Who Was Chandra Levy?
Chandra Ann Levy (April 14, 1977 - c. May 2001) was working as an intern in Washington, D.C. at the Federal Bureau of Prisons when she disappeared in May 2001. Her skeletal remains were found an entire year later in Rock Creek Park. Levy’s murder garnered national media attention in part due to her relationship with married California Congressman Gary Condit. After being the prime suspect in her murder for 15 years, illegal immigrant and known gang member Ingmar Guandique was deported from the U.S. to El Salvador in 2017. The exact circumstances of her murder remain a mystery.
Chandra Levy Documentary
In 2017 TLC aired a 3-part special, “Chandra Levy: An American Murder Mystery,” which explored her disappearance, details of her murder and the latest news on her unsolved case.
In May 2001, Chandra Levy was scheduled to return home after completing her internship in D.C. to attend her M.A. graduation ceremony at the University of Southern California but never arrived. Her parents contacted the police but searches of her apartment located near Dupont Circle revealed nothing. After interviewing over 100 suspects, the police uncovered Levy’s year-long affair with California Congressman Gary Condit, a married father of two who served as the representative of her hometown, Modesto. The media quickly grabbed onto the missing persons case. The pretty, young, brunette intern who had been having an affair with a high-powered federal employee conjured up the Clinton-Lewinksy scandal from a few years prior. As police searched for any leads to help them find Levy, Condit lost his position in Congress by a landslide to Dennis Cardoza after serving for more than a decade.
Skeletal Remains Found at Rock Creek Park
On May 22, 2002, a man was hunting for turtles in Rock Creek Park when he noticed his dog sniffing vigorously at a spot on the side of a bluff. He bent down to investigate and after sweeping away loose debris and ground cover, the man found a deteriorated and cracked skull. It was identified using dental records as Chandra Levy’s. Investigators later found other bones scattered nearby as well as clothing items and a portable radio. Although police had searched nearly 2,000 acres of Rock Creek Park in the year prior, this was the breakthrough that they were hoping for. Levy’s body had been found and the medical examiner ruled her death to be homicide.
Prime Suspect: Ingmar Guandique
Despite his initial dismissal by the police department eight years earlier, illegal immigrant and known MS-13 gang member Ingmar Guandique later emerged as the prime suspect in Levy’s murder. Nearly a decade after Levy went missing, in 2009, Guandique was charged with Levy’s wrongful death. However, strong evidence against Guandique, who was serving a 10-year prison sentence for attacking two other women in Rock Creek Park when he was charged with Levy’s murder, was lacking. There was no murder weapon, no DNA evidence, and there were no eyewitnesses. Nothing definitively linked Guandique to the Levy crime scene and the case was largely circumstantial.
In his initial trial in 2010, Guandique was found guilty for Levy’s murder and sentenced to 60 years in prison. However, in 2015, Guandique was granted a new trial because it was argued that his conviction was based on false testimony from his former cellmate Armando Morales, who was said to have been easily manipulated by prosecutors. A second trial would never take place because in 2016, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia dismissed all charges against Guandique. In 2017, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials deported him back to his home country of El Salvador.
Early Life, Family, and Education
Chandra Ann Levy was born on April 14, 1977 in Cleveland, Ohio to Peter, a medical doctor, and Susan Levy. At a young age, her parents packed up Chandra and younger brother Adam, and moved to Modesto, California. As a child, Chandra’s bold personality stood out. She was the only girl in her hometown to participate in Little League baseball games and the Explorer Scouts program. She even worked undercover helping police prosecute local stores who were selling alcohol to underage minors. As a teenager, Chandra also talked about becoming a model, as evidenced in her widely-circulated glamour shots that made headline news after her disappearance.
After graduating from Grace M. Davis High School in 1995, Chandra earned a B.A. from San Francisco State University while also working an editorial assistant in the sports department at a local newspaper, The Modesto Bee. She later sought an M.A. degree from the University of Southern California. To complete her master’s work, she served as an intern in Washington, D.C. at the Federal Bureau of Prisons from 2000-2001 where she met and began an affair with Congressman Gary Condit.
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