Warrant Issued in Chandra Levy Case

Authorities have issued an arrest warrant for an incarcerated felon, alleging that he killed Chandra Levy, the Washington intern murdered in 2001 whose disappearance and death became one of the nation's most famous cold cases.

Documents filed as part of the case also claim that the suspect, Ingmar Guandique, plotted a prison escape during which he would kill the detectives there to arrest him.

Guandique, 27, has been in custody since approximately July 2001 for two nonfatal attacks on women in Rock Creek Park in Washington, D.C., the same park where a hiker discovered Levy's remains in 2002.

U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Taylor said that a judge signed a first-degree murder arrest warrant for Guandique, who is originally from El Salvador, earlier today. According to the criminal complaint filed in the case, Guandique, "in perpetrating and attempting to perpetrate the crime of first degree sexual abuse, killed Chandra Levy by inflicting injuries from which [she] died on or about May 1, 2001."

The affidavit claims that, based on evidence found at the alleged murder scene, Levy was "apparently subdued. Given that her shoes were unlaced, her clothing turned inside out, and her tights knotted into restraints, it appears that Guandique wanted Ms. Levy naked and incapacitated."

"The evidence clearly demonstrates that this crime was not a simple robbery," it continued.

If tried and convicted on the murder charge, Guandique would face a mandatory minimum 30 years in prison. Taylor said he expects that Guandique will be transferred back to Washington within the next two months to make an initial appearance in court.

The affidavit includes information from several witnesses, including two other women assaulted by Guandique and several others who said he admitted killing Levy.

"Over the intervening years, additional evidence came to our attention, people came forward and in weighing that evidence, analyzing it… we are confident at this point that it is appropriate to charge Guandique with that murder," Taylor said.

'They Got Me Now'

One witness, apparently a fellow inmate, but identified only as "W11," said that upon hearing a recent radio report about his imminent arrest, Guandique "became very anxious and said something to the effect of, 'f---, it's over. They got me now. What am I gonna do?'"

The witness claimed that Guandique then hatched an elaborate escape plot and threatened to kill the detectives who planned to arrest him.

A Feb. 26 search of his cell turned up the materials he allegedly said he'd use to carry out the plan, the complaint said.

The court documents also stated that in an earlier search of his cell, in September 2008, investigators turned up an apparent magazine photo of Levy.

Asked about witnesses cited in the complaint who claimed that Guandique said he was with two others when he allegedly attacked Levy, Taylor declined to comment further, saying the investigation is ongoing and that authorities will follow the evidence where it leads.

"Today marks a significant step forward in our efforts to bring some sense of closure and justice to the parents of Chandra Levy. And of course, our thoughts and prayers are with them today," Taylor said.

But he admitted that cold cases "oftentimes take a long time to put together."

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