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Chapter 13. Investigation

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 18, 2005 8:54 am    Post subject: Chapter 13. Investigation 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 6:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


The Levys were mentioning a congressman boyfriend to the D.C. police from their very first call to report her missing on Saturday, May 5. The Washington Times reports: "The Levys were somewhat brushed off by the police. They didn't get very far at first," said a source with access to police and FBI investigators.

Chandra's friends knew about a mystery boyfriend with political connections, such as the "...My man will be coming back here when Congress starts up again. I'm looking forward to seeing him." e-mail. But despite their suspicions, the Levys didn't air them publically. Susan Levy would answer all questions about the political boyfriend being Gary Condit by saying "that as far as she knows, the relationship between her daughter and Condit was strictly professional." [1]

As far as Jennifer Baker knew, her friend's boyfriend was in the FBI, and this made things all the more confusing for the Levys and police investigators. The San Francisco Chronicle talked to her:

One friend in Washington, D.C, was a fellow graduate
student who worked as an intern in Condit's office
last fall.

"I find it unbelievable that she has just
disappeared," said Jennifer Baker of Sacramento, who
spent yesterday e-mailing flyers to friends to post
in Washington and other cities.

...Investigators are trying to reach a mysterious
possible boyfriend that she began dating in late
December. She never mentioned his existence to her
parents and only talked of him in passing to Baker
and other D.C. friends.

"She once said she was dating this guy from the FBI,
but then she started talking about something else,"
Baker said. "She never brought him up again (in
later phone conversations or e-mail exchanges). I
wish I had thought to ask." [2]

But Jennifer found more than Chandra's disappearance unbelievable. Arthur Santana of the Washington Post reports:

Baker said Levy mentioned in late November a new
boyfriend who worked with the FBI and last mentioned
him in an e-mail in January. Baker said the two
never talked in detail about the man. "She didn't
tell me much about him," Baker said. "It just didn't
seem important at the time."

Police spokesman Sgt. Joe Gentile declined to say
whether police were searching for such a man, and
Executive Assistant Police Chief Terrance W. Gainer
said he was unaware that Levy had a boyfriend.
"People need to know that kind of thing," Baker
said. "Should they be looking for a certain guy?"

Baker delayed starting a new job with California Assemblywoman Jenny Oropeza for a couple of weeks when Chandra disappeared to organize rallies in Modesto and Sacramento to publicize the search. "We were all pretty traumatized," she told the Modesto Bee.

If the police were confused about a secret boyfriend, they weren't the only ones who thought Chandra had just wandered off. Linda Zamsky told Fox News: "At first when she went missing, I thought maybe she had gone off on her own," Zamsky said of her thoughts when she first heard the 24-year-old had disappeared. "We still think that someone abducted her."

But by Wednesday, May 9, when the Levys would have been heading to Los Angeles for Chandra's graduation at USC, they instead got in contact with a local organization that helps locate missing loved ones, the Carole Sund/Carrington Memorial Reward Foundation. Susan Levy told the Washington Post that she had taken a card from their booth at a local festival a while back, but "Little did I ever know that I would be in a situation of having to call them."

Also by Wednesday the police, responding to Chandra's parents calls asking about Condit, first questioned him. Helen Kennedy of the New York Daily News reports that Condit told the police that Chandra was a friend who had visited his apartment and then "refused to elaborate." Niles Lathem of the New York Post reports how police sources describe the first questioning of Condit on May 9:

He initially said the grad student visited his D.C.
apartment four or five times, but denied having an
affair with her.

Condit, 53, whose wife lives at their California
home, has daughters about the same age as Levy, who
disappeared 19 days ago. He was trying to help her
get a job in the FBI or Justice Department when she

Asked if cops would search Condit's D.C. residence,
police spokesman Kervin Johnson said, "For what
reason? This is a missing-persons case." [4]

Police sources told the Washington Times that "Mr. Condit answered most questions about Miss Levy, 'but he found a way to avoid answering one question' -- whether the two had been intimate."

