Police Search For Clues About What Killed Levy; Might Question Condit Again

By MARK SHERMAN, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) - Police resumed searching Friday for evidence about what caused Chandra Levy's death, using a device normally employed at car accidents to try to determine how the intern's remains wound up where they were found.

The partial remains of Levy, 24, of Modesto, Calif., were scattered on a steep embankment in a thickly wooded area of sprawling Rock Creek Park in northwest Washington.

Investigators used a device called a "total station" to create a computer grid of the search area. The device normally is used at traffic accidents to measure skid marks and other evidence to determine how crashes occurred.

Investigators in the Levy case are using it to plot coordinates where remains and other evidence were found. For instance, the device might be able to tell police whether the body was dumped and rolled down the embankment.

Police have said little about the remains, other than to say the skull was not "pristine" and the bones were scattered. Clothing including tennis shoes, a jogging bra and a sweat shirt also were found.

Investigators are talking to nearby residents and joggers to see if they recall anything unusual on May 1, 2001, when police believe Levy (pictured, above) disappeared. They also may re-interview people, including Rep. Gary Condit, D-Calif., and a man convicted of assaulting joggers in the same park where Chandra Levy's remains were found.

Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey said investigators interviewed the man months ago after U.S. Park Police alerted them to his arrest. "He said nothing to implicate himself with her, but then again we didn't know she was in Rock Creek Park," Ramsey said Thursday.

He cautioned against calling the man a suspect, noting that the medical examiner still has not determined how Levy, a former federal intern, died and that the case remains a "death investigation."

According to court papers, the man, Ingmar Guandique, 20, attacked a woman on May 14, 2001, and another on July 1 not far from where Levy's body was found. The women told police they were jogging when a man with a knife grabbed them. Both fought and escaped.

Both women were carrying portable radios and wearing headphones when they were attacked, according to a description of the cases provided by the U.S. attorney's office. Police said they found a radio and headphones among Levy's remains.

Condit has acknowledged an affair with Levy, a police source says, but denies any involvement in her disappearance. Police interviewed him four times and repeatedly have said he is not a suspect.

Dr. Jonathan Arden, Washington's medical examiner, would not comment on the condition of Levy's remains or what he had learned so far. Because police could turn up new evidence, Arden said he probably would not determine the manner of death until next week.

The Levy family pressed to have the case classified as a homicide, and Ramsey said, "I wouldn't be surprised if it were." Indications in that direction included the former government intern's age and good fitness, as well as the discovery of her remains beneath leaves and underbrush "off the beaten path" in the park, Ramsey said.

Her body was found Wednesday by a man walking his dog. The remains were identified through dental records.

D.C. police said search teams combing the park last summer never reached the sloping thicket where Levy's remains were located, The Washington Post reported in its Friday editions. The site was several hundred yards beyond the range of their standard canvassing patterns, the Post said.

Investigators were sifting through dirt and leaves at the site looking for blood, hairs, clothing fibers or other evidence that could help determine when and how she died. Ramsey would not say whether any evidence of foul play had been found.

A spokesman for the Levy family said a memorial service will be held next Tuesday at Modesto's Community Center.

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