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Chapter 14. Stonewalling

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 18, 2005 8:53 am    Post subject: Chapter 14. Stonewalling 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
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 19, 2005 6:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


The D.C. police, apparently deciding a week was long enough to see if a body showed up, made a return visit to Chandra's apartment on Monday May 14 for "any possible forensic evidence". [1] They retrieved Chandra's diary, laptop computer, cell phone records and the Newport security videotapes.

The 10 day recycling period of the security tapes was just expiring from the time the Levys first reported Chandra missing to the D.C. police on Saturday May 5. It had long expired from when she disappeared on Tuesday May 1. The failure, even refusal, of the Newport manager to help the parents and landlord and save the tapes for the police to deal with Chandra's disappearance in the days following a scream and a 911 call would haunt any efforts to determine what happened to Chandra. Was there something on those tapes that somebody didn't want to be seen?

With the D.C. police rebuffing help from the Modesto police, ordering them to turn over anything they had and cease investigating while telling Dr. and Mrs. Levy nothing, the Levys were outraged. The Washington Post quotes Jennifer Baker:

"They are fuming at the lack of cooperation, and
they want some answers," Jennifer Baker said of
Chandra Ann Levy's parents, Susan and Robert Levy.
"They have no idea what's going on with the
investigation." [2]

They flew in to Washington on Tuesday May 15, telling the Modesto Bee:

"I'm going to get some answers, and I hope they are
doing their job. If they are not, we're going to
find out, and we're going to get somebody to do the
job," Susan Levy said. "We just want to get this
case solved and to bring our daughter home alive."

Susan Levy told MSNBC that she encourages Condit to "share what he does know" about Chandra's disappearance and would not rule out that he had something to do with it. This set the press off in a tizzy and before the day was out she told the Modesto Bee:

Reporters ask leading and "tricky" questions and
sometimes the media misrepresents what she says. "I
haven't accused the congressman of anything.
Everybody is thinking I'm making accusations, but I

"I didn't say my daughter was having a relationship.
I don't know anything yet that is to be publicly
said." [4]

Condit wasn't talking, but his staff was. Michael Lynch, Condit's California chief of staff, volunteered that at about the time of Chandra's disappearance, Condit's wife Carolyn was staying in Washington with him to attend a congressional spouses' luncheon, and that as far as he knew she had never met Chandra. [5] Michael Dayton, Condit's Washington chief of staff, helped distribute posters and said "I just wish there was more we could do." [6]

Unbelievably, no poster was on display at the Washington Sports Club where Chandra was last seen. Michael Doyle and J.N. Sbranti of the Modesto Bee report on one neighborhood activist who couldn't believe it:

A 31-year-old public relations specialist who lives
across the street from Levy's 10-story condominium
building said Monday that she's been disappointed in
the lack of neighborhood publicity about Levy's

Susan, who asked that her last name not be used,
said the Police Department's missing posters were
themselves missing from some obvious locations --
including the Connecticut Avenue gym where Levy was
last seen.

The woman said she asked the gym's receptionist over
the weekend where the posters were; the gym manager
had the posters but hadn't put them up yet.

"I said, 'I can't believe you don't have one up,'"
Susan said. "That's ridiculous."

The poster still wasn't up at the Washington Sports
Club gym Monday morning. Gym officials referred all
questions to their New York headquarters, which
could not be reached for comment.

On her own, Susan distributed posters throughout the
Dupont Circle neighborhood where Levy moved during
the fall. [7]

Helen Kennedy reports in the New York Daily News that friends described Chandra as "a careful person who was afraid to walk the streets alone and preferred policy to parties". She kept her relationship "a deep, dark secret" according to Sven Jones, her friend at the Bureau of Prisons who she confided in most.

Ironically, the Washington police brought in the FBI to help find Chandra and the mystery boyfriend who she had told Jennifer Baker worked in the FBI. The FBI and police said the FBI assisting in a joint investigation was not unusual, that the District of Columbia is under the jurisdiction of the federal government, and that they provide assistance with forensic evidence in district cases.

Whether they considered it unusual that a missing woman had a boyfriend in the political world that she kept so secret it worried her friends was not addressed publically, but they were provided the e-mails from the friends in California that Chandra kept in touch with.

These friends provided e-mails that indicated her boyfriend was affiliated with Congress and "took care of her plane ticket" for a trip to California for school. Michael Doyle followed up on that in the Modesto Bee by noting:

In discussing how her apparent boyfriend paid for
her air travel, Chandra Levy did not specify whether
public or private funds were used for purchasing the
airline ticket. It is a violation of congressional
rules to use public funding for private purposes. It
also establishes a potential public-interest
connection to what might otherwise be deemed an
essentially private matter. [8]

He later reported:

"Chandra was a very practical young lady, and she
didn't need frivolous things, (but) she was going
back for her testing in November (or) December,"
Zamsky recalled. "So he supposedly bought her
airline tickets for one of those trips or both of
those trips back."

