Back in the summer of 2001, a beautiful young D.C. intern was declared “missing” by police. The story gained traction when it was surmised that Chandra Levy had been romantically linked to married California congressman Gary Condit.
In the wake of the Monica Lewinsky scandal, the press had a field day with rumors swirling around Condit’s alleged perverse sex life, and the possibility of his having had something to do with her disappearance. The pressure kept mounting on Condit, especially when he backtracked on admitting to having any affair with Chandra, stating emphatically that they were “close friends” and that he let Chandra sleep over at his condo occasionally, for convenience.
But on September 11, 2001, when the terrorist attacks rocked America, all the attention shifted from Chandra Levy’s murder mystery.
For D.C. police, a search of Chandra’s laptop had revealed that on the day she went missing, Chandra searched for a historic house in Rock Creek Park called the Pierce-Klingle Mansion. In July 2001, a massive police search in Rock Creek Park was conducted, but because police only searched off the park roads, and not off the park paths, nothing turned up.
It wasn’t until May 22, 2002, over a year after her disappearance, that Chandra Levy’s remains were found by a man whose dog had ventured deep into the woods. Chandra’s remains were found less than a mile away from the Pierce-Klingle Mansion. Her death was ruled a homicide but no suspect was charged.
I worked on an episode of True Crime about the Chandra Levy case back in 2009, when there was a break in the case. I interviewed D.C. police and learned there was great hope that her killer had been found. On March 3, 2009, police obtained a warrant to arrest Ingmar Guandique, an illegal immigrant who’d been convicted of assaulting two other women in Rock Creek Park around the same time of Chandra’s disappearance.
At Guandique’s trial in 2010, prosecutors alleged that Guandique attacked Levy in the park and committed first-degree murder during a sexual offense. A jailhouse snitch testified that Guandique admitted to the murder, and the two women who were assaulted by Guandique also testified. On November 22, 2010, a jury found Guandique guilty of first-degree murder, and the conviction was heralded as a miracle, since there was no DNA linking Guandique to the murder, no eye witness, and only circumstantial evidence linking him to the crime.
But then there was a problem. The testimony of the jailhouse snitch came into question when Guandique’s attorneys discovered the snitch had impeached himself on the stand. The jailhouse snitch was possibly looking for a deal from prosecutors and was clearly not the “reformed” religious man he professed to be.
On the basis of a tape secretly recorded that proved the snitch to be a liar, Guandique was granted a new trial. Then on July 28, 2015, with a charge of “prosecutorial error” being made by his defense attorneys, prosecutors announced they would not proceed with the case against Guandique — and would instead have him deported.
Now, the question remains: Who killed Chandra Levy? Could it have been this illegal alien who perhaps got away on a technicality? Or could her killer have known her? On her last day alive, Chandra was searching for the Pierce-Klingle Mansion, an administrative building in Rock Creek Park. She also searched for directions to that location. Was she meeting someone there?
To see more of her theories on this case, watch the “Chandra Levy” episode of Investigation Discovery’s True Crime with Aphrodite Jones on ID GO now!
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Main photo: Debbie Noda/The Modesto Bee via AP, Pool, File