At the height of the investigation into the Missing Intern last summer, teams of police scoured Washington and fielded up to 80 tips a day. The media, incited by the discovery of her affair with Congressman Gary Condit, churned out endless stories. But then the nation's attention turned elsewhere. Last week a man hunting turtles in the city's Rock Creek Park found the remains of Chandra Levy, reviving fascination--and raising new questions:
Why didn't police discover Levy's body earlier?
They had searched portions of the park, but police say it was impossible to cover the entire expanse, given its size (more than 1,700 acres). Instead, they stuck mainly to well-trod paths and areas nearby. Levy's remains were found on a steep slope in a remote, wooded area. Experts say even if police had searched there, the body could have been concealed by dirt or leaves. There is also the possibility that the body was not in that location the entire time but was brought there more recently.
Can forensics tell us what happened to her?
So far, authorities have recovered a skull and other bones as well as sneakers and a pair of jogging pants allegedly tied in a knot, suggesting Levy may have been bound. The skull reportedly was cracked, though that may have been caused by animals after her death. When examining the skeleton, experts will try to determine if any injuries were sustained in a struggle. A broken hyoid bone in the neck could indicate strangulation. Bones from the hand could show trauma from fending off an attack. They will also try to determine if in fact Levy was killed where she was found. Doug Ubelaker, a forensic anthropologist from the Smithsonian Institution working on the case, won't address specifics of the Levy investigation but says, "What we would look for would be any evidence of an environment different from the area in which the remains were found."
Are we any closer to learning who did it?
Police have not identified any suspects, and though there may have been physical evidence such as blood or semen, chances are it has been degraded by exposure to the elements. In the past, police interviewed Condit but never named him as a suspect. They may question him again. They will also question Ingmar Guandique, currently serving 10 years for attacking two female joggers in the park in the weeks surrounding Levy's disappearance. Although he was interviewed before, he has not been named a suspect. --By Michele Orecklin. Reported by Melissa August/Washington and Laura Locke/Modesto, Calif.