Condit's campaign treasury did not report paying for
cross-country air travel during November or
December, though his House office account did report
paying for Condit to fly from San Francisco to
Washington on Dec. 14.

But besides campaign and House office funds, House
members also enjoy access to frequent-flier miles
accumulated in the course of congressional travel.

House members can give the frequent-flier miles to
whomever they want, without any need to make a
public report. Condit's trips home to his district
amount to more than 100,000 frequent-flier miles a

One former Condit employee, speaking on condition of
anonymity, told The Bee that it was her
understanding that the congressman gave his friends
frequent-flier miles accumulated in the course of
his congressional travel. [9]

Although Doyle allowed for the possibilty that Chandra had legally been given frequent-flier miles to use in her round trip between Washington and Sacramento for her finals in December, he pointed out that Condit's office account had paid for Condit to fly from San Francisco to Washington on December 14.

December 14, 2000 was a Thursday. Condit likely was already home for Christmas, but if he wasn't yet, he surely was not flying from San Francisco to Washington on a Thursday. But Chandra was.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 19, 2005 6:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chandra had written in her e-mail to a friend as reported by the Modesto Bee:

"My short trip to California wasn't much fun, I was
sick when I was in Sacramento, and I only got to go
home for one night before I flew back to D.C.," Levy
wrote. "The nice thing is that the man I'm seeing
took care of my plane ticket for me!" [10]

She was only home one night for that trip back to take her finals in Sacramento. What night was that? Her dad had taken a video of her that night and joked as narrator that "Chandra told us all about her adventures in D.C., the Bureau of Prisons, and her congressman friend". [11] Larry King saw that video and remarked to the Levys in an interview:

Did you know that she was having an affair? There
was a phone conversation. Dr. Levy, you are heard on
videotape -- I think on December 13 -- talking about
your congressman friend. [12]

Chandra was home for one night on December 13, returning to Washington on December 14, the same Thursday that Condit's office account paid for him to fly back to Washington from San Francisco. Condit frequently flied from Washington to San Francisco on Thursdays, not the other way around.

Was it Condit that flew back on Thursday, or illegal use of Congressional funds to fly Chandra back? Michael Doyle handed a gift wrapped ethics violation to Congress, the FBI, and the D.C. police to investigate. What did they do with it? Nothing.

It was ignored. Instead, fellow members of Congress had been led to believe Condit flew back religiously to Modesto to tend to a sick wife. A former Blue Dog Democrat, a group of conservative Democrats that Condit co-founded, was quoted by Timothy Burger of the New York Daily News:

"It makes you hurt to see this going on," said ex-
Rep. Bill Brewster of Oklahoma, who called some of
the stories linking Condit to the missing woman "a
real stretch."

Married at 19 and a father of two, Condit has spent
years nursing his chronically ill wife.

"She's had a real battle," said Brewster, who also
was a Blue Dog. "I know Gary's taken her to
hospitals in a lot of different places." [13]

Granted, he was nicknamed "Mr. Blow Dry" by some in Congress for his always perfect hair and smoothness, but his constituents in San Joaquin Valley didn't believe Condit had anything improper to do with Chandra either. Typical were comments such as this in the Modesto Bee:

"Nothing in this world would make me believe he had
an affair. He's a big family man," said Jacque
MacDonald of Merced.

She got to know Condit, 53, a decade ago after her
daughter, Debra Whitlock, was murdered in Modesto.
The congressman posted a reward to help catch the

"I admire, trust and respect Gary, and I'll support
him to the end," MacDonald said. [14]

But the Levys flew in and did tell the police they suspected he was the mystery politician who was their missing daughter's boyfriend and, as DePaulo pointed out on Crossfire, "in a missing person case, by definition, you have to focus on the people closest to the person." And as Paul Katz pointed out to Larry King:

Well, Larry, I guess that the thing that has been
nudging and bothering me is that the police
department had the knowledge of the affair with Mr.
Condit and my niece Chandra from the 15th of May...
and they had this information, and yet, you know,
one gets the feeling that it was suppressed, for
whatever reason, for such a long period of time and
that's been very frustrating. [15]

Indeed, Niles Lathem was reporting in the New York Post that Condit "continued stonewalling authorities". Those authorities, the D.C. police and FBI, were trying to figure out why Chandra's luggage was found packed in her apartment but not able to find where she had made travel arrangements.

