WASHINGTON — An arrest warrant was issued Tuesday for an imprisoned Salvadoran immigrant in the killing of federal intern Chandra Levy, nearly eight years after the case captivated the nation's capital and ended the career of a congressman.
The warrant accuses Ingmar Guandique of killing Levy on May 1, 2001, as she walked her dog through Washington's Rock Creek Park, said U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Taylor. Guandique, 27, is already serving time in a federal prison in Adelanto, Calif., for attacking two women in the same park.
"It dawned on me that there's very little I can do or anyone else can do for the Levys other than to offer them justice," District of Columbia Police Chief Cathy Lanier said at a news conference. "This has been a long time coming."
The warrant is the latest development in an investigation that had gone cold for years after destroying the career of former U.S. Rep. Gary Condit of California.
Investigators in 2002 questioned Guandique in Levy's slaying after he was convicted in the other attacks, but he was not charged at the time.
Levy was 24 and had just completed an internship with the U.S. Bureau of Prisons when she disappeared in May 2001 after leaving her Washington, D.C., apartment. The Modesto, Calif., woman was wearing jogging clothes when she vanished, and a man walking his dog found her skull and bones in the park a year later.
Authorities questioned Condit, her congressman, in the disappearance, but he was never a suspect in her death. Condit, a popular Democrat for a dozen years in his district, was reportedly having an affair with Levy, and the negative publicity from the case was cited as the main reason for his overwhelming primary loss in 2002.
On Feb. 20, Levy's parents, Robert and Susan, said Lanier had told them an arrest was coming within days. Investigators spent last week interviewing two inmates Guandique spoke to while in prison, according to a person close to the Levy investigation who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak about the investigation.
"Thankfully the individual responsible for this most heinous and terrible crime will finally be held accountable for his actions and hopefully unable to hurt anyone else ever again," the Levys said.
Authorities said they hoped Guandique would be brought to Washington sometime in the next two months to face a charge of first-degree murder. He was set to be released from prison on Oct. 5, 2011. If convicted in Levy's death, he could face up to 60 years more behind bars.
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