- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 22, 2009

UPDATED:

The parents of slain federal intern Chandra Levy say D.C. police have told them an arrest is imminent in the eight-year investigation into their daughter’s killing.

Robert Levy, Chandra’s father, said D.C. police officials, including Chief Cathy L. Lanier, contacted the Levys Friday afternoon and told them an arrest was imminent. He said they did not name a suspect, give a timeline for an arrest or discuss what evidence they had, although he said police were confident they had enough evidence to move forward with the case.

“I talked to [Chandra’s mother] Sue, and she was excited - not really happy, but we just want to get a solution, some justice,” he told The Washington Times on Saturday from his home in Modesto, Calif.

Metropolitan Police officials and the U.S. Attorney’s Office had no comment on the report Saturday.

“This case generated numerous bits of information, which we continue to follow up on,” Chief Lanier said Saturday.

WRC-TV reported that D.C. police, prompted by reports of a jailhouse confession, are seeking an arrest warrant for Ingmar Guandique, a Salvadoran immigrant serving a 10-year sentence in a federal prison in California for attacking two female joggers in separate assaults in 2001 near Broad Branch Road, which is where Miss Levy´s remains were found on May 22, 2002. Both the joggers fought back and escaped without serious injury.

Police have long suspected Guandique - who was arrested July 1, 2001, the same day of the second attack he was convicted for - was involved in Miss Levy’s disappearance.

D.C. police questioned the Salvadoran immigrant, now 27, about Miss Levy´s disappearance before her remains were discovered and administered a polygraph test after a fellow inmate said Guandique had confessed to the killing while in prison.

Guandique passed his test, while the inmate who provided the information failed a similar polygraph test.

Police officials at the time speculated that the inmate who said Guandique had confessed may have provided secondhand information and failed the polygraph test when asked whether he had heard the confession directly.

Police were also concerned that the polygraph test may have been unreliable because the FBI administered it through an interpreter. Then-Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey dismissed that concern, saying he was satisfied with the use of the FBI-qualified interpreter. He said the same interpreter was used during the polygraphs of Guandique and the other inmate.

“Now that we found the body, and you look at the MOs of the two attacks that didn´t result in death and hers looking for similarities, we need to go back and ask this guy this set of questions that are really specific now to what we know about what probably happened at that crime. But he´s not cooperating,” Chief Ramsey said at the time.

Miss Levy disappeared in spring 2001 after canceling her membership at the Washington Sport and Health Club. Internet records indicate she used her computer May 1, 2001, visiting travel Web sites and looking up the address to the Klingle Mansion in Rock Creek Park. She lived in a third-floor apartment on 21st Street Northwest.

Her remains and some articles of clothing were found May 22, 2002, by a man walking his dog in the Rock Creek Park woods, not far from the mansion.

Then-D.C. Medical Examiner Dr. Jonathan Arden concluded Miss Levy had been slain, but he could not conclusively state the cause of death. He later said that damage to a bone in Miss Levy´s neck may indicate she was strangled.

The case garnered national attention after reports surfaced that Miss Levy was having an affair with then-Rep. Gary A. Condit, California Democrat.

Early on, Mr. Condit suggested that his relationship with Miss Levy was only friendship and denied even to his colleagues that it was romantic.

The congressman later acknowledged to police that he had an affair with Miss Levy, but denied any involvement in her disappearance. Mr. Condit lost a re-election bid in 2002.

In a statement to WJLA-TV (Channel 7), Mr. Condit said he was “glad” for the Levy family.

“It is unfortunate that an insatiable appetite for sensationalism blocked so many from searching for the real answers for so long,” Mr. Condit said. “I had always hoped to have the opportunity to tell my side of the story, but too many were not prepared to listen. Now I plan to do so, but I will have no further comments on this story at this time.”

Mr. Condit’s Washington attorney, Abbe D. Lowell, said Mr. Condit would make no further comments and that while the news of an impending arrest was uplifting, it was unfortunate it had taken so long to materialize.

“While very good news, it is a tragedy that the police and media obsession with former Congressman Condit delayed this result for eight years and caused needless pain and harm to the families involved,” he said. “This should give the Levys the answer and closure they deserve and remove the unfair cloud that has hung over the Condits for too long.”

Guandique’s former residence in the 1400 block of Somerset Place Northwest is about a mile from where Miss Levy’s remains were found.

Guandique pleaded guilty in February 2002 to two counts of assault with intent to commit robbery for the assaults of two women in the park within a month of Miss Levy´s disappearance. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

During his trial, Assistant U.S. Attorney Kristina L. Ament said Guandique used the park as a “hunting ground” and that he was “selecting victims and stalking them.” Ms. Ament noted that Guandique used isolated locations to attack his victims and dragged them off the trail into a ravine.

The first attack occurred May 14, 2001, about 6:30 p.m., as Halle R. Shilling was jogging at the Pierce Mill Road parking lot. She was running north on Beach Drive when she saw Guandique sitting on the curb on the west side of the Broad Branch parking lot.

He began running after her and caught her. He pulled a knife on her after grabbing her around the neck. She screamed, pushed his face with her hand and fled.

Christy C. Wiegand was similarly assaulted by Guandique on July 1, 2001, at about 7:30 p.m., court records showed. She was jogging on Beach Drive when she saw Guandique standing beside the trail. He began to run after her and grabbed her from behind. He then pulled her off the trail.

He took out a knife as he held Miss Wiegand by the chin and covered her mouth because she was screaming. She freed herself when she felt him lose his grip.

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