A Young Woman Disappears
- May 1, 2001: Chandra Levy disappears.
- May 6: Robert Levy contacts D.C. police about his missing daughter. He also calls Rep. Gary Condit about Chandra.
- May 7: Levy tells police his daughter was dating the congressman.
- May 8: Police speak to Condit, who says he has not heard from Chandra in about a week.
- May 10: Police search Chandra's apartment.
- July 25: Police cadets search areas off Glover Road in Rock Creek Park for Chandra.
She had been in Washington for seven months, interning at the Bureau of Prisons. She was supposed to graduate May 11 from the University of Southern California with a master's degree in public administration. She was a planner. She would have called or sent another e-mail.
The seemingly routine missing-persons case was caught by D.C. Detective Ralph Durant in the 2nd District, a place so placid the cops there are jokingly called "squirrel chasers" by some officers in the tougher parts of town. The stationhouse serves the tony neighborhoods of Cleveland Park and Georgetown, and the threats are mainly drunks, burglars and petty thieves.
Durant, a journeyman with 33 years on the force, had little homicide experience. He wore parachute pants, cowboy boots and hair pulled back in a ponytail.
Durant took the information from Levy. That day, May 6, police went to Chandra's Dupont Circle apartment, No. 315 in the Newport Condominium at 1260 21st St. NW, and found no indication of foul play. Hospitals and the medical examiner's office were called.
Officers visited the apartment four days in a row, going inside with the help of an apartment manager, and opening Chandra's mailbox. The modern, third-floor studio was neatly furnished with a futon, sleek stainless-steel chairs and a glass coffee table. An open suitcase rested on the floor.
Back in California, Robert Levy and his wife, Susan, frantically sifted through Chandra's cellphone bills for clues. There was one number she called over and over. It turned out to be the office of Gary Condit, who represented the Levys' district in the Central Valley of California.
On May 6, the same day he called police, Robert Levy called Condit at his home in Ceres, a town on the outskirts of Modesto. The congressman's wife, Carolyn, took a message, and Condit returned the call about an hour later.
Levy told Condit he was the father of Chandra Levy, an intern in Washington. She was missing. Could he help?
Condit said Chandra was a friend of one of his former interns, and he pledged to do anything he could, even contribute to a reward fund. After Levy got off the phone, his wife told him that she believed their daughter was dating the 53-year-old Condit. Robert Levy relayed that information the next day to Durant, who called the congressman.
On May 8, Chandra's aunt, Linda Zamsky, called Durant to say Chandra had confided in her about the affair.
Also that day, Condit returned Durant's call. He told the detective that Chandra called him occasionally for career advice. Condit said he had not heard from Chandra for about a week.
On May 10, police obtained a warrant and formally searched Chandra's apartment. They inventoried what they found: Two partially packed Ciao suitcases. A cellphone, credit cards and a driver's license in a purse. Dirty dishes in the sink. A refrigerator that was empty except for some leftover pasta and Reese's peanut butter cups. A Williams-Sonoma bag on the breakfast countertop containing dirty laundry: blue jeans, socks and panties.