Medical Examiner: Chandra Was Murdered

The Chandra Levy case is now a murder investigation, Police Chief Charles Ramsey said Tuesday, vowing that the Washington police force will leave "no stone unturned" in its effort to find the 24-year-old intern's killer.

"This is a homicide like any homicide. We're going to work very hard to close it," Ramsey said at an afternoon press conference.

Ramsey spoke less than two hours after Dr. Jonathan Arden, the coroner who examined Levy's remains, determined that the young woman's death was definitely a homicide.

Ramsey said evidence recovered from the scene — including clothing — will be analyzed at the FBI lab.

He said it's too early to label anyone a suspect, but that some people who were interviewed in Levy's disappearance will be re-interviewed in the murder investigation. Among them will be California Rep. Gary Condit, who during earlier questioning acknowledged an affair with Levy, a police source says.

Ramsey bristled when asked if the police department might have missed evidence that could have pushed the investigation further.

"We're professionals here — we are one of the best police agencies in the world, and we will solve this case, I guarantee you that," he said.

Arden, the medical examiner, revealed his findings in a brief announcement six days after Levy's remains were found by a passer-by in Rock Creek Park.

Exactly how the young woman died remains a mystery, Arden said, and it's possible that doctors may never be able to determine the exact injury that caused her death.

But he said the Modesto, Calif., woman definitely "died through the actions of another person."

"The cause of death has been qualified as undetermined, the manner of death as homicide," Arden said.

"In this case there was not sufficient evidence to ascertain conclusively the specific injury that caused her death.

"However, the circumstances of her disappearance and her body on recovery are indicative that she died through the acts of another person, which is the definition of a homicidal manner of death."

He said the condition of the skull and bones found last week indicate that Levy was killed at about the time she vanished — May 1, 2001.

Arden said he couldn't determine whether Levy was killed in Rock Creek Park, or whether her remains were brought there. He also said he couldn't rule out any possible cause of death, including strangulation.

"There's less to work with here than I would like," the medical examiner told reporters who peppered him with questions. "It's possible we will never know specifically how she died."

He said "the majority" of Levy's skeleton was found, but he refused to say specifically which parts were there and which were missing.

The coroner said he and Levy family lawyer Billy Martin were arranging for Levy's remains to be released from the medical examiner's office.

Arden said his examination was thorough and complete, and "there's nothing else that can be done."

But that is not true for the police, who have struggled with the case since Levy disappeared. The Washington police force is now dealing with an unsolved murder.

Levy's disappearance gained national attention last year when it was learned that she had admitted having an affair with Condit.

Condit admitted to an affair with Levy during the third of four interviews with police, a source has said. He denied any role in her disappearance, and police have repeatedly said he is not a suspect.

Even so, the fallout from publicity surrounding the case cost him his seat in Congress. He lost a primary to a Democratic rival in March.

Law enforcement sources said late last week that Levy's knotted leggings had been found near her remains, raising speculation she had been bound before being killed.

Police are investigating how her body came to be on a steep incline a couple hundred yards from the nearest road and about four miles from her apartment.

The former federal intern was not known as a jogger, police have said. They have not been able to explain why she might have been in the park.

Levy worked in Washington as an intern for the Bureau of Prisons. She disappeared on May 1, 2001, shortly before she was to return to California.

Deputy police chief Terrance W. Gainer said Saturday that police have no key suspect in Levy's death. Police have said they may want to talk again to Condit and Ingmar Guandique, a Salvadoran immigrant serving a 10-year prison sentence for assaulting two women in the park last year. The first attack occurred two weeks after Levy vanished.

A man walking his dog found a human skull on a steep incline in the park early last Wednesday. Searchers also found items of clothing, including a sweat shirt, jogging bra, tennis shoes and the leggings. By the end of the day, Arden ended one mystery by telling police that the skull was Levy's.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.