Tests Determine Remains Are Chandra Levy's

By MARK SHERMAN and BRIAN MELLEY, Associated Press Writers

WASHINGTON (AP) - Bones found in a Washington park Wednesday are the remains of Chandra Levy, the federal intern (pictured, right) who disappeared more than a year ago, police announced Wednesday.

Police chief Charles H. Ramsey said the identification was made through dental records.

Levy's disappearance riveted the nation for months and contributed to the political demise of her hometown congressman, Rep. Gary Condit, D-Calif.

Identification of the remains did not end the mystery of her death. Ramsey said the manner and cause were still unknown.

"The remains found earlier today are in fact Chandra Levy," Ramsey said. The remains were discovered in Washington's Rock Creek Park by a man walking his dog.

"He was searching for turtles," Ramsey said.

Levy, 24, of Modesto, Calif., disappeared sometime after logging off her computer about 1 p.m. on May 1, 2001. When police searched her apartment they found her wallet, credit card, computer and cell phone. Only her keys were missing.

Police conducted intensive searches in the weeks following her disappearance but turned up no solid clues. They looked at a variety of theories -- murder, suicide or that Levy had gone into hiding or lost her memory.

They also questioned Condit several times. The 54-year-old, married lawmaker denied having anything to do with the disappearance but did eventually acknowledge an affair with her, a police source said.

Police repeatedly said Condit was not a suspect.

The police had found evidence last year on Levy's laptop computer that she had searched a Web site for the park's Klingle Mansion on the day she vanished.

The bones were found about a mile north of the mansion and about four miles away from Levy's apartment. Friends had said Levy frequented the 1,754-acre park, located in northwest Washington.

Levy came to Washington for an internship with the Bureau of Prisons and lived in an apartment. In late April 2001, her internship was abruptly cut short when supervisors learned she was ineligible to continue because she had finished her college coursework the previous December.

A sociable, earnest student who enjoyed travel abroad with her family and staying fit, Levy was last seen April 30 when she canceled her membership at a health club near her apartment.

She had been preparing to return to California for graduation from the University of Southern California and sent her parents, Dr. Robert and Susan Levy, an e-mail on May 1 noting airfares for the trip home.

The Levys called police five days later when they could not reach her, and her father also telephoned Condit asking for his help.

Condit called Levy a good friend and established a reward fund to help find her. In July, he reportedly told police he was having an affair, though publicly he never made such a disclosure, saying only they shared a close relationship.

Condit, abandoned by all but a few Democratic allies, lost the Democratic primary in March to former protege Dennis Cardoza, a state assemblyman.

Levy's mother had recalled her as a strong-willed and independent woman who enjoyed outdoor pursuits such as whitewater rafting and skiing.

At San Francisco State University, Levy studied journalism and worked as a reporter and sports editor at the Golden Gater, the twice-a-week student paper.

In September 2000, the Levys sent their daughter east for a paid internship in the public information office at Bureau of Prisons that would complete her master's degree in public administration from the University of Southern California. Levy hoped to combine her interests in public policy and the criminal justice system.

Within weeks of arriving, Levy and a friend visited Condit's office, where they had their photo snapped with the congressman. He also took them to the House gallery to watch him vote. Within months Levy told family members she was having an affair with Condit.

After her disappearance, police searched Condit's apartment with his consent and obtained a DNA sample from him. Condit submitted to a lie detector test arranged by his lawyer, who said the congressman was found to be truthful when denying any knowledge about what happened to Levy.

A grand jury has been reviewing Levy's disappearance and whether Condit or his aides obstructed the investigation. The grand jury subpoenaed documents from Condit last year.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)