A Salvadoran immigrant convicted of attacking two women in the park where Chandra Levy’s remains were found was expected to be arrested in the next few days in the former intern’s slaying, a person close to the investigation said.
An arrest would cap a revived investigation into the 2001 killing that had gone cold for years after destroying the career of former U.S. Rep. Gary Condit of California.
Investigators in 2002 questioned Ingmar Guandique, now 27, in the slaying after he was convicted of attacking two women joggers in Washington’s Rock Creek Park. They didn’t charge him, but statements he made to people while in prison helped lead investigators back to him, said the person, who was not authorized to discuss the case publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity Saturday.
A law enforcement official who has spoken to investigators said the break came in part from DNA evidence that was either retested or collected, and it was connected to Guandique. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because the Levy investigation is ongoing.
Local prosecutors have convened a grand jury in the District of Columbia, and an arrest warrant is expected within the next few days, the officials said. Levy’s father, Robert Levy, said Washington, D.C., Police Chief Cathy Lanier called his home late Friday and said the same thing.
Chandra Levy was 24 and had just completed an internship with the U.S. Bureau of Prisons when she disappeared in May 2001 after leaving her Washington, D.C., apartment. The Modesto, Calif., woman was wearing jogging clothes when she vanished, and a man walking his dog found her skull and bones in the park a year later.
Authorities questioned Condit, her congressman, in the disappearance, but he was never a suspect in her death. Condit, a popular Democrat for a dozen years in his district, was reportedly having an affair with Levy, and the negative publicity from the case was cited as the main reason for his overwhelming primary loss in 2002.
Guandique was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for attacking two women in the park. The federal Bureau of Prisons lists an inmate in California with the same sentence and age, but with the spelling Guandigue instead of Guandique. A message seeking comment was not returned.
One of his victims in the park attacks, Halle Shilling, told The Washington Post that new prosecutors and detectives apologized to her because prior investigators had never interviewed her in the Levy case.
"They said they were so sorry it took so long to talk to me," Shilling said. "They really want to get to the bottom of this, and they are not going to sleep well until they get a conviction."
Robert Levy said he and his wife, Susan, were not told who would be arrested, "but we all know who it is." He would not elaborate but said they would favor a life sentence for the killer.
"If someone is executed, they really don’t suffer too much," he said from his home in Modesto.
Abbe Lowell, an attorney for Condit, said the revelations clear the former congressman.
Condit did not return several messages left by The Associated Press but said in a statement to WJLA-TV in Washington that he is glad the Levy family is finally getting answers.
"I had always hoped to have the opportunity to tell my side of this story, but too many were not prepared to listen. Now I plan to do so, but I will have no further comments on this story at this time," he said in the statement, posted on the station’s Web site.
After Condit lost, he sued several media outlets that had connected him to Levy’s disappearance and death. He reached an undisclosed settlement with three tabloid newspapers.
Lanier, the D.C. police chief, said Saturday that she could not comment out of respect for the Levy family and the investigators and prosecutors who have worked on the case.
Associated Press writers Matt Apuzzo in Washington and Samantha Young in Modesto, Calif., contributed to this report.