- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 5, 2002

A prominent forensic scientist says he shares D.C. police optimism that Chandra Levy's killer will be found but he says it won't be easy.
Metropolitan Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey has vowed to solve the homicide no matter how long it takes. Though more than a year has passed since Miss Levy's killing, forensics expert Henry C. Lee said if police "use a logical approach, then they have a chance of solving it."
Dr. Lee, who investigated the O.J. Simpson and JonBenet Ramsey cases, said all homicide investigations have four important components.
The first component, crime-scene analysis, ended late last Wednesday, when the D.C. police Mobile Crime Unit withdrew from the Rock Creek Park site where the remains were discovered May 22 by a man walking his dog.
Dr. Lee said police were likely looking to discover from the position of the remains and the personal items at the scene whether Miss Levy was attacked at the scene or lured there and killed.
Police officials have declined to comment on the condition of the remains or on what specific items they found, but sources close to the investigation have said that, along with Miss Levy's remains, police found a Walkman, a University of Southern California T-shirt, a pair of running shoes, running tights, underwear, a red sports bra and broken sunglasses.
Dr. Jonathan Arden, the city's chief medical examiner, said last week only a "majority" of the skeleton was discovered at the scene which may in itself be a valuable clue, Dr. Lee said.
"Evidence missing from the scene is just as important as evidence found at the scene," he said.
The second component of the investigation, according to Dr. Lee, is the analysis of the physical evidence found. He said investigators may be hampered by the small amount of items recovered.
D.C. police say those items they did discover with Miss Levy's remains have been sent to the FBI lab in Quantico to determine what clues they yield.
Mark Stolorow, executive director of Germantown-based Orchid Cellmark Diagnostics, which processed DNA evidence for the O.J. Simpson and JonBenet Ramsey cases, said it will be "difficult at best" for investigators to get a DNA profile of a suspect in the Levy case.
He said police have two different types of items to analyze: trace evidence such as fibers or broken glass and biological material.
After a year of exposure to the elements, Mr. Stolorow said it would be tough to find any usable samples of a suspect's blood, semen or saliva stains that would yield DNA clues.
More durable biological material, such as a fingernail fragment, would be ideal to provide a DNA sample. Failing that, a stray hair from a suspect that's attached to an article of the victim's clothing may also be useful for a DNA test.
Yet, even if an item is recovered and identified, linking it to a crime may also prove difficult.
"There are two separate challenges," Mr. Stolorow said. "One is to recover useful evidence from a crime scene. It is another problem to try to prosecute a defendant in a criminal court for a crime in which the evidence is circumstantial."
Dr. Lee said the third investigation component is compiling a profile of a suspect and interviewing anyone who might have knowledge of the crime.
Clint Van Zandt, a former FBI profiler who worked the cases of Unabomber Ted Kaczynski and Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, said the profiler helps "narrow down the scope of the investigation."
If police are lucky, Mr. Van Zandt said, they still have some information about the crime scene that isn't general knowledge.
"You always hold certain things back from the crime scene, because you have to be able to differentiate between people who know something and people who are lying," he said.
He said police should continue sweeps of the park where Miss Levy's remains were found, near a steep hillside close to Broad Branch Road and Brandywine Street in Northwest. Police also should interview joggers and walkers who frequent the area, as well as anyone known to have committed any offenses nearby, he said.
Mr. Van Zandt said police should start interviewing others linked to the case, such as U.S. Rep. Gary A. Condit, California Democrat, who was having an affair with Miss Levy when she disappeared but has not been named a suspect.
Dr. Lee added it is imperative that investigators "don't develop tunnel vision."
"Once you have tunnel vision, you only consider evidence that would prove you right," he said.
And Dr. Lee said there's no underestimating the fourth component police will need to close the case luck.
"It's a difficult case. You need a little luck," he said.

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