- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 26, 2001

Some residents of Chandra Levy's former apartment building near Dupont Circle said D.C. police have not contacted them for interviews regarding the missing intern, disputing police officials' assertions that residents have avoided interviews.
"I've never been interviewed by the police, but I've been interviewed by the press six times either on the phone or in person," Peter Reed, a resident of the Newport apartment building, told The Washington Times.
Chris Horstman, who has lived in the building for 10 years, said, "The police came to my apartment and dropped off a flyer, but they didn't really interview me. They just told me to call if I had any information."
"No one has questioned me about any of this, but I am in and out a lot," said one resident who declined to give his name, but said he has lived at the Newport for about 15 years.
Under increasing criticism and scrutiny over their handling of the high-profile missing-persons case, police officials have expressed frustration over residents' reluctance to be interviewed in the search for Miss Levy, who was last seen in the District on April 30.
"There are some people who don't want to be interviewed by the police," Metropolitan Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey said Monday. "People have a right to privacy. They don't have to talk to us."
Police spokesman Sgt. Joe Gentile yesterday said the Newport, at 1260 21st St. NW, has 149 occupied apartments and investigators have talked with all but 25 of its tenants. He said he did not know why detectives had not contacted the residents who talked to The Times.
Sgt. Gentile said detectives were supposed to have left a notice at every apartment asking residents to contact them, but he did not know if the notice was slipped under the doors or taped to the doors.
"I spoke with a detective yesterday, and she found it funny that people are saying residents are not being cooperative. The detective told me that was [untrue], " said Jeffrey Bush, who has lived in the Newport for more than two years. "Some people are tired of being asked the same questions. I'm willing to talk to as many people and as many times as they need until she is found."
What's more, several registered sex offenders who live and work near areas frequented by Miss Levy said detectives had not interviewed them in their search, The Times first reported Saturday. More than 20 registered sex offenders live and work in the area. Police officials said they would interview the offenders, prompted by The Times' report.
Some Newport residents said police have not done enough to search the building for clues and witnesses.
Tom Ivancie, a ninth-floor Newport resident, said he suggested detectives check the building's trash chute when he was interviewed in May. "They did not do it until today, " Mr. Ivancie said.
Police searched Miss Levy's former apartment soon after she was reported missing on May 6. They found her bags partially packed, her wallet, money and credit cards, and no signs of violence. The only things missing were her keys and Miss Levy, who was supposed to return to her Modesto, Calif., home after completing an internship with the federal Bureau of Prisons.
The apartment has since been rented to a tenant from New York.
Police also have searched the Adams Morgan apartment of Rep. Gary A. Condit, the California Democrat who represents Miss Levy's district. Mr. Condit, 53, admitted to police to having had an affair with Miss Levy, 24, after having denied a romantic relationship for weeks. Police have said he is not a suspect in Miss Levy's disappearance and has not been charged with a crime.
The Modesto (Calif.) Bee yesterday reported that a former congressional aide to Mr. Condit told police she gave him a watch during a relationship they had during the mid-1990s. FBI agents talked to the woman because Mr. Condit disposed of the watch box in an Alexandria garbage can about four hours before his apartment was searched by D.C. police on July 10, the newspaper reported.
Police and FBI officials are trying to arrange a fourth interview with the congressman.
Lawyer Billy Martin, who was hired by the Levy family to investigate the young woman's disappearance, yesterday said he doesn't care what the police do as long as it helps them find Miss Levy.
A former D.C. police detective, Trevor Hewick, said he doubts detectives knew much about the case during their first search of Miss Levy's apartment. He said he doubts that the second time they tried talking with residents would be very successful because of the large number of officers being used.
"They did not take it serious enough. You can't have 16 people canvassing a building. You have to have two individuals who are working close together do it," said Mr. Hewick, who is now a private investigator.
He said detectives must have run out of leads, noting that investigators are reviewing the case. "You should always retrace your steps," said Mr. Hewick, "especially if you have run up against a wall."
John Drake contributed to this report.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide