Who Killed Chandra Levy?
Chapter Ten: A Jailhouse Informant
Tuesday, July 22, 2008; 9:52 AM
On Sept. 11, 2001, terrorists struck the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and the four-month-old Chandra Levy story quickly dropped off the front pages of newspapers around the world.
In Modesto, the satellite television trucks that had been parked outside Robert and Susan Levy's home pulled away. In Washington, law enforcement resources were shifted from Chandra's case to terrorism-related tasks.
It had been four months since Chandra had disappeared. During one of her last computer searches on the day she vanished, she had pulled up a map of Rock Creek Park. Police recruits had looked for her in the park. But neither the D.C. detectives nor the prosecutors on the Chandra case had focused on a man who confessed July 2 to his involvement in attacks on two women in the park.
The man, a 20-year-old Salvadoran named Ingmar Guandique, did not catch the attention of prosecutors until mid-September, when they heard that Guandique allegedly told a jailhouse informant that he had killed Chandra.
On Sept. 21, Guandique was removed from his jail cell and brought to the U.S. attorney's office in Washington for questioning by prosecutors and D.C. detectives. He was accompanied by a public defender.
Guandique was shown a picture of Chandra. He said the only place he had ever seen her was on television.
That contradicted what a former Park Police detective later told The Washington Post. Joe Green, who interrogated Guandique on July 2, said that at that time he showed Chandra's picture to Guandique and the Salvadoran said he had seen her in the park.
Green was present at the meeting in the U.S. attorney's office. To this day, Green does not remember that meeting or whether he passed on to D.C. police or prosecutors the information he said he got from Guandique. "I should have said something," Green would later comment.
On Oct. 19, D.C. police and federal prosecutors went to the D.C. jail to interview the informant, whose name is being withheld by The Post to protect him against reprisals from other prisoners.
The informant said that he had befriended Guandique during strolls around the jail's exercise yard. Guandique was awaiting trial on charges in the attacks in the park on May 14 and July 1. The informant said that one day in August Guandique looked depressed and said something was weighing on him.
Guandique, the informant said, confessed to murdering a woman in the park named Chandra Levy, the intern whose picture had been splashed all over television. There was more: Guandique said Rep. Gary Condit paid him to do it. He didn't realize who Condit was until he later saw his picture on TV. Guandique had been walking in the Adams Morgan neighborhood when a car pulled to the curb. Condit offered him money - $25,000 to kill a woman. The congressman provided him with her picture and a location where he could find her.