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Chapter 24. Guandique

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Joined: 13 Sep 2002
Posts: 9255
Location: Jacksonville, FL

PostPosted: Mon Apr 18, 2005 8:36 am    Post subject: Chapter 24. Guandique Reply with quote

available from Amazon.com:

Murder On A Horse Trail: The Disappearance of Chandra Levy
by Ralph Daugherty
ISBN: 0-595-31847-9

Murder on a Horse Trail: The Disappearance of Chandra Levy also available free to read online here on www.justiceforchandra.com

1400 Somerset Place NW DC


On May 7, 2001, six days after Chandra disappeared, Ingmar Guandique, 19, was arrested for breaking into a neighboring apartment. His apartment building was on Somerset Place NW, about two miles up Blagden and 16th St. from the intersection of Broad Branch, Beach, and Ridge Roads where one can trek up Western Ridge horse trail to grove 18.

Michael Doyle of the Modesto Bee describes what happened:

A woman in the red-brick apartment building next to
his, close to Rock Creek Park, had come upon him
hiding in the corner of her bedroom.

"She started to scream," the police report stated,
"which caused (him) to flee out the front door."

Police who subsequently searched Guandique found him
with one large screwdriver, two small screwdrivers
and a gold ring that belonged to his neighbor. They
found that the woman's deadbolt had been
"destroyed," and they charged Gaundique with
attempted burglary and released him. [1]

Guandique was a Salvadoran, and friends and family say that he came to America illegally a year and half earlier. Illegal or not, he was arrested, charged with attempted burglary, and released from custody. Is there any reason to think he would behave differently and could now be trusted among us? No, there is not. It is only asking for trouble, and trouble we got.

A week later, May 14, with only the first glimmer of a report of Chandra's disappearance having made it to print, an obviously unchastened Guandique was hanging out near the Broad Branch and Beach intersection. Matthew Cella and Jim Keary of the Washington Times report:

[About] 6:30 p.m. Halle R. Shilling, 30, was jogging
at the Pierce Mill Road parking lot. She was running
north on Beach Drive when she saw Guandeque sitting
on the curb on the west side of the Broad Branch
parking lot.

He began running after her, then caught her. He
pulled a knife on her after grabbing her around the
neck. She screamed, pushed his face with her hand
and fled. [2]

Niles Lathem of the New York Post added this:

She said Guandeque bit her when she tried to push
him away and he fled. [3]

The Washington Post and Modesto Bee quoted a victim impact statement she wrote a year later:

"I began screaming as loud as I could," wrote the
first victim, 30, who had taken a self-defense
course. "We continued to wrestle. He shushed me. I
continued to scream, knowing that the cars driving
by on Beach Drive . . . well hidden from view by the
trees, were drowning out my voice. . .‚. I do not
doubt for a minute that he purposefully stalked me
as a hunter tracks his prey." [4]

"I know, in my gut, that given a chance he would not
hesitate to repeat his crime on some other woman,
and it scares me to think what would happen if she
was not prepared with some sort of self-defense."

At 5-foot-10 and 160 pounds, Shilling was larger
than Guandique. She fought back and,
"inexplicably," she said, he ran away. [5]

And he did strike again. Matthew Cella and Jim Keary of the Washington Times describe it:

Christy C. Wiegand was similarly assaulted by
Guandeque on July 1 about 7:30 p.m., court records
showed. She was jogging on Beach Drive when she saw
Guandeque standing beside the trail. He began to run
after her and grabbed her from behind. He then
pulled her off the trail.

He took out a knife as he held Miss Wiegand, a 26-
year-old lawyer originally from Pittsburgh, by the
chin and covered her mouth because she was
screaming. She freed herself when she felt him lose
his grip. [6]

Helen Kennedy of the New York Daily News adds:

In the second attack, he came up behind the victim
as she reached the crest of a hill. He grabbed her
and they fought, rolling down the hill into a
ravine, where he held a knife to her throat before
she ran away.

"I was terrorized by the knowledge that my life
might end in a ravine in Rock Creek Park," the woman
testified. [7]

Sari Horwitz and Allan Lengel of the Washington Post quoted her court statement:

According to court records, including written
statements from Guandique's victims, the park
assaults were remarkably similar. He went to Rock
Creek Park, fell in behind the women as they were
jogging in isolated sections of the park, jumped
them and pulled them to the ground. In both attacks,
he brandished a knife.

