Pursuit of the Predator
- July 12, 2002: D.C. police visit the scene where Ingmar Guandique attacked a woman in Rock Creek Park.
- Aug. 11: Police interview Guandique's ex-girlfriend and her mother.
- Aug. 12: Police searching for Guandique's belongings interview a friend who says they are with Guandique's half-brother, Huber.
- Aug. 24: Huber tells police the belongings are with a man known as "Juan the Pig."
- Sept. 22: A new prosecutor brings two bilingual detectives into the case.
- Oct. 2: Washington Post reporters interview Guandique's landlady, who says she asked a maintenance man to throw away two bags of his belongings.
- Oct. 11: The bilingual detectives interview "Juan the Pig" in Virginia; he tells them Guandique's belongings are with another friend in Maryland. The detectives later learn that the belongings have been thrown out.
Police were also searching for physical evidence that could tie someone to the murder, such as Chandra's pinkie ring. Toward the end of the summer of 2002, Durant and Kennedy still had not tracked down Guandique's belongings.
On Aug. 12, Durant and Kennedy met with one of Guandique's friends, Jaime Flores. He and Guandique came from the same small town in El Salvador. The detectives learned from Flores that Guandique's half-brother, Huber, had picked up Guandique's belongings. Twelve days later, the detectives interviewed Huber, who told them he thought a man known as "Juan the Pig" had the belongings.
By then, the original prosecutors had been replaced by a new hard-charging lawyer, Elisa Poteat. She was a young, promising assistant U.S. attorney who specialized in prosecuting sex crimes and spoke fluent Spanish. She began to sit in on interviews with Guandique's associates.
Poteat made an intriguing discovery during the interviews: It appeared that Guandique had not been at work the day Chandra disappeared. He lost his job that same day.
On Sept. 22, Poteat, frustrated by the slow pace of the lead detectives, stepped up the tempo of the investigation. While Durant and Kennedy were temporarily detailed to work on protests at the International Monetary Fund, Poteat moved to get two bilingual detectives assigned to the case.
The officers, Sgt. Raul Figueras and Detective Emilio Martinez, immediately tracked down Guandique's associates and brought them in for interviews.
On Oct. 2, Washington Post reporters interviewed Guandique's former landlady, Sheila Phillips Cruz. She recalled that Guandique had a fat lip and scratches on his throat in late April or early May 2001, around the time Chandra disappeared. Cruz said Guandique told her he got into a fight with his waifish girlfriend, but Portillo told the reporters that she never struck Guandique.
Cruz said Guandique started drinking during that period.
"Ingmar just got really strange," she said. "Half the time he didn't know where he was."
Cruz also said Guandique left behind two bags of his belongings in a stairwell when he moved out of the apartment on Somerset Place in May 2001. She said they contained the T-shirts, baggy pants and baseball cap Guandique liked to wear. That summer, she had a maintenance man throw away the bags.
Cruz said the police had not interviewed her about Guandique. After learning that she was interviewed by The Post, police rushed to talk to her.
Poteat redoubled her efforts to find the rest of Guandique's belongings. The bilingual detectives learned that Juan the Pig's real name was Juan Jose Arevalo Escobar and that he was locked up on a DUI charge in Newport News, Va. He was about to be released. On Oct. 10, 2002, Poteat pleaded with the police to send the detectives immediately.
They made it to Newport News before Escobar's release, and he told them he did indeed have some of Guandique's belongings. They were back in Maryland with a friend whom police had interviewed previously. But by the time the detectives got to the friend, he told them he had thrown the belongings out - after they interviewed him the first time.
In May 2003, nearly a year after they were found in Rock Creek Park, Chandra's bones were returned to Robert and Susan Levy in Modesto, Calif. They were taken to the Lakewood Memorial Park Cemetery in Hughson, not far from where Chandra grew up.
On May 27, the Levys held a private graveside service for their daughter. A rabbi recited prayers, and a choir from the family's temple sang. Susan Levy read a poem. Twelve white doves were released.
But Chandra's parents don't plan to mark her grave site until her killer is found. Only then will they put up a stone. Robert Levy knows what it will say: "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"