Updated May 28, 2002, 12:13 p.m. ET
Coroner says Chandra Levy was murdered  

WASHINGTON (AP) — Chandra Levy was murdered, by means unknown, the Washington D.C. medical examiner said Tuesday in a disclosure that deepened the mystery behind the demise of the 24-year-old intern who disappeared more than a year ago.

"There is insufficient evidence" to establish a precise cause of death, Jonathan L. Arden told a news conference. He said he had not ruled in or out potential causes of death, strangulation among them.

He also said he could not determine whether the young woman died where her skeletonized remains were found, or if she had been brought there after her death.

Arden spoke to reporters about a young Washington intern whose disappearance cost a California congressman, Rep. Gary Condit, his career and gripped the nation for the better part of a summer. Her remains were discovered last week in Rock Creek Park, a sprawling urban greenspace in the heart of the nation's capital.

Three thousand miles away in California, Levy's parents were holding a memorial service in her hometown of Modesto.

Arden said that tests had confirmed Levy's death as a homicide, meaning that her death had been caused by an assailant.

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

"There's nothing else that can be done," as part of his work, he said.

But that wasn't true for the police, who have struggled with the case since Levy disappeared last May 1 and Condit was questioned numerous times.

Rather than a missing person, they now had a murder case.

Arden said much of Levy's remains had been discovered, and added her had been in touch with a lawyer representing her family to inform them of his findings.

Law enforcement sources had said previously that her knotted leggings had been found near the body, raising speculation she had been bound before being killed.

Police are investigating how Levy's 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. The case drew national attention because she was romantically linked to Condit.

Condit admitted to an affair with Levy during the third of four interviews with police, a source has said. He has 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.

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.

 


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