In the second attack, Guandique pulled the woman off
the trail.

"When my attacker dragged me into the ravine,
holding a knife against my throat and covering my
mouth, I thought and still think today that he was
going to rape me or try to kill me," the woman, 26,
wrote. "I feared for my life...

Her assailant "was extremely strong, and with his
hand cutting off my air and the knife at my throat I
didn't feel I could struggle for very long. He was a
bold and practiced attacker . . . [who] waited until
he thought I was fatigued from jogging up a hill and
purposely selected a secluded spot right next to a
deep ravine."

As in the first attack, the woman was able to break
away and flee. Cut and bruised, she flagged down a
motorist and reported the incident to the U.S. Park
Police, who arrested Guandique about 45 minutes
later at Joyce Road and 16th Street NW. She
identified him. Under questioning, he told police
about the earlier incident. [8]

Michael Doyle of the Modesto Bee adds more of her statement:

"What struck me most was that within 10 seconds, I
was off the jogging path in the woods, struggling to
scream and out of sight of any passers-by," recalled
the woman, who at the time was a 26-year-old recent
law school graduate. "Until that day, I never
realized how quickly someone with the advantage of
surprise and a weapon can put a person in a position
of total isolation and helplessness." [9]

This coming from a woman who was a former varsity rower and stood 5 foot 11, weighing 175 pounds. The two women escaped Guandique's attacks, but they were both tall and strong. Chandra was in superb condition and had taken self defense training, but was much more petite than these women at 5 foot 3 and 110 pounds, just one of many good reasons not to be out in the middle of a forest to start with. These women Guandique attacked were running within sight of the heavily travelled Beach Drive.

The second attack was two weeks before the FBI would finally get back to the D.C. police with the information that Chandra had looked up a map of Rock Creek Park on her computer and the subsequent search of the park by police. According to the Washington Post:

D.C. police first spoke to Guandique about the Levy
case in the summer of 2001 after U.S. Park Police
alerted them to his arrest in the jogger assaults,
according to court records. But law enforcement
sources said they found nothing to indicate he was
involved in her disappearance, especially since, at
the time, they weren't aware that her body was in
the park. [10]
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 18, 2005 11:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

They would question Guandique again with a report of one of those infamous "cellmate confessions" that prosecutors trot out when all else is in doubt. Anybody that has ever been in jail knows that instead everyone there claims to be innocent, no one is ever guilty. You would think we live in a crime free society listening to them.

Sari Horwitz and Allan Lengel of the Washington Post wrote of the cellmate confession:

After Guandique's arrest, an inmate at the D.C. jail
told authorities that Guandique had confided in him
that he stabbed Levy and left her body in the park,
law enforcement sources said. The inmate didn't try
to trade the information for a lighter sentence,
saying he came forward because he felt bad for the
Levy family.

In September 2001, the inmate failed a polygraph
test, also administered through an interpreter.
Guandique, who denied involvement in the Levy case,
passed, the sources said, and authorities felt
comfortable that he was not their man. [11]

Guandique may have passed a polygraph test concerning Chandra, but that same month he pleaded guilty to two counts of assault with intent to commit robbery. The Washington Post quotes the court:

In a pre-sentencing memorandum, Assistant U.S.
Attorney Kristina L. Ament called Guandique "a
predator" who, armed with a knife, used the isolated
portions of the park "as a hunting ground, waiting
beside popular running trails, selecting victims and
stalking them."

Guandique, in a plea bargain agreement, admitted
trying to rob the joggers, one on May 14, 2001 - two
weeks after Levy disappeared - and the other on July
1, 2001. At his sentencing Feb. 8, D.C. Superior
Court Judge Noel A. Kramer said the attacks appeared
to be more than attempted robberies.

