The Spectacle Blog

The Chandra Levy Case

By on 2.22.09 | 12:45PM

It should be taught in all police investigative departments: The Chandra Levy Case: Or How NOT to Investigate a Major Felony.

In May of 2001 the 24-year-old Californian, an intern for the Federal Bureau of Prisons, disappeared from her District home. It quickly developed that she was having an affair with a married congressman from California, Democrat Gary Condit. Media and police attention fastened on Condit like a horsefly on a hot day. A massive search was undertaken to find Levy who, it was believed, had wandered into Rock Creek Park. It took the cops two months to unravel her computer and learn that, yes, she had been computer-exploring the park and probably went there. Police teams were sent out but they searched within a hundred yards of the roads, not the trails. It would be more than a year later that a man walking his dog discovered Levy's remains in the park less than 80 yards from where the police teams had swept through. The botched search was only the low point in a series of goofs committed by D.C.'s finest.

The case was revived due largely to a 13-part series in July by the Washington Post. Attention now centers on a Salvadoran doing prison time for attacks on a couple of women in the park at the time of Levy's disappearance. He denies any part in the Levy case.

We shall see. But we have already seen a couple of things: investigative incompetence and the continuing need for newspapers.

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