The packed luggage was overstated and in actuality she was not as imminently on her way out the door as they believed from the first blush look at her apartment by Washington detectives, but still no travel reservations could be found to have been made. Why was there such a delay in Chandra purchasing a ticket to get home? In a continuing parents' nightmare with "privacy" laws, even the privacy of a young woman whose search was being covered on national television, Amtrak would not tell the Levys whether their daughter had made reservations, but the FBI told them she hadn't. They also could not get phone records from Verizon nearly three weeks after she had disappeared, even though they received the monthly bills.

Washington police Chief Gainer told 9 Eyewitness News that they had about 40 open missing persons cases they were investigating. "Most of the people are either found or come back on their own," he told them. He expounded further to the Washington Post:

"The easy thing to think is that she packed up and
ran away, but there's no evidence to support that,"
he said. "But we still can't exclude that. But my
police instinct is that she didn't walk away,
because the things to support that aren't there."

"When you're looking for a missing person, you start
with concentric circles, and the theory is that the
center of that circle is her home," Gainer said.
"What we are doing is going out like a ripple in the
water and spreading out the search area, from the
epicenter, to further away." [16]

They executed on that theory, dragging the Potomac and Anacostia rivers and searching wooded areas near Dupont Circle with cadaver dogs trained to sniff for bodies. The search included "an area around the South Capitol Street Bridge on the Anacostia and a portion of the Potomac around Reagan National Airport", police spokeman Gentile said, but the use of cadaver dogs was just standard procedure and didn't assume Chandra was dead. [17]

The police also obtained a court warrant for a search of Chandra's apartment "so that anything removed from the premises could be used later as evidence in any court proceeding", spokesman Joe Gentile told the Associated Press. They sent their mobile crime unit to search for blood and fiber but found nothing amiss. Her cell phone and laptop were sent to the FBI lab for them to retrieve information about calls and e-mails. They also obtained search warrants for her e-mail and credit card accounts to get information and determine if she was still accessing them.

Petula Dvorak and Allan Lengel of the Washington Post wrote this insight into the thinking of Executive Assistant Police Chief Gainer and searching for a missing woman:

Gainer said that investigators are operating on the
crime solvers' maxim that people such as Levy, if
they've met with foul play, are most often victims
of someone they know. But without forensic clues,
they have to treat Levy as a "critical missing
person" rather than a homicide.

"There just has to be some physical piece of
evidence that would make us change the case," Gainer
said. "Give me some blood in this thing, give me
some body fluids, give me some remains."

The most logical and statistically sound course of
investigation is to look at people closest to the
missing person, said James A. Fox, criminal justice
professor at Northeastern University in Boston.

"First, you don't eliminate anyone as a suspect,"
said Fox, who helps maintain homicide statistics for
the Bureau of Justice Statistics. "Sometimes those
with the closest relationship have the greatest
motive for murder."

Statistics show that people such as Levy -- white
women 20 to 29 -- are most often killed by someone
they know. According to Fox's figures, collected
from 1976 to 1999, 31 percent of female homicide
victims in this age group were killed by their
husbands. Seventeen percent were killed by
boyfriends, 31 percent by co-workers, neighbors or
friends and 4 percent by other relatives. Only 13
percent of the women died at the hands of a
stranger. [18]

Only 13 percent of women in Chandra's category died at the hands of a stranger in the previous two decades according to Bureau of Justice Statistics, but when the police attempted to obtain a search warrant for Condit's apartment, someone they were told was her boyfriend, Washington police say they were "hampered" by Justice Department rules about approaching a member of Congress in any investigation. The Washington Times goes on to clarify:

But a well-placed federal official said those rules
never applied to D.C. police and simply require a
U.S. attorney to inform higher-ups when an
investigation focuses on a member of Congress. [19]

That U.S Attorney, who would have to inform higher-ups that an investigation was focusing on a member of Congress, instead told the D.C. police they didn't have probable cause for a search warrant. No one in Washington wanted to touch this. Then again, that is how bureaucrats survive, even if a citizen didn't.

The police, not being allowed to look at Condit's apartment by the politically appointed U.S. Attorney, talked to residents of Condit's condo building, a four-story building called The Lynshire, asking if people had seen her in trying to establish if Chandra was a frequent visitor there. She wasn't well known there.

But interestingly, the police searched a "jogging path in Rock Creek Park, where Chandra regularly walked". [20] How would police know that Chandra regularly walked on a jogging path in Rock Creek Park, a park that runs for miles through the District and alongside Condit's street, Adams Mill?

There were no friends in Washington to tell the police this except Sven Jones, and he didn't tell them this. Jennifer Baker was her closest friend who had returned to California, and she didn't tell them this. So who told the police that Chandra regularly walked in Rock Creek Park, and why?