Guandique "went out of his way for a physical
encounter that ended up, at least in one instance,
out of sight, in a ravine in Rock Creek Park," the
judge said, according to a transcript. "This is not
a run-of-the-mill robbery. . .‚. Mr. Guandique is
ready to terrorize people, ready to have a physical
encounter. . .‚. [H]e is highly dangerous." [12]

Let there be no doubt. How dangerous? A man in Minnesota served 23 years for stabbing and trying to kidnap a woman, this with a previous conviction of rape. Did he spend 23 years thinking of ways he could make amends to his fellow citizens once he was released? No. He apparently spent 23 years figuring out better ways to get away with rape and murder. He was out only seven months before kidnapping Dru Sjodin, 22, from a North Dakota mall parking lot. She has still not been found as of this writing.

A man in Florida was arrested 13 times in 10 years, including kidnapping and false imprisonment charges. CNN reports on the incident, of which the man was acquitted a year later:

According to records from the Manatee County
Sheriff's Department, a woman said Smith grabbed her
as she was walking along a street and threatened to
"cut her if she failed to remain quiet."
A passing vehicle stopped and intervened, allowing
her to flee, the record said.

The records also said Smith told authorities "he had
been in an altercation earlier" that evening "and
wanted somebody to walk with."

A few months before the incident in Manatee, Smith
was convicted of carrying a concealed weapon -- a
knife, according to his arrest record from the
Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Smith has faced numerous drug charges, and in 2001
was convicted of heroin possession, possession of
controlled substances, and attempting to obtain
controlled substances by fraudulent means. He served
a little more than a year in prison. He was on
probation when he was arrested Tuesday. [13]

On probation, but roaming around looking for prey. A video surveillance camera caught him kidnapping 11 year old Carlie Brucia walking through a car wash parking lot. I think a little bit of life got sucked out of this country when we saw the evil of a man kidnapping a little girl walking home. I know it did from me. And our hearts sank further when she was found behind a church on a nearby highway.

Both men that killed Dru Sjodin and Carlie Brucia had been charged with assault earlier where the women got away. So now has Guandique. Guandique was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Will he or other men who attack women kidnap a woman and make her disappear when they get out of prison like these men did? Do we dare let these predators roam free unmonitored to find out?

After Chandra was found, the proximity of time and place of her disappearance to Guandique's attacks refocused attention on him, and rightfully so. However, although Beach Drive is on one side of a hill with grove 18 near the top, and Broad Branch Road runs around to the other side of the hill, there is a hill in between, a rather large hill.

It has been suggested that Guandique may have walked up Broad Branch Road from the site of his later attacks and then entered the path at Grant along the creek in the hopes of finding a passing woman on Western Ridge trail above to attack.

A person would have to dodge so much traffic on Broad Branch as they walked along the side of the road that they would have to fear being seen and remembered by several drivers when the victim was found and the crime reported. He would have to walk in traffic for more than a mile, then enter off the road, uphill at 45 degrees for hundreds of yards, then lay in wait on a path seldom used.

Not likely, especially when he would be passing Western Ridge trail at Ridge Road and could walk up that instead. Assuming Chandra actually was on an isolated horse trail deep in a forest, did Guandique follow her up from the intersection of Broad Branch, Ridge, and Beach?

If he had, he would have gone from a man who attacked a woman on a trail, subdued her, tied her up with her own leggings, then murdered her and stole her jewelry to a man six days later who ran out of a neighbor's apartment with a ring when she caught him and screamed. Quite a change in behavior for a cold blooded killer who ties leggings into knots.

His family said he had a serious drug problem. He was a petty thief, with pending charges of attempted burglary even as he assaulted two women joggers. A petty thief would have pawned the jewelry or given them to his girlfriend.

The police put out a national APB on Chandra's ring for the entire public, including pawnbrokers, to keep a lookout for the ring and report it if seen. It has not been found.

Guandique had also taken a lie detector test, administered by the U.S. Attorney's Office, and passed. The inmate to whom Guandique allegedly confessed heard Guandique say that he stabbed Chandra and left her in the park, this of course after the highly publicized searches of Rock Creek Park. Now that Chandra was found, it could be seen that her clothes had no blood on them from her being stabbed. Just one of many reasons the inmate had failed his lie detector test, one can imagine.

Some new information became available, though, and the Washington Post reported:

A grand jury has subpoenaed friends of a man who is
now the focus of the Chandra Levy investigation,
among them an apartment manager who has told The
Washington Post that the man had facial scratches
and a cut, swollen lip around the time the former
federal intern disappeared.