Whether Jennifer Baker had been offered an unpaid internship as cover for Chandra's relationship with Condit or not, they had walked into Condit's office together, but the New York Daily News reports: "His staff said they thought Condit had met Levy only once or twice in passing when she visited a friend who worked in his office." The Washington Post quotes Michael Dayton on this cover story:

Mike Dayton, Condit's spokesman in Washington, said
Levy first came by the office in early October with
Baker, who was an intern in Condit's office. Since
then, Dayton estimated, Levy returned to Condit's
office six times, usually to ask for things like
White House tour tickets, or to ask for schedules of
events on Capitol Hill. He said the last visit was
about five weeks ago. [5]

That visit five weeks before the May 17 date of this Washington Post quote would seem to be during the April 7 to April 22 Easter-Passover recess for Congress, establishing the last visit to the office when neither Condit or Baker was there. Did she really make that visit? Who did she talk to? Dayton would likely want us to believe she was looking for yet another White House tour ticket. Was Dayton there and saw her? Who was there when she was supposed to have visited with neither Condit nor Jennifer there, who made the entry that she was there, and when?

And although the Levys had never met Gary or Carolyn Condit, Carolyn Condit was telling reporters that the Levys were friends of her husband. Lynne Hostein of KTLA-TV reports that "Condit denies any romantic involvement with Levy. He and his wife describe Chandra as a good friend." Condit was also telling his colleagues that Chandra was just a friend. The Washington Times:

The Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call yesterday
reported that Mr. Condit is telling his
congressional colleagues he did not have a romantic
relationship with Miss Levy. The newspaper quoted
Rep. Collin C. Peterson, Minnesota Democrat, as
saying that Mr. Condit "told me there was no
relationship" with the missing woman. [6]

The Washington Times in quoting Chief Ramsey: "It would have been very helpful had we known that earlier on," Chief Ramsey said in an Aug. 7 interview on WTOP radio.

It also would have been helpful to tell the police that Chandra was taking a train home, if indeed she had ever told him that. The police didn't seem to make any special mention of the possibility she had been on a train. There's nothing about a relationship in knowing she was planning on taking a train home, so why withhold this critical information from the Levys and the police until an interview with Connie Chung months later?

Chief Ramsey told Gloria Borger of CBS Face The Nation:

BORGER: You have her computer. You have her cell
phone records. We`ve all heard that there was a lot
of activity on her computer that morning of her
disappearance, sometime between 9:30 and 1:00, that
she visited a lot of travel web sites. What can you
tell us about that? Did she book a flight somewhere?

RAMSEY: No, we don`t have anything that shows that
she booked a flight. And we`ve checked flights,
we`ve checked rail, we`ve checked all means of
methods of transportation. And nothing that we`ve
come up with yet. [7]

The Washington Times:

Police said they could not find where she purchased
an airline ticket to return home. "There´s no plane
ticket, no train ticket, no bus ticket," said a
police source familiar with the investigation. "We
don´t know how she was going to get home." [8]
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 19, 2005 6:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This doesn't sound like the police were told she was taking a train home. Would the police have investigated more aggressively had Condit told them what he told reporters in interviews three months later?

The Washington Times reports that it is a common practice among police agencies to not immediately pursue competent adults who go missing, absent signs of foul play. Instead, the police told Susan Levy "it looks like there may not be a crime committed here." Just the very idea of telling her that should be a crime.

Chief Gainer told WUSA of their thinking:

"There are several conventional theories," Gainer
said. "One is that she committed suicide. The other
is that something criminal has happened to her.
Another may be that she wanted to go off on her own
and assume a new identity. And I suppose that the
last possibility is that she has been injured or
incapacitated in some way and that she does not know
who she is. So we continue to explore each one of

"Our minds are open to any of the possibilities and
a review of her financial records, her telephone
records, computer records, friends, and neighbors
and family have not given us particular information
as to where she is at," Gainer added. [9]

However, there was no sign of violence, so to them there was no crime. And without a crime... Gainer told the Sacramento Bee: "We don't have a crime. Without a crime, you don't have a suspect." One symptom of that attitude was that "Levy was an adult and could have just decided to go off on an unannounced trip." [10] A thought more ominous to a serious investigation of a missing woman was that Chandra had staged her own disappearance.

Presumably, the reasoning is that a person has a right to "disappear" if they want. When a person is missing but has left behind every worldly possession except the key to their home, then this alleged reasoning flies in the face of reality.

1) The person could not work or reside legally anywhere without identification.

2) A legal change to another identification would also require current identification.

3) There is no reasonable basis to presume that it is infringing upon a person's privacy to "not be found" if they don't want to be by assumimg they've taken up the lifestyle of an illegal alien.

