A 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.
The officers tried to win Guandique's confidence. They kept the cell door open, gave him some water and food and let him use the restroom. Guandique agreed to talk without a lawyer. He said he had been working as a carpenter but didn't have a job at the moment.
Leading the interrogation was Joe Green, a seasoned detective with nearly 30 years on the job. A big, balding man with a gentle demeanor, the D.C. native prided himself on knowing the city and getting people to talk.
Through the translator, Green asked Guandique if he assaulted someone in the park about six hours earlier. Guandique said no.
Green tried another tactic. He asked Guandique whether it was possible that he bumped into a woman and the encounter was a misunderstanding. Guandique said that it was. He explained that he was jogging in the park when he felt a pain in his knee. He bent over to massage it and a female jogger ran into him, causing both of them to tumble off the trail. Guandique said he tried to help the jogger, but she began to fight and scream. Flustered, Guandique said, he ran away.
Guandique had just implicated himself in the attack on Wiegand.
Green told Guandique that the jogger said he had a knife.
Guandique said no, she probably saw the glint off his gold bracelet and mistook it for a knife.
Green recalled another unsolved attack in the park - the May 14 incident involving Halle Shilling. He asked Guandique if there were any other times he had accidentally bumped into someone in Rock Creek Park.
No, Guandique said at first. But then he changed his story. Yes, he said, there was something a month or two earlier. He had seen a tall woman with long hair running with a yellow radio; he jogged behind her, and she looked over her shoulder, causing her to fall. Guandique said he tried to help her up, but she screamed, so he ran off.
Guandique had just implicated himself in the attack on Shilling.
Guandique was charged with assault and kidnapping in the attack on Wiegand, who had identified him. But the Shilling case would have to await a photo lineup.
Green later told The Washington Post that he posed one more question to Guandique.
He showed him a D.C. police flier with a photograph of Chandra Levy, the missing intern.
Have you ever seen this woman in Rock Creek Park? Green asked.
Guandique said he had.
He saw her one day when he was hanging around the parking lot near the Peirce Mill. Green then asked Guandique if he thought she was attractive. Yes, he said, but he never saw her again.
Green did not include any comment by Guandique about Chandra in his report, and he does not remember telling any other officers at the time. Back then, it didn't seem important. He said he was focused on the assaults on Wiegand and Shilling.
Chandra could be anywhere. Her disappearance was not a Park Police case.
"It wasn't mine to pursue," he said recently.