Sheila Cruz, the manager of a building on Somerset
Place NW where Ingmar Guandique lived, said she can
place the time she saw the facial abrasions as late
April or early May because it was shortly before
Guandique, then 19, was arrested May 7, 2001, for
breaking into an apartment in the complex.

Levy, whose remains were found in Rock Creek Park
this spring, disappeared May 1, 2001.

Guandique blamed his wounds on his girlfriend,
saying she had hit him, Cruz said. But the former
girlfriend, in an interview, said she had not caused
the injuries to his face. She said she never saw the
scratches and swollen lip. She described a
relationship that was on and off and had become
tumultuous by May 2001.

Cruz was subpoenaed late Wednesday night, hours
after she was interviewed by The Post. Her
boyfriend, one of Guandique's friends, also was

Guandique's former girlfriend, Iris Portillo, and
her mother said in an interview that they were
called to the U.S. attorney's office last month.
Portillo, 20, said she took detectives to a spot in
Rock Creek Park where she had gone with Guandique,
less than a mile from where Levy's remains were
found. She said investigators took a gold bracelet,
which she said was a gift from Guandique in early
2001, and a necklace....

Portillo said she and Guandique had several fights
during the months he lived with her in early 2001,
including one in which he bit her just above the
breast. Another time, she said, he put his hands
around her neck, in a choking manner. Once, she
said, he punched her in the nose.

In late May or early June 2001, she said, Guandique
moved out of the Somerset Place building and began
staying with a friend in Maryland.

"He hit me a lot, and I was scared of him," Portillo
said. "But I don't believe he killed anyone." [14]

Chandra disappeared May 1, and Guandique was arrested May 7 for burglary. His landlady pinpointed his arrest as when he had facial injuries. This was a few days after Chandra disappeared and is used to make Guandique a suspect. If this is true, such memorable facial injuries should appear in Guandique's May 7 mugshot.

True, Guandique is a predator, but a predator who didn't know Chandra. Whoever took her jewelry didn't pawn it, and they hid her body. That sounds like a predator all right, but a predator who knew Chandra.
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 18, 2005 11:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Next chapter - Woman Missing

Murder on a Horse Trail - Table of Contents

Guandique trial

Guandique Murder Analysis

Guandique charged with Chandra's murder - Analysis

Washington Post investigation of Chandra Levy cold case

Judge hears issue raised about Guandique witness

1. Doyle, Michael. “Investigators try to tie suspect to Levy’s death.” Modesto Bee
5 Oct. 2002.

2. Cella, Matthew and Jim Keary. “Police believe Levy’s body was put at site.”
Washington Times 24 May 2002.

3. Lathem, Niles and Andy Geller. “D.C. Cops Want to Grill Condit for 5th
Time.” Washington Post 24 May 2002.

4. Horitz, Sari and Allan Lengel. “Police Take New Look at Man as Potential
Suspect in Levy Case.” Washington Post 29 Sept. 2002.

5. Doyle, Michael. “Investigators try to tie suspect to Levy’s death.” Modesto Bee
5 Oct. 2002.

6. Cella, Matthew and Jim Keary. “Police believe Levy’s body was put at site.”
Washington Times 24 May 2002.

7. Kennedy, Helen. “Chandra Cops Stymied.” New York Daily News 24 May

8. Horitz, Sari and Allan Lengel. “Police Take New Look at Man as Potential
Suspect in Levy Case.” Washington Post 29 Sept. 2002.

9. Doyle, Michael. “Investigators try to tie suspect to Levy’s death.” Modesto Bee
5 Oct. 2002.

10. Horitz, Sari and Allan Lengel. “Police Take New Look at Man as Potential
Suspect in Levy Case.” Washington Post 29 Sept. 2002.

11. Ibid.

12. Ibid.

13. “Housemate tips police to Smith after seeing video.” CNN 5 Feb. 2004.

14. “Man’s Friends Face Levy Case Grand Jury.” Washington Post 4 Oct. 2002.

“Girl’s family wants to know why suspect was free.” CNN 8 Feb. 2004.

“Sister of missing student suspect asked to keep tabs on him.” CNN 7 Dec.

Stacy, Mitch. “Man Questioned in Girl’s Taped Abduction.” Associated Press 4
Feb. 2004.
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