Fifteen years on, mys­tery still sur­rounds Chan­dra Levy’s death

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS -

NEW YORK: In the weeks and months be­fore the Septem­ber 11, 2001 at­tacks, the dis­ap­pear­ance of Wash­ing­ton in­tern Chan­dra Levy was the big­gest story in the US. Spec­u­la­tion swirled about her re­la­tion­ship with a con­gress­man, Gary Con­dit.

Nearly 25 mil­lion peo­ple tuned in for Con­dit’s awk­ward prime-time in­ter­view with Con­nie Chung in Au­gust.

Then came the Septem­ber 11 at­tacks and Con­dit and Levy were largely forgotten. She popped back into the news in 2002, when her re­mains were found in Wash­ing­ton’s Rock Creek Park. And again in 2010, when an im­mi­grant from El Sal­vador named Ing­mar Guandique, was con­victed of Levy’s slay­ing and sen­tenced to 60 years.

More than 15 years af­ter her dis­ap­pear­ance, Levy is back in the news and her death is again a mys­tery.

Pros­e­cu­tors an­nounced this week they were drop­ping all charges against Guandique, who was given a new trial last year af­ter doubts were raised about a key wit­ness at his 2010 trial.

Guandique’s lawyers in the pub­lic de­fender’s of­fice is­sued a state­ment say­ing their client had been vin­di­cated and not­ing Guandique had passed an FBI-ad­min­is­tered lie de­tec­tor test. They ac­cused pros­e­cu­tors of hid­ing in­for­ma­tion.

The dis­ap­pear­ance of the 24-year-old Levy cre­ated a na­tional sen­sa­tion af­ter the in­tern for the Bureau of Pris­ons was pub­licly linked with Con­dit. The Cal­i­for­nia Demo­crat was at one point a prime sus­pect in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, po­lice ac­knowl­edged.

Even­tu­ally, po­lice cleared Con­dit and in 2009 charged Guandique, who had al­ready been con­victed and sen­tenced to 10 years in prison for at­tacks on fe­male jog­gers in Rock Creek Park.

In a state­ment, Con­dit’s at­tor­ney said the for­mer con­gress­man was dis­ap­pointed the case had been dropped. “The fail­ure to bring for­mal clo­sure af­ter 15 years is very dis­ap­point­ing,” they said.– ANA-AP

Chan­dra Levy

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