In short, a missing woman under these circumstances should be presumed missing against their will unless there is a reasonable indication the woman doesn't want to be found. The significance? J. N. Sbranti of the Modesto Bee captured a quote from Stanislaus County Sheriff Les Weidman immediately after Chandra was reported missing that epitomizes the significance:

"We don't want there to be a loss of momentum" in
pursuing the case, Weidman said. He said that is why
his office is urging Washington police to make this
investigation a priority this weekend. "Time is
critical, and we understand that." [11]

And to help Washington police make investigating Chandra's disappearance a priority, he sent a detective, Mario Cisneros, to Washington to help. And like a rare bad McCloud episode, Cisneros found he wasn't in Kansas anymore, or New Mexico, or California, or anywhere else that treats a missing women with urgency. Michael Doyle of the Modesto Bee reports this sad state of affairs:

East Coast detectives are bearing down on the
disappearance of Chandra Ann Levy of Modesto, and
West Coast officers have been advised to butt out.

While the FBI and a 31-year veteran of the
Washington Metropolitan Police Department are
tracking leads, they've advised the Stanislaus
County Sheriff's Department not to get involved in
the Levy case.

"We're treating this as a critical missing persons
case," Washington police Detective Ralph Durant said
Monday. "That means she disappeared under
suspicious circumstances."

...Durant, a big, pony-tailed man who has handled
some high-profile cases, made it clear Monday that
his department doesn't "really need" the hands-on
help of Central Valley law enforcement officials.
Durant said that while he welcomed outside
information, he couldn't use the Stanislaus County
Sheriff's Department homicide detective who traveled
to Washington over the weekend to offer aid.

Washington detectives instead asked the sheriff's
office to provide all of its notes and documents.
These include transcripts of interviews done since
Friday with Levy's parents and friends, copies of
cellular phone records received from the Levy family
and notes on possible sources.
"They told us that if they need any help, they'll
give us a call," Sheriff's Department spokesman
Kelly Huston said.

Sheriff's Detective Mario Cisneros, who arrived in
the capital Saturday, was simply told to return

Washington police also asked the Sheriff's
Department to stop gathering information on Levy.

The repudiation of local help surprised sheriff's
officials, who according to Huston, had decided to
send Cisneros to Washington because "we had a
difficult time initially establishing a relationship
with D.C. Metro."

Face-to-face talks did not yield a more welcoming

"I don't think we have any better relationship now
than we did when we talked to them on the phone last
week," Huston said. "(Cisneros) tried to establish a
rapport with the agency there, and he really had no
luck in doing that."

Huston termed the lack of cooperation between the
two departments highly unusual. He said the lead
investigating department typically welcomes
assistance by a victim's hometown detectives.

"There are things we think we can do here in Modesto
and we're surprised they do not want to take
advantage of this resource," Huston said. "In cases
like this, there's a lot of work to be done in the
hometown." [12]

Helen Kennedy of the New York Daily News reports further:

"We are going to interview anyone who knew her,"
said Washington police spokesman Sgt. Joe Gentile,
who refused to elaborate.

Cops in Levy's hometown of Modesto, Calif., said
something was odd about the case because Washington
police had told them to stop investigating.

"There's obviously a lot of clues to be uncovered
here in California - who she talked to, who she may
have dated - but they've chosen to decline our
help," said Stanislaus County sheriff's spokesman
Kelly Huston.

"They've basically said they don't want us to do any
interviews. That's got us very perplexed," he said.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 19, 2005 6:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The D.C. police may have stopped the Modesto police from investigating, but they couldn't stop the Levys from being suspicious about Chandra leaving her apartment without any identification. Amazingly, she had told them that her secret boyfriend instructed her not to carry identification when meeting him, something more along the lines of an order to a secret agent than a girlfriend. But Condit was on the House Intelligence Committee and he was married, and he did demand secrecy from his other mistress, Anne Marie Smith, but still, it is truly a bizarre demand if and when he indeed did make it.

What if he didn't? It would be extraordinary for her to tell her parents that her secret boyfriend didn't want her to be identified, even if it was true. How does one respond to that? For that and other reasons, the Levys were accused of making this up themselves to cast suspicion on Condit because her identification was left in her apartment. But that seems even more odd for the Levys to dream up. How shall we get the police to look at Condit? I know, he wouldn't let her take her wallet with her when she met him. Who has an imagination like that? Certainly seems to be more spymaster material than that of distraught parents.

