Finally, Closure Looks Close in the Chandra Levy Case

The sad and simple ending to a dramatic case

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Finally, Closure Close in the Chandra Levy Case

The sad and simple ending to a dramatic case

-Julie Ryan Evans

It was May 2001 when Chandra Levy disappeared while jogging in a park in the Washington, D.C., area. Finally, this week, after eight years, police appear set to make an arrest in the infamous case.

The suspect is an immigrant from El Salvador who is already incarcerated for attacking two other women in the same park in which Levy’s remains were found about a year after her disappearance. The Washington Post named the suspect as Ingmar Guandique, 27, and it’s believed that police have new DNA evidence to link him to the crime.

It’s a sad but simple ending to what was one of the most publicized and sensationalized murder investigations of the past decade. Levy was likely just in the wrong place at the wrong the time, not the victim of a sordid love affair gone wrong – the story that so many perpetuated … and, on some level, wanted to believe.

At the time, Levy, a 24-year-old intern for the Bureau of Prisons, was allegedly having an affair with Rep. Gary Condit, 54. The former congressman from California was questioned in the case though never charged nor named a suspect by police. The public and press, however, couldn’t resist such scandalous suspicion, and accusations flew in the media and among Condit’s constituents. Condit denied the affair with Levy, but the cloud of doubt was hung and Condit and his career never escaped it. His bid for reelection failed.

The investigation into Levy’s death was riddled with errors and missteps along the way, as chronicled in a 12-part series by The Washington Post titled, “Who Killed Chandra Levy?”. Condit released a statement in response to news of the imminent arrest and said he blames “an insatiable appetite for sensationalism” for the way the case was handled.

And while the sensationalism certainly worked against Condit, for the Levy case, it at least kept the case warm over the years, until closure could be had.

There are, however, so many cold cases of those who go missing everyday that we never hear about and never will. Few cases today get the attention that Levy’s did back then, especially among all the current talk of economic doom, stimulus bills and celebrity sightings.

As Chandra’s brother, Adam Levy, told Greta Van Susteren when asked about his sister’s relationship with Condit:

“If they had not had anything happen between them, this whole story would have just been another case. That’s what is sad is that there are so many other people who have loved ones that are murdered, and their cases just go unsolved, and no one really hears about them, because they are just another crime victim. It is just sad how it took this, I mean, the relation of the congressman in this story to really bring the story, the whole situation to light, to life. And it is just a total nightmare.”

Unfortunately, it’s a nightmare from which no one can wake … closure or not.

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