D.C. Police Believed Close to Arrest in Levy Case

By Sari Horwitz and Scott Higham
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, February 22, 2009

D.C. police are seeking an arrest warrant against a Salvadoran immigrant in connection with the eight-year-old slaying of federal intern Chandra Levy, one of the most famous unsolved homicide cases in Washington history, according to law enforcement sources.

Levy's parents said D.C. police officials told them late Friday that they planned to make an arrest within "the next couple of days."

In an interview yesterday, Susan Levy, Chandra's mother, said she was told by D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier and Lt. Michael Farish, a supervisor of the department's cold-case squad, that investigators had made a breakthrough.

The case has been bedeviled by furious media attention and costly police mistakes. Levy, who was a 24-year-old intern for the federal Bureau of Prisons, was having an affair with Gary A. Condit, a married congressman from California, when she vanished. Police initially focused on Condit.

He was not charged and lost a reelection bid in 2002. He has long maintained that he had nothing to do with Levy's disappearance.

Sources with knowledge of the case and speaking under the condition of anonymity said police are moving toward arresting Ingmar Guandique, 27. About the time of Levy's disappearance in May 2001, Guandique, a day laborer, attacked two women at knifepoint in Rock Creek Park, where Levy's remains were found a year later. Guandique is serving a 10-year sentence at the U.S. Penitentiary-Victorville in Adelanto, Calif., for the two attacks.

Levy said Lanier told her that "in all her 19 years of police work, this is really big -- 'We really came down with a break.' They're very proud."

Levy said she and her husband, Robert, were still processing the information.

"It's a bittersweet relief," she said. "Not that we'll ever get our daughter back, but we need the truth."

Local television stations in Washington and California began reporting late Friday that an arrest was possible.

The Levys said Lanier did not tell them who the suspect is. Lanier issued a statement yesterday declining to comment. "The Metropolitan Police Department has no information available for release in this ongoing investigation. This case generated bits of information, which we continued to follow up on."

The police probe into Levy's killing ramped up in recent months after The Washington Post in July published a 13-part serial narrative investigation into the case that pointed to Guandique as the most likely suspect. He has denied involvement in Levy's death.

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