- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 23, 2002

Thirteen months after former intern Chandra Levy disappeared, her body was found yesterday morning in Rock Creek Park by a man walking his dog and searching for turtles.
D.C. Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey told a gathering of hundreds of reporters and news-crew members that dental records had confirmed the identity of the remains found on a steep embankment just off Broad Branch Road near Brandywine Street NW.
Even before the dental match was made, investigators felt strongly they had found the missing former intern: One of the items found near the remains was a gold ring engraved with the initials "C.L." One law-enforcement source told The Washington Times the ring was found in a shallow grave with some of the remains.
"The shallow grave would take away the self-inflicted wound theory," the source said.
Police also found shorts, running tights, a red sports bra and running shoes.
Chief Ramsey said bones were found over a wide area and that they may have been scattered by animals.
He said the case is being handled as a "death investigation" but that that could change after the medical examiner determines the cause of death.
"This does put us on a different path, one that we had traveled as a possibility," Chief Ramsey said. "But now we know her death is a reality. So what we have to do is investigate the circumstances around her death, and that's going to be the focus of the investigation from this point forward."
Levy family attorney Billy Martin last night said the family was taking time to compose themselves and deal with yesterday's news. He said the Levys will continue their own investigation into the case and expect it to be classified as a homicide.
"Although the discovery of Chandra's body closes one chapter and brings some closure to this ordeal, it does not and I repeat does not solve the mystery of what happened to Chandra," Mr. Martin said. "On behalf of the Levy family, we want everyone to appreciate we will continue, along with the police, our investigation to find the person or persons who did this to Chandra."
Police sources said they were not surprised the remains were found in Rock Creek Park because the last time Miss Levy used her computer on May 1, 2001, she was looking for information on Rock Creek Park.
Executive Assistant Police Chief Terrance W. Gainer said the area where the body was found "was not searched with dogs" but that police recruits had been through the area on foot last year as part of a 1,700-acre sweep of the park.
Hordes of media remained in the park last night, although police had called off the search until this morning. Television lights were brighter than those set up by the police department to illuminate the area.
The police mobile command center was parked across Broad Branch Road. At about 10 p.m., police were seen walking into the crime scene area carrying pizza and fast food for the officers who remained.
One neighborhood resident said she was surprised the missing woman's body was found in her neighborhood, especially in jogging clothes.
Tansy Blumer, 59, who lives on Davenport Road about 100 yards west of where the body was found, said the two-lane, winding road is not a typical jogging path.
"There are no sidewalks or shoulders," she said. "It's not a big jogging area. You can walk on park trails, but they are difficult and not well-known trails, and they are definitely not for running."
Police yesterday were looking for Miss Levy's keys, which were missing from her third-floor apartment at 1260 21st St. NW when it was searched by police May 6, 2001. Police detected no signs of a struggle or forced entry into the apartment. They found packed luggage and her driver's license, money and credit cards inside her wallet.
Miss Levy was last seen April 30, 2001, as she was planning to return to her Modesto, Calif., home after working as an intern at the Federal Bureau of Prisons. She was scheduled to receive her diploma from the University of Southern California on May 9.
Chief Ramsey expressed his condolences to the Levys and said he had spoken with them twice yesterday. He said he relayed the medical examiner's conclusions to a Levy family attorney, who broke the news to Miss Levy's parents, Robert and Susan Levy.
Police said leads in the case slowed to a trickle after the September 11 attacks. The case drew worldwide attention last summer when it was disclosed that Miss Levy had been having an affair with Rep. Gary A. Condit. Mr. Condit, California Democrat, was interviewed four times by police and FBI detectives, including on July 26 by FBI Special Agent Melissa Thomas, a profile specialist. The FBI was trying to establish a profile of Miss Levy.
Mr. Condit first denied he had an affair with Miss Levy, but during the third interview with police detectives, he acknowledged a romantic relationship. Detectives also interviewed his staff and his wife.
Mr. Condit's attorney, Mark Geragos of Los Angeles, released a statement late yesterday. It said: "Congressman Gary Condit and his family want to express their heartfelt sorrow and condolences to the Levy family. The Levy family will remain in our prayers."
Mr. Condit lost a Democratic primary in March for the congressional seat he has held since 1989.
Guy Taylor contributed to this report, which is based in part on wire service reports.


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