Chandra Levy was killed but the cause of death is unknown, the Washington medical examiner concluded today, as police officially labeled the probe a murder investigation.
"The cause of death has been certified as undetermined," Dr. Jonathan Arden said. "The manner of death has been certified as homicide."
Arden said his conclusions were based on the circumstances of Levy's disappearance and the location and condition of her body when it was discovered last Wednesday in a remote, heavily wooded area of Washington's Rock Creek Park.
He said the condition of the remains did not allow investigators to determine how the former federal intern died, or whether the 24-year-old died in the park.
"There is no such evidence that can be derived from the skeleton," he said.
Arden said there were no further tests being conducted on Levy's remains. He said the condition of the remains was consistent with the time of Levy's disappearance a little more than a year ago.
Metropolitan Police Chief Charles Ramsey said the department's violent crimes branch was now leading the investigation.
"The death investigation is a murder investigation," he said.
Ramsey said police were not ready to label anyone a suspect in the case.
"Right now we have a lot of people we want to interview or maybe want to re-interview," he said.
Police today expected to finish examining the area of Rock Creek Park where Levy's remains were found, along with some jogging clothes and a Walkman-type radio.
Some of the physical evidence from the crime scene will be analyzed by the FBI.
Ramsey admitted there were many unanswered questions in the case, including whether Levy was sexually assaulted before her death. The Associated Press, quoting a police source, said investigators were trying to determine whether Levy's stretch leggings were used to tie her up. Ramsey today refused to comment on that report.
Memorial Service Draws 1,000
As the investigation continued in Washington, Levy's family and friends bid a final farewell at a memorial service in her hometown of Modesto, Calif.
Levy's parents, Robert and Susan, did not speak at the memorial, which was attended by more than 1,000 people, most of whom did not know the young woman.
"Both Dr. and Mrs. Levy were heartbroken again this morning," said the Levy family attorney, Billy Martin. "At least now they have a memorial service and they can try to get on with their lives."
Levy was remembered as a woman who dreamed of one day becoming an FBI agent.
Rabbi Paul Gordon spoke to the mourners of "the loss of a bright light and a bright soul."
"Something like this reaches deep into our heart, causes us to find that inner strength to try to understand our purpose, and to understand how important family is," said Dr. Paul Katz, Chandra Levy's uncle.
Levy was last seen on April 30, 2001, and last heard from in an e-mail to her parents the following day. Her disappearance drew national attention because of allegations the young woman had been having an affair with Rep. Gary Condit, D-Calif.
Sources have said Condit, who is married, admitted to police that he had an affair with the young woman. Police have stressed Condit, 54, is not considered a suspect, but the scandal hurt the once-popular lawmaker's standing with his constituents. The six-term congressman lost his re-election bid to a former aide in a Democratic primary in March.
‘We Want Justice’
The area where Levy's remains were found by a man and his dog who were looking for turtles was far from the more heavily traveled parts of the park, and near where two other women were attacked while they were jogging wearing headphones and listening to Walkman-like devices.
But Martin said Levy was not the type of woman to go into a dangerous area or to be unaware of her surroundings.
"The family believes Chandra, as careful as she was, would not have ventured into this heavily wooded area of Rock Creek Park on her own," Martin said. "She would have watched herself. We do not believe the spot where Chandra's remains were discovered, that she went there on her own."
Levy's apartment was near Rock Creek Park, which police searched three times last summer after analysis of her computer revealed she had done a search for directions to the Klingle Mansion, a historic home in the park, the day she disappeared.
The young woman's body had apparently been in the park for a long time, and the bones were not all in one location, according to Ramsey. Investigators have been trying to determine whether the area where the remains were found was where Levy died, or whether the body had been moved.
Martin called for police to interview Condit again, saying he could provide insight into her activities and state of mind near the time of her death. He urged police to pursue the investigation fully.
"According to the authorities, they recovered sufficient evidence there to rule this a homicide, which essentially means that Chandra died at the hands of another person," Martin said.
"We want justice."