The Predator in the Park
- May 1, 2001: Chandra Levy disappears. That day, Ingmar Guandique, a Salvadoran immigrant, doesn't show up for work.
- May 7: Guandique is arrested for breaking into a neighbor's apartment.
- May 14: Halle Shilling, a 30-year-old writer, is attacked while jogging in Rock Creek Park. She fights the man off.
- July 1: Christy Wiegand, a 25-year-old lawyer, is attacked while jogging in the park. She, too, fights the man off. Guandique is arrested 45 minutes later.
- July 2: Guandique admits to "bumping into" Shilling and Wiegand. Shown a photograph of Chandra, he says he saw her in the park but did not attack her, according to a U.S. Park Police detective.
At the top of the hill, Shilling sensed that someone was behind her. She thought it was another runner, and she slowed to let him pass. Instead, the Hispanic man jumped on her back and grabbed her around the throat. They fell to the ground and tussled on the trail. The hum of the rush-hour traffic below drowned out her screams.
She saw his knife.
"No! No! No!" she shouted.
"Shhhh," the man ordered.
Shilling jammed her fingers into her attacker's mouth, digging her nails beneath his tongue, as she had been taught in a self-defense class years earlier. The man bit her fingers, but released her and ran off. Shilling made her way to a U.S. Park Police station. She reported the crime and said she didn't believe her assailant was trying to rob her. He didn't take her Walkman or her large diamond engagement ring. She thought he was trying to rape or kill her.
Seven weeks later, on July 1, 2001, at 7:30 p.m., Christy Wiegand and her fiance were jogging in the northern section of Rock Creek Park. It had been raining on and off all day. Wiegand, 25, a former varsity rower at Princeton and a recent Cornell University Law School graduate, was an anti-trust lawyer for Arnold & Porter. Her wedding date was seven weeks away. She was tall and blond, her 5-foot-11 frame moving steadily along the trail, wearing her Walkman. Her fiance ran ahead and was soon out of sight.
Wiegand suddenly sensed that someone was quickly coming up from behind. Before she realized what was happening, a man wrapped his arms tightly around her and pulled her off the trail near Wise Road and Beach Drive. The two tumbled into a ravine, and Wiegand saw a knife.
The attacker held the blade to her chin. She screamed, and he covered her mouth, ordering her to shut up. She couldn't believe how fast it had happened. Ten seconds earlier, she was jogging peacefully along the path. Now, she was fighting for her life, terrified that she was about to be raped and killed.
She stopped struggling for a few seconds, and the attacker let down his guard, relaxing his hold. Wiegand started fighting again and began to scream. The attacker fled, disappearing into the woods. Wiegand scrambled to Beach Drive, cut, bruised and badly shaken. She flagged down a passing motorist, who took her to a U.S. Park Police station. She said her attacker was a young Hispanic male wearing a white tank top; knee-length black, baggy shorts; and sneakers.
Park Police officers fanned out and scrambled Eagle One, a blue-and-white Bell helicopter based across town in Anacostia Park. At 8:15 that night, 45 minutes after the attack, two officers picked up a man near a golf course in Rock Creek Park, not far from 16th Street. His clothes were wet. He was covered with leaves. Police drove Wiegand to the scene, where she identified him as her attacker.
He was Ingmar Guandique.
He was handcuffed and jailed inside a small stone substation in the center of the park that police called the Rock Creek Hotel. Around 1 a.m. July 2, three Park Police officers, including a translator, entered his cell.