Stranger still is that for the most part one would expect her not to be carrying her identification on Tuesday afternoon. Police determined that she left her purse at home when she went to the gym. She went to the gym in the evenings, and had worked out the previous evening, but she may have been on her way there later. Most people don't carry their wallet when they go for a run or walk. While many people drive everywhere they go and need their driver's license, Chandra didn't have a car in D.C. and took the Metro train whereever she went beyond walking distance.

However, the Washington Times reports that police no longer credit a report from Linda Zamsky that Condit told Chandra not to carry identification when meeting him. The timing of this coincides with this statement from Condit to Newsweek:

CONDIT: ...The one that brings to mind is the one
about this elaborate scheme of how you get around
and that I would ask someone not to carry
identification is just totally absurd. The police-
they know that Chandra every time she went
somewhere, she has a bag or a backpack. They know
that to be the case, so it’s just totally absurd
that they would suggest that I would ask someone to
not carry identification. For the life of me I can’t
even think what reason that would be for. [14]

In fact, with what she was wearing when found, it would be odd if she did have identification with her. But how would the police know that every time Chandra went somewhere, she carried a bag or backpack? And why did they tell the Washington Times they no longer believe Linda Zamsky when Condit denied the no-id rule to Newsweek four months after Chandra disappeared?

One reason for having identification Tuesday afternoon would have been to cash her $54 birthday gift check from her godparents two weeks earlier. It was not found in her apartment, but her ATM card was, so she couldn't have been depositing it using an ATM machine. It's possible she had the check and was going to deposit it with a teller but never got the chance.

It was Tuesday and she would need to deposit it for it to clear when she would presumedly close her bank account Friday or Saturday before leaving. She had had the check for two weeks and it would have provided some spending money on a train trip home. Others have said they think it just got eaten up in a washer, forgotten tucked away in a magazine that she threw away, or otherwise lost.

She probably put it in her purse at her godmother's. Why would she take it out to be able to lose it? Given that the godparents live in the area, she could have intended to cash the check at a branch of their bank. Was there a branch of their bank in the DuPont Circle area?

Did she have a bank account while she was in DC? When was her last deposit? Had she closed her bank account or talked to them about closing it? Was her ATM card from that bank or was she using a nationwide ATM network to withdraw money and writing checks from a bank back home?

She had only been told her internship had ended a week before. Had she received her last paycheck from the Bureau of Prisons? If not, when was it sent out? Was she waiting on it?

Was she still receiving mail at the Newport? Had she filed a mail forwarding form at the Post Office with an effective date?

None of these questions have been addressed publically by the police or the Levys. The answers should be made available to the Levys if not the public.

Also a puzzle is the comforter beside the door. Many think that it was in her entranceway because she dropped it when she answered the door and was attacked and presumably kidnapped, this despite that she wouldn't even open the door for her landlord.

The suggestion is that it must have been someone she knew very well to open the door, but that suggestion assumes that in addition to that someone she knew well somehow getting into the building, that she had the comforter wrapped around her when she answered the door, a strange thought, and that she and it got separated as she was pulled out the door. Easier said than done.

Actually, she was quite adept at working on her laptop sitting on the floor. That sounds uncomfortable, but a picture of Chandra sitting on the floor with her laptop at home shows that she looks very comfortable doing it, actually bending forward with it on the floor rather than on her lap.

She could have just sat there on the comforter in the hallway within cord range of the plugins in the nook where the laptop was set when she wasn't using it. Then the comforter would always be laying there when she sat down with her laptop.

The comforter was beside the door, but the bags weren't. Chandra had told her landlord on Saturday that she was moving out the next weekend, on Sunday she was no longer sure. Was she thinking of moving out sooner and had packed most of her clothes already, or were they really just never unpacked?

Anne Marie was told not to open Condit's closet in late March when she visited him. Chandra's neighbors didn't hear her stirring around her apartment until the last week before she disappeared. That's when Gary Condit came back from California and a five to ten minute call was made to his condo when he said he wasn't there. Were those clothes packed from his closet when she found out Carolyn was on her way to Washington?

It could be possible that the partially packed bags in her apartment were from clearing her stuff out of Condit's apartment on Thursday or Friday, just before she called her landlord on Saturday and told him there was no longer any reason to stay in Washington.

