Excerpt: 'Finding Chandra' By Scott Higham and Sari Horwitz

TK

The national media was enraptured with the mysterious case of Chandra Levy, a 24-year-old Washington, D.C., intern who disappeared suddenly in 2001. After her body was discovered a year later and an affair with a Congressman came to light, the plot only grew thicker and the truth more elusive.

Washington Post reporters Scott Higham and Sari Horwitz covered the story in-depth in a 13-part series. Their book, "Finding Chandra," expands on their work on the tragedy that shocked the country.

Read an excerpt below, and then head to the "Good Morning America" Library to find more good reads.

VIDEO: Authors Sari Horwitz and Scott Higham relive the murder mystery in their book.
The Chandra Levy Murder Mystery

1. The Bone Collector

On the slope of a steep ravine, deep in the woods of Washington's Rock Creek Park, Philip Palmer spotted an out-ofplace object resting on the forest floor. He saw a patch of white, bleached out and barely visible through a thin layer of leaves. Walking these woods was a ritual for Palmer, an attempt to flee the madness of the city. Each morning, the furniture maker tried to lose himself in the nine-mile-long oasis of forests, fields, and streams twice the size of New York's Central Park that slices through the center of the nation's capital. On this morning, May 22, 2002, the sun filtered through the leaves of the poplar and oak trees shading the hillside off the Western Ridge Trail, a solitary lane that begins near a centuries-old stone mill and winds its way north through the woods to the border of Maryland. Palmer moved closer to the object, his dog Paco by his side. The object, the size of a silver dollar, stood out against the leaves. Palmer's quest seemed unusual for a man of forty-two who was raised in Chevy Chase, a neighborhood largely reserved for Washington's upper middle class on the northern edge of Rock Creek Park. Thin and wiry, with a mustache, beard, and an earring in his left ear, he looked like someone who belonged in the wilderness of the Colorado Rocky Mountains. He preferred the solace of the park to the bustle and affluence that surrounded him, and he prided himself on knowing every trail and path and glen. As a boy, he would head alone to the woods after school, sift through the dirt and leaves, and look for bits and pieces of animal bones. On good days, he'd find a complete skeleton, a mouse or a rat, a vole, maybe a raccoon, prizes he would keep and cherish. The finest examples of his collection from forgotten places in the park would later be carefully displayed on the shelves that lined the sitting parlor of his Victorian home in one of Washington's trendier neighborhoods, Dupont Circle.

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