Chapter Three:
A Private Matter
Who Killed Chandra Levy?
Who Killed Chandra Levy?
Key Dates
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But the more the detectives heard, the more they focused on the congressman. Could his lifestyle have anything to do with Chandra's disappearance?

One woman who called was Joleen Argentini McKay, a junior aide for Condit during the mid-1990s. At 22, she was petite and pretty and crazy for the congressman. The affair was supposed to stay secret, she said, but people in Condit's Capitol Hill office knew. McKay told police she gave him a $1,500 brushed-steel Tag Heuer watch and a red Trek mountain bike. She said their relationship lasted about three years and Condit had been manipulative and controlling. She was concerned about Chandra.

Police would also talk to Anne Marie Smith. In July 2000, the attractive flight attendant said she first saw Condit sitting in a business-class seat on a United Airlines flight from San Francisco to Dulles. Smith, 39, said he introduced himself simply as Gary, and offered her a piece of his power bar and his phone number.

Smith recounted their courtship to police.

She was smitten by Condit. He was low-key and handsome. After the flight touched down, she and another attendant looked him up on the manifest. Congressman Gary Condit, it said. Two days later, Smith and Condit met at a restaurant in Georgetown.

Over dinner, Smith was excited but cautious. She was wary when she found out that Condit was married.

She didn't date married men, she told him. Still, she found him enticing. She returned home and noted the day she met Condit in her diary. "July 10, 2000: Met a new friend. Spent 30 hour layover and time with friend."

She told police that they soon began to date, and Condit showered her with attention. He gave her a leather bracelet studded with sterling-silver hearts. For Christmas, she said, he gave her a gold bracelet. She gave him a good-luck bell for his Harley-Davidson and a Tim McGraw CD. She said that Condit told her the relationship could last forever - as long as she didn't tell anyone.

They met at hotels and inside his fourth-floor, turn-of-the-century condo at the top of Adams Morgan, an eclectic neighborhood of ethnic restaurants, offbeat shops and jam-packed nightclubs near the National Zoo and Rock Creek Park. It was not a typical neighborhood for a conservative congressman from a right-leaning agricultural district.

[Photo]
Rep. Gary Condit with his personal driver in Sturgis, S.D, in 2000. (Courtesy of Vince Flammini)

****

During the second week of May 2001, rumors about a relationship between Chandra and Condit began to spread around Washington. Smith said Condit phoned her and asked her not to call him for a while - he would call her.

"Is it your family? Is it your job?" Smith asked.

"No. I can't tell you," he said, she would later recall. "I may have to disappear for a while."

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Next chapter: Chandra's parents go on the offensive. In-depth preview
The Washington Post spent a year reconstructing the disappearance of Chandra Levy and the investigation of her death. Reporters interviewed scores of people, including police officials, investigators and suspects - many for the first time - and obtained details about dozens of previously unknown private conversations and events.

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