Chandra's Family Describes 'Eleven Weeks of Torturous Craziness'

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On several of the 78 sleepless nights since Chandra Levy vanished, her mother Susan has quietly slept in her daughter's bedroom in their Modesto, Calif., home.

Decorated with pictures, books and diplomas, Chandra's bedroom has become a sort of sanctuary for her family during what her mother describes as "eleven weeks of torturous craziness."

Chandra's younger brother Adam is building a toothpick model of the Eiffel Tower in her bedroom, while her father Robert goes there to grieve.

Each new day is hard for the Levys, who never know what to expect from the television news.

"Some days I just want to collapse, just do nothing," Susan Levy said. "I shouldn't say some days. It's almost every day of the week."

The search for the 24-year-old intern continued Monday, as police searched the area of Klingle Mansion in Washington, D.C.'s, Rock Creek Park, which runs adjacent to the neighborhood Chandra lived in before she disappeared May 1.

District of Columbia police spokesman Joe Gentile said about 50 police recruits would widen the search Tuesday to include Fort Dupont Park and Piney Branch Parkway.

About 25 bones were found in Rock Creek Park Monday. Police think they all belong to animals, but have taken them to the medical examiner's office anyway.

In public, Susan Levy projects the image of a vigilant mother, a crusader for justice trying to find out what happened to her daughter.

She's stood before banks of cameras outside her home. She traveled to Washington to confront Rep. Gary Condit, the 53-year-old Democratic congressman representing Modesto who police say has admitted having an affair with Chandra.

Susan Levy, as well as the Washington police, believes Condit may have more information he can share with investigators.

Robert Levy, an oncologist, is often by Susan's side, his eyes rimmed in tears or his head bowed in grief. She does most of the talking.

Occasionally, Susan Levy endures criticism. Some callers to a talk radio show recently complained that other missing person cases don't get as much attention; others questioned her daughter's morals.

"I've had to be real brave," she said. "I've found I have done things that I never thought I would do."

But behind the doors of her house, she struggles to get dressed and comb her hair each day.

One day last week, she spread photos of happier times on the dining room table in the large, open room that is the heart of their spacious contemporary home.

In one, a scowling little girl sits in a mess of shredded paper from one of her classic childhood tantrums. In another, a young woman stands with a squad of fighter pilots she befriended at an air show. And there's one of the whole family in April, the last time they were together, just weeks before Chandra disappeared.

With an uncertain future and a present that is nearly unbearable, the past at least provides a comforting distraction.

A ringing phone keeps them coming back. Their two phone lines ring as many as 50 times a day.

"But not the one call we want, saying that 'I'm OK, I'm alive,'" Robert Levy said. "That's the only one we want. You don't get that one."'

Francis and Carole Carrington, whose daughter and granddaughter went missing for weeks before their bodies were found near Yosemite National Park, have helped the Levys manage a reward fund. On Monday, they also stopped by the Levys' house on their way home from a court hearing for the women's accused killer.

Every grieving couple discovers their own ways to cope in such situations, Francis Carrington said.

"I still want to have that flame of hope," Susan Levy said.

"Yeah, you should," her husband said in a weak voice.

"That flame of hope she's alive and miracles can happen," Susan Levy added. "I've been saying that the whole time."

The Associated Press contributed to this report