contacted by D.C. police during the 17-month investigation. She is one of several Guandique friends or relatives who have been subpoenaed in recent weeks as investigators focus on Guandique, a Salvadoran immigrant convicted last September of assaulting two women jogging in Rock Creek Park, not far from where Levy's remains were discovered. The attacks occurred May 14, 2001, two weeks after Levy disappeared, and July 1, 2001.

The flurry of subpoenas and the grand jury's interest in Guandique mark a significant change in the investigation, which had focused on Rep Gary A. Condit (D-Calif.), with whom Levy was having an affair at the time she vanished. Police have not interviewed Condit since the discovery of her remains officially turned a missing-person case into a homicide investigation.

Detectives have no evidence linking Guandique or anyone else to Levy's death. Police have sent the clothes Guandique was wearing when he was arrested July 1, 2001, for the park assaults to the FBI laboratory for DNA tests, according to law enforcement sources.

Huber Guandique said police have asked him four times to turn over any other clothing belonging to his brother, which he said he does not have. But Cruz said that in summer 2001, she asked a maintenance man to throw out two bags filled with Guandique's clothes that had been left in the apartment building's stairwell after he moved out. She said the bags contained the T-shirts, baggy pants and baseball cap he liked to wear.

Police detectives discounted Guandique as a suspect in Levy's disappearance when he was interviewed in summer 2001 after his attacks on the joggers. Later, after another inmate said Guandique had told him he killed Levy and left her body in the park, Guandique was given a polygraph test. He passed, but authorities now question the results because the test was done using a Spanish interpreter rather than a bilingual polygraph technician.

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