Also strangely, Andrea Mitchell of NBC News reports that friends say Chandra was seen with Condit socially, but again no known friends of Chandra said this. More curiously, Bob Franken told Greta Van Susteren that the next day after Chandra was last seen at the gym "friends went to her apartment and found her identification card, credit cards and packed suitcases". Someone was feeding these high powered reporters a lot of information about friends that didn't exist. Who were they, and why?

One friend who did exist, Jennifer Baker, remained puzzled as the police continued to investigate a missing persons case. Jennifer told the Los Angeles Times: "It seems to be more than that. With this sort of thing, I say leave no stone unturned!"

It seemed to be more than a missing person to everyone except those who didn't want it investigated, it seems.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 19, 2005 6:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Next chapter - Luray

Murder on a Horse Trail - Table of Contents

1. Santana, Arthur. “Lack of Information Leaves Family Frustrated.” Washington
Post 16 May 2001.

2. Ibid.

3. Doyle, Michael and J. N. Sbranti. “D.C. police reject local assistance in search
for missing Modesto woman.” Modesto Bee 15 May 2001.

4. Whitney, David and J.N. Sbranti. “Levys navigate ‘tricky’ media encounters.”
Modesto Bee 15 May 2001.

5. Ibid.

6. Doyle, Michael and J. N. Sbranti. “D.C. police reject local assistance in search
for missing Modesto woman.” Modesto Bee 15 May 2001.

7. Ibid.

8. Doyle, Michael “Levy’s parents field D.C. media barrage.” Modesto Bee 18
May 2001.

9. Doyle, Michael. “Condit’s gift giving could be an issue.” Modesto Bee 22 July

10. Ibid.

11. Lauerman, Kerry. “The congressman, the missing intern and the mother.”
Salon. 22 June 2001. http://www.salon.com .

12. Levy, Robert and Susan. Interview with Larry King. Larry King Live. CNN.
15 Aug. 2001. Transcript.

13. Burger, Timothy J. “Solid Rep as Partier.” New York Daily News 20 May

14. Sbranti, J.N. and Michael Doyle. “Condit still has valley’s trust.” Modesto
Bee 20 May 2001.

15. Olson, Barbara, Mike Geragos, Cynthia Alksne, Julian Epstein, and Lisa
DePaulo. “Will Chandra Levy ever be found?” Interview with Larry King. Larry
King Live. CNN. 30 July 2001. Transcript.

16. Santana, Arthur. “Search Intensifies for Missing Intern.” Washington Post 17
May 2001.

17. Ibid.

18. Dvorak, Petula and Allan Lengel. “Absent evidence, Levy probe stalls.”
Washington Post 9 Sept. 2001.

19. “Police Keep Quiet on Levy Investigation.” Washington Times 23 Aug.

20. Fields-Meyer, Thomas, Champ Clark, Michael Fleeman, Macon Morehouse
and J. Todd Foster. “Searching For Chandra.” People 25 June 2001: 87.
Baker, Jennifer. Interview with Greta Van Susteren. The Point. CNN. 17 May
2001. Transcript.

“Condit’s neighbors surveyed.” Modesto Bee 19 May 2001.

Depaulo, Lisa. “Have the Media Devoted Too Much Coverage to Chandra
Levy’s Disappearance?” Interview with Tucker Carlson. Cross Fire. CNN. 18 Jul.
2001. Transcript.

Doyle, Michael. “P.M. Update: Missing Modesto woman’s parents meet with
police.” Modesto Bee 17 May 2001.

Fahrenthold, David A. and Arthur Santana. “Lots of Attention but Little News
As Search for Intern Continues.” Washington Post 18 May 2001.

“Intern Told Friend of Relationship With Congressman.” Fox News 18 May

Jackson, Robert L. “Police Dogs Search Woods for USC Student.” Los Angeles
Times 17 May 2001.

Kennedy, Helen “D.C. Cops Mystified As Intern Vanishes.” New York Daily
News 16 May 2001.

Kennedy, Helen. “Intern Visited Pol.” New York Daily News 17 May 2001.

Lathem, Niles and Dan Mangan. “Mystery Beau Paid For Missing Intern’s Airfare.”
New York Post 19 May 2001.

Lengel, Allan and Andrew DeMillo. “Flight Attendant Spends 6 Hours With
Investigators.” Washington Post 12 July 2001.

Lengel, Allan and Petula Dvorak. “Mother asks for help to find missing daughter.”
Washington Post 18 May 2001.

Mitchell, Andrea. “Parents of Missing Student arrive in D.C. to look for
answers.” NBC News 16 May 2001.

“Police Find Pair of Running Shoes.” 9 Eyewitness News 17 July 2001.

Yost, Pete. “Police to Search Missing Woman’s Apt.” Associated Press 18 May

Zamora, Jim Herron. “Modesto woman is missing in Washington, D.C.: Police
begin bicoastal search for grad student.” San Francisco Chronicle 13 May 2001.
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