Police Comb Park for Clues in Levy Death

Police worked through the night in Washington's Rock Creek Park, searching under lights for more clues in the investigation of the death of Chandra Levy, and they are expected to continue combing the area into Friday.

The remains of the former federal intern, who had been missing for more than a year, were found in the park early Wednesday. Public confirmation of her identity came several hours later with the help of dental records.

The 24-year-old California native was last seen on April 30, 2001, and last heard from in an e-mail to her parents the following day.

Investigators are not yet treating the case as a homicide, and the cause of death is pending a coroner's investigation.

"The medical examiner has not yet determined manner and cause of death," Metropolitan Police Chief Charles Ramsey said today on ABCNEWS' Good Morning America. "So right now, it's a death investigation. However, like all death investigations, we make a presumption that it's perhaps a homicide, so we cover everything that needs to be covered."

Police have asked a Smithsonian Institution anthropologist to help them determine what caused the death.

"It becomes more difficult, but it's not impossible," Ramsey said. "It's been done in the past."

Still, police do not have much to work with. All that was found were a skull and some bones, with no flesh or organs, and some jogging clothes and a Walkman radio, police said. Law enforcement sources told ABCNEWS that Levy's remains are so decomposed they may never learn how she died.

Police will also go back and conduct new interviews with people involved with the case. They may also question people not previously interviewed to try to determine whether anybody "saw anything a bit unusual but never paid any attention to it until now," Ramsey said.

Park Police Lt. Joseph Cox, the commander of the Rock Creek Park precinct, told The Associated Press that Metropolitan Police have questioned a man who is serving a 10-year sentence for assaulting a jogger in the park last year. Cox would not say when the interview occurred, according to the news agency.

A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police Department would not comment on the report.

The Levy case generated national headlines after reports surfaced that the young woman had been linked to Rep. Gary Condit, D-Calif. More than 200 members of the media arrived in Rock Creek Park within hours of the announcement that a body had been found there.

Park Had Been Searched Before

Levy's remains were found Wednesday morning by a man walking his dog, looking for turtles in the 1,754-acre park.

Levy's apartment was near the park, and it was searched by police three times last summer after analysis of her computer revealed that she had done a search for directions to the Klingle Mansion, a historic home in Rock Creek Park, the day she disappeared.

The remains were found about a mile from the mansion, but Ramsey said there were many reasons why they might have been missed — including the possibility that the body was not there at all when police scoured the area a year ago.

"With the heavy foliage and underbrush, it's in a very remote area on a very steep incline, it's very possible to miss something, presuming it was there at the time the search was conducted and not left after the search," the police chief said.

"You are talking 1,700 acres of park land, and dogs can only work for so long, and we did cover parts of the park with cadaver dogs," he added.

The young woman's body had apparently been in the park for a long time, and the bones were not all in one location, Ramsey said on Wednesday. Investigators still did not know this morning whether the area where the remains were found was where Levy died, or whether the body had been moved, the police chief said on Good Morning America.

James Starrs, a professor of forensic science at George Washington University Law School, said on Good Morning America that it was surprising that in all this time, no one noticed the "aroma" of a decaying body in the park.

"You're talking about a very putrid and pungent [odor]. There are breezes that would blow it quite a distance," Starrs said. "I am surprised that no one alerted anyone to the fact of the existence of that aroma."

Levys Enduring ‘Nightmare’

Ramsey said Susan and Robert Levy, the young woman's parents, learned of the identification of the remains while watching the news, despite his efforts to make sure they were informed first.

Friends and neighbors held a candlelight memorial Wednesday night and flags in Modesto, Calif., the Levys' hometown, were flown at half-staff today, but the Levys themselves have stayed in their home. They have made no public statement since police announced that the remains found were their daughter's.

The Levys, who conducted an interview with Oprah Winfrey earlier in the day before being told about the discovery, said through their attorneys that the discovery was the realization of their worst nightmare as parents, and they will not rest until Chandra's killer or killers are found.

One of their attorneys, Billy Martin, said from Florida the discovery does not "solve the mystery" of what happened to the former Bureau of Prisons intern.

"On behalf of the Levy family, police and our investigators will continue our investigation until we find the person or persons who did this to Chandra," Martin said. "As a parent, you can appreciate that this is the worst nightmare any parent can endure."

Outside the Levys' home, Judy Smith, the family's spokeswoman, that the family was deeply saddened but was determined find some answers in Chandra's death.

"While the death of their daughter provides some resolution, it does not provide answers as to what happened to Chandra and we will continue to pursue that matter," she said.

The Levys also thanked all law enforcement and supporters who continued to give words of encouragement throughout their ordeal.

Condit Offers Condolences in Statement

Sources have said Rep. Condit, 54, admitted to police that he had an affair with the young woman — whose hometown, Modesto, is part of his district — right up until she disappeared.

Condit was in Washington on Wednesday and released a brief statement Wednesday night through his lawyer, Mark Geragos.

"Congressman Gary Condit and his family want to express their heartfelt sorrow and condolences to the Levy family," the statement said. "The Levy family will remain in our prayers."

However, Geragos was critical of the police effort.

"It's certainly not a red-letter day for the D.C. police," he said. "If, as reported, she left [her apartment] with only her tennis shoes and her keys, and was going jogging, wouldn't you look on the jogging trails? How do you miss somebody? It's mind-boggling."

Police have stressed Condit is not considered a suspect, but the scandal hurt the once-popular lawmaker's standing with his constituents. The six-term congressman, who is married, lost his reelection bid to a former aide in a Democratic primary in March. ABCNEWS' Pierre Thomas contributed to this report.

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