But the day had arrived that was the reason she was headed home, her graduation at USC, and she wasn't there. Instead of attending her graduation, Robert and Susan Levy offered a $15,000 reward for information on her disappearance. Congressman Gary Condit contributed an additional $10,000 from campaign funds to the reward with the written statement: "Chandra is a great person and a good friend. We hope she is found safe and sound." [15]

He wasn't talking to reporters, he wasn't even going to be talking to his other mistress who hadn't disappeared, Anne Marie. Anne Marie filed this affadavit:

On or about May 9, 2001, Mr. Condit called me and
said, "I may be in trouble. I may have to disappear
for a while. Don't call me for a few days, I'll call
you. Or, if you do call me, don't identify yourself
and leave a very short message. Don't tell anyone
about this phone call and don't talk to anybody
about me if you hear my name. Everything is OK with
you and me."

Mr. Condit called only sporadically after that.

Anne Marie told Rita Cosby of Fox News:

"I said, 'Well, are you in trouble? Is it your job?
Is it your family?' And he said, 'No, none of that,
but I think I may be in some trouble.'" [17]

Jodi Hernandez of KOVR asked Condit about these startling statements:

J: A couple of women have come forward. One in
particular, Ann Marie Smith, has gone public, done
numerous interviews. She stated in one of the
interviews that you, you called her and told her
that you were in trouble and that you may have to
disappear for awhile.

C: That never occurred. You have to question Anne
Marie Smiths' motives. Her motives is to sell a
story to a tabloid, that's what she did. And for you
to embrace that as just regular news story is a
little questionable to me.

J: I'm trying to set the record straight here.
You're saying that that in fact did not?

C: Did not occur.

J: You did not?

C: I did not have that conversation with her. [18]

"I may be in trouble". "I may have to disappear". It turns out the Levys aren't the only ones with a vivid imagination. Pretty strong stuff, and it so happens very prescient of Anne Marie if this conversation did not occur. Condit would disappear, to the cave country of Luray.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 19, 2005 6:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Next chapter - Stonewalling

Murder on a Horse Trail - Table of Contents

1. Brazil, Eric. “Relationship with congressman questioned.” San Francisco
Chronicle 18 May 2001.

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

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

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

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

6. Honawar, Vaishali. “Missing woman’s mother speaks out.” Washington Times
25 May 2001.

7. Ramsey, Charles. “Is Private Lie Detector Test Taken by Rep. Gary Condit
Good Enough for D.C. Police?” Interview with Bob Scheiffer. Face the Nation.
CBS. 16 Jul. 2001. Transcript.

8. Honawar, Vaishali. “Missing woman’s mother speaks out.” Washington Times
25 May 2001.

9. “D.C. Police To Interview Members Of Condit’s Family.” WUSA 26 June

10. Fagan, Kevin. “A Life Suspended.” San Francisco Chronicle 28 Apr. 2002.

11. Sbranti, J. N. “Reward, hot line are set up for tips.” Modesto Bee 12 May

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

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

14. Isikoff, Michael. “Interview with Gary Condit and Abbe Lowe.” Newsweek 3
Sept. 2001.

15. “Chandra Levy Timeline.” ABC News 2002.

OF PERJURY. 26 Aug. 2001.

17. Cosby, Rita. “Condit in trouble, has to disappear.” Fox News 4 July 2001.

18. Condit, Gary. Interview with Jodi Hernandez. KOVR. 23 Aug. 2001. Transcript.

“Chandra’s aunt speaks out.” Fox News 1 Aug. 2001.

“Condit Has an Alibi.” Newsweek 20 July 2001.

Doyle, Michael. “Anxiety deep, answers few in Levy case.” Modesto Bee 12 May

Doyle, Michael. “Family, friends try to move on.” Modesto Bee 28 Apr. 2002.

Dvorak, Petula. “Washington Lifestyle Dazzled Intern: Missing Daughter’s
Hopes, Accomplishments Comfort Parents Keeping Vigil.” Washington Post 22
May 2001.

Hostein, Lynne. “Search widens for missing USC student.” KTLA-TV 22 May

Jacoby, Mary. “Clues to missing intern sought in park.” St Petersburg Times 17
July 2001.

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

“Levy friends show support for D.C. intern.” Modesto Bee. 19 May 2001.

“Police Keep Quiet on Levy Investigation.” Washington Times 23 Aug. 2001.

Wiegand, Steve. “Facts are few in Levy mystery.” Sacramento Bee 3 Sept. 2001.
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