- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 8, 2002

D.C. Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey yesterday said his investigators "blew it" in searching the site where Chandra Levy's remains were found last month, after private detectives discovered another bone 25 yards from where the former federal intern's skull had been recovered by police in Rock Creek Park.
One day after he praised the "excellent" work of crime-scene investigators handling the case, Chief Ramsey called the discovery of the bones "troubling" and said he would "make no excuses" for his department.
"I look for perfection, even though that's probably unrealistic," Chief Ramsey said.
The chief met with members of his forensics team to determine why the 12-inch shin bone wasn't discovered by any of the police teams combing the area during a weeklong search.
Police spokesman Sgt. Joe Gentile said that during a preliminary review of police investigative procedures the team had shared with Chief Ramsey photographs, maps and charts created at the scene.
"It appears that department technicians did not pass over the bone during the original search," Chief Ramsey said in a statement issued last night. "There appears to be a greater likelihood that the bone was reintroduced to the area by wildlife."
That theory corresponds with a description of the bone by Cmdr. Christopher LoJacono of the D.C. Police Forensic Science Division, who said Thursday that the bone showed "substantial animal activity." Police also said the bone was found within 3 feet of what appeared to be an animal's den.
Sgt. Gentile said after the preliminary review that no one stands to be disciplined, though the review about how police missed the bone during the original search continues.
Chief Ramsey said discovery of the leg bone was no reason to reopen the medical examiner's investigation into the cause of Miss Levy's death. D.C. Chief Medical Examiner Jonathan L. Arden determined that the death was a homicide, based on the circumstances surrounding the discovery of her remains, but could not determine a cause of death.
Sgt. Gentile said police didn't believe a wire shaped like a figure eight and found at the scene was related to Miss Levy's death. He said the wire had been described to police as a twisted coat hangar but was later determined to be consistent with wire the National Park Service uses to restrain saplings.
Chief Ramsey said yesterday that investigators would return to the Rock Creek Park scene where Miss Levy's remains were discovered in an attempt to locate anymore evidence that might have been overlooked.
He said 85 percent of Miss Levy's remains have been recovered, but that parts of her pelvis, left leg and foot were still missing when police ended their search.
"There's no guarantee that another bone might not surface," Chief Ramsey said.
Sgt. Gentile said investigators would search with cadaver dogs Sunday and perform a grid search with a platoon of cadets Monday.
Investigators will emphasize burrows and holes where small animals might have concealed bones and other evidence. During the search Monday police will be aided by a zoologist familiar with the park's wildlife.
During the last search they were aided by a Smithsonian archaeologist who volunteered his services because of his extensive knowledge of the park.
Chief Ramsey said metal detectors would be used in the park to try to find Miss Levy's keys, a ring and a gold serpentine bracelet she was believed to be wearing at the time of her disappearance but not found during the original search.
Police officers had closed part of Broad Branch Road NW and searched an area 20 to 25 yards wide and 50 yards long in the 1,700 acre park after a man walking a dog found the skull May 22.
Thursday night the site was secured again, though yesterday both lanes of Broad Branch Road were open to traffic. Just one patrol car parked in a turnout guarded access to the site.
For a week after police abandoned the scene, the site had been open to the public. Broad patches of cleared dirt, broken branches and an orange stake indicating where police had found Miss Levy's skull were all that remained.
Thursday afternoon former homicide detectives Joe McCann and Duane Stanton, whom the Levys hired last year, to investigate their daughter's disappearance, found the bone during an independent search of the area.

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