- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 1, 2001

Three other adults who disappeared long before Chandra Ann Levy are featured on the D.C. police Web site, but they are among hundreds of missing persons who draw only a fraction of the attention.
Katherine M. Richardson, 75, who suffers memory loss and is unable to care for herself, last was seen Nov. 2 at a Safeway store in the 1700 block of Columbia Road NW.
Diana Benjamin, 76, a schizophrenic, was last seen on O Street SW. Her disappearance was posted Aug. 3.
Derek Leander Cooper, whose age police could not provide, has been missing since May 2000 from the 1800 block of Good Hope Road SE.
Although these three other "critically missing" persons are highlighted with Miss Levy, 24, on the Metropolitan Police Department's Web site, www.mpdc.org, in comparison with the former federal intern their cases are well beyond the klieg lights of the media.
"I think you have to be rich or have high visibility or be connected to the political machine," Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner R. Calvin Lockridge said. "That's very clear. Otherwise, you're just going to be put down as another number."
Mr. Lockridge has followed the case of Carlotta K. Randall, 28, a security guard whose disappearance also apparently lacks the tabloid appeal of Miss Levy's case, with its California and Capitol Hill connections.
In the 10 months since Miss Randall vanished, until today, she had not been reported as missing in local newspapers. Mr. Lockridge said he spent an hour Thursday knocking on doors in the Southeast neighborhood where Miss Randall lived until she went missing Aug. 22 and found that none of the residents was aware of her case.
Although a D.C. police spokesman complained of being inundated by inquiries from the national media about Miss Levy, The Washington Times could not learn from police the status of Miss Randall's case as of late last week.
Nor could The Times learn the status of the cases of the other three adults, whose photographs are displayed on the police Web site.
Detectives contacted through hot lines set up to receive tips from the public said they either were not familiar with or not aware of those cases. Some referred reporters elsewhere; others didn't return phone calls.
A fourth adult listed on the police Web site as a "critical missing person," Freddie Wallace, 44, of Northeast, received so little attention that his reappearance a day after he went missing Dec. 13 also went unnoticed.
Police have yet to remove his photo from the Web site.
A woman who has lived in Miss Randall's former apartment since February said she was "spooked" to learn about the former tenant's disappearance.
"I keep getting her mail," the tenant said. "I hope they find her."
Miss Levy, a former intern for the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, disappeared on or about April 30 amid signs that she was preparing to return home to Modesto, Calif., to receive her master's degree from the University of Southern California. She was reported missing May 6. Metropolitan Police solicited help from the public May 10.
Miss Levy's parents have made several well-publicized trips here from California. They recently hired leading Washington attorney Billy Martin and two former D.C. homicide detectives to investigate.
Investigators have questioned more than 100 people in the Levy case, including Rep. Gary A. Condit, California Democrat, who represents the Levys' congressional district. Mr. Condit has said that he and Miss Levy are friends. Police also plan to question Mr. Condit's wife, who reportedly was in the District about the time of Miss Levy disappeared.
A police spokesman insists missing-person cases are taken seriously, even if their dispositions aren't always immediately available.
"The great majority do have some degree of success," Officer Kenneth Bryson said. "When you get that true missing persons case where it looks like they have vanished into thin air, that's pretty rare."
According to statistics from the National Crime Information Center, 443 persons reported missing this year in the District — 190 adults and 253 juveniles — have yet to be found.
D.C. police could not confirm those figures.
Statistics on missing children are kept by the department's youth division. Adult records were decentralized in 1998 under Chief Larry Soulsby.
The department is in the process of developing a citywide database of missing persons, but each police district currently keeps its own records with varying degrees of accuracy.
The 2nd District, where Miss Levy's Adams-Morgan apartment is located, has a computerized database of missing-persons cases. Of about 50 adults listed this year as critically missing in that district, detectives said, Miss Levy is the only one who has not been located.
Sgt. Joe Gentile, a D.C. police spokesman, yesterday said investigators in the Levy case plan to search landfills and trash receptacles using specially trained dogs.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide