For Chandra Levy's family, trial won't bring an end to grief

Robert and Susan Levy's daughter disappeared on May 1, 2001. Her skeletal remains were found a year later. The investigation of her murder is ongoing.Video by Pierre Kattar/
By Keith L. Alexander
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, October 18, 2010; 1:12 AM

MODESTO, CALIF. - The Levys had just finished a family vacation to Hershey, Pa. Robert Levy drove the rental car to Metro Center in the District, kissed his daughter, Chandra, on the head, said goodbye and headed to the airport with his wife.

It was the last time Robert and Susan Levy would ever see their only daughter. A week later, about May 1, 2001, Chandra went missing. Ever since, Robert Levy has been haunted by a feeling he had that evening, a feeling he didn't share with anyone.

"Something inside of me knew it was going to be the last time I ever saw her. I just wish I had done something. I wish I had said something," said Levy, sitting next to Susan in their ranch-style home in the Central Valley of Northern California.

The disclosure stunned his wife. "What? God damn it. I wish you had said something before now," she said.

Now, nine years after Chandra Levy's disappearance and slaying, as the suspect in her death is set to stand trial Monday in D.C. Superior Court, the Levy family still can't escape the grief, the nagging feelings, the anger and regret that come with the death of a child.

A D.C. story

It was the quintessential Washington story. An ambitious college student flies across the country to intern in the nation's capital, a city innocent of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that would happen four months later.

With dreams of success, she works hard. She also has an affair with her married hometown congressman. The tale turns tragic.

Chandra Levy, 24, had completed her internship with the Federal Bureau of Prisons and was preparing to return to California for her college graduation. But she never made it out of Washington.

She left her Dupont Circle apartment and never returned. As news of her affair with then-Rep. Gary A. Condit (D) became public, the case became an international media sensation.

Pictures of Levy were aired on newscasts and published in papers across the globe.

When she vanished, police questioned Condit, making the story even hotter.

The Levys, perhaps inadvertently, fueled the flames, holding vigils and news conferences, hoping to help find their daughter.

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