- The Washington Times - Friday, May 25, 2001

News reports that Chandra Ann Levy might have staged her own disappearance are misleading and present the wrong picture of the missing graduate student, an upset Susan Levy said yesterday.
"My daughter was a responsible individual of sound mental health. She was not someone who would create this as a hoax," said Mrs. Levy, who spoke to The Washington Times in a telephone interview from her home in Modesto, Calif.
Miss Levy, who was last seen at the Washington Sports Club on Connecticut Avenue in Northwest on April 30, was planning to return to California for her graduation from the University of Southern California, where she worked on her masters degree in public administration.
"I dont think someone who worked as hard as she did for her masters would have just decided to miss her graduation," Mrs. Levy said, her voice breaking at times during the interview.
D.C. police investigators said yesterday Miss Levy could have been abducted immediately after she left the health club because it was her routine to leave her purse at home when she worked out. Police found Miss Levys purse with her credit cards and her drivers license, along with her packed luggage, in her undisturbed apartment.
The Levys contacted the D.C. police on May 5, four days after Mrs. Levy got an e-mail from her daughter.
Mrs. Levy, who has been in constant contact with police here and in Stanislaus County, Calif., said D.C. police appeared to be "doing their job."
She added that she is hopeful, saying, "the police say it looks like there may not be a crime committed here."
Miss Levys disappearance has received media attention countrywide, especially in the wake of reports about her connection to Rep. Gary A. Condit, a California Democrat who represents the district where the Levys live. Mr. Condit, through his spokesman, has said Miss Levy is just a "good friend."
The Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call yesterday reported that Mr. Condit is telling his congressional colleagues he did not have a romantic relationship with Miss Levy. The newspaper quoted Rep. Collin C. Peterson, Minnesota Democrat, as saying that Mr. Condit "told me there was no relationship" with the missing woman.
Reporters have staked out Miss Levys apartment building and Mr. Condits Capitol Hill office and apartment in Adams Morgan. The Levys themselves were subjected to a "media blitz" when they visited the District last week to lobby members of Congress and raise support in the search for their daughter, with reporters and camera crews following them everywhere.
Mrs. Levy said that despite reports about her daughters relationships and being "known to embellish stories," she is still grateful for the media attention. "It is the only way I can get the word out in the entire United States," she said. "I will go with it until I find my daughter."
The Times reported yesterday about police concerns that they may never know Miss Levys fate as leads grow cold. Investigators have access to her bank and credit card accounts and have found no activity since April 30.
Yesterday, police academy recruits and detectives searched the area between Miss Levys apartment and Adams Morgan, where Mr. Condit lives. The officers also searched under bridges in the the Rock Creek Park area near Adams Morgan. Police spokesman Sgt. Joe Gentile said no evidence was found.
Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey yesterday transferred command of the investigation to the Special Investigation Division to provide relief to 2nd District commanders, Sgt. Gentile said. He said Chief Ramsey had planned to transfer all detectives under SID on June 1, and decided to make the change earlier for the Levy investigation.
Sgt. Gentile said 2nd District detectives are still the lead investigators but moving the investigation to SID will provide them with more resources.
While waiting for her daughters return, Mrs. Levy said, "I do a lot of praying, and crying, reading. That is how I spend my time. Last night, I managed to play a game of pool with a friend."
During their visit to the District, Mrs. Levy and her husband, Robert, an oncologist, met with Democratic Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Fienstein of California but did not meet with Mr. Condit, who has contributed $10,000 to a $30,000 reward being offered for Miss Levys safe return.
Asked why, Mrs. Levy said: "He wasnt there, and I was very busy," before changing the topic. She refused to answer questions about Mr. Condit or her daughters relationships.
"I dont care about the drama," she said. "I dont care about who she may be involved with. It is disturbing when you dont have your daughter back home."
She said Miss Levy did not appear to have any plans to return to Washington after her graduation, but had talked about looking for a job somewhere in California. "It looked like she was coming home… . She didnt like the Washington weather," Mrs. Levy said.
Police said they could not find where she purchased an airline ticket to return home. "Theres no plane ticket, no train ticket, no bus ticket," said a police source familiar with the investigation. "We dont know how she was going to get home."
A hot line has been set up — 888/660-7391 — for tips. Police said they have received calls from all over the country about reported sightings.
Mrs. Levy said her daughter is petite at 5-foot-3 and has a rose tattoo on her ankle.
She recalled how her daughter decided to turn vegetarian at 14 after she saw some cows that had been killed on a highway. "She likes the environment. She is into saving energy and calls us wasteful when we use the air conditioner," Mrs. Levy said with a laugh.
Miss Levy has hopes of becoming an FBI agent some day, her mother said, adding that she is an excellent writer with an interest in journalism.
She had spent time interning at the office of California Gov. Gray Davis before she got the internship at the federal Bureau of Prisons in Washington, where she worked. in the public affairs division.
* Jim Keary contributed to this report.


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