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Unraveling Chandra Levy Mystery

Police and forensic experts are working to solve the mystery of how Chandra Levy died, with investigators saying most evidence points to murder.

Police want to talk again to a man convicted of assaulting joggers in the same park where Levy's remains were found.

Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey said investigators interviewed the man months ago after U.S. Park Police alerted them to his arrest. "He said nothing to implicate himself with her, but then again we didn't know she was in Rock Creek Park," Ramsey said Thursday.

He cautioned against calling the man a suspect, noting that the medical examiner still has not determined how Levy, a former federal intern, died and that the case remains a "death investigation."

According to court papers, the man, Ingmar Guandique, 20, attacked a woman on May 14, 2001 and another on July 1 not far from where Levy's body was found. The women told police they were jogging when a man with a knife grabbed them. Both fought and escaped.

Dr. Jonathan Arden, Washington's medical examiner, would not comment on the condition of the remains or what he had learned so far from their discovery Wednesday in a remote area of the park. Police were searching the discovery site, and because they could turn up new evidence, Arden said he probably would not determine the manner of death until next week.

The Levy family pressed to have the case classified as a homicide, and Ramsey said, "I wouldn't be surprised if it were."

Indications in that direction included the former government intern's age, 24, and fitness as well as the discovery of her remains beneath leaves and underbrush "off the beaten path" in the park, Ramsey said.

Her body was found by a man walking his dog. The remains were identified through dental records.

Ramsey said investigators planned to talk with people who live near and use the park. He also said Rep. Gary Condit, D-Calif., may be among the people investigators want to talk to again.

Condit has acknowledged an affair with Levy, a police source says, but denies any involvement in her disappearance. Police interviewed him four times and repeatedly have said he is not a suspect.

The attacks against the joggers occurred in May and July last year in the same area of the park where Levy's remains were found.

Both women were carrying portable radios and wearing headphones when they were attacked, according to a description of the cases provided by the U.S. attorney's office. Police said they found a radio and headphones among Levy's remains. She disappeared May 1, 2001, two weeks before the first assault.

D.C. police said search teams combing the park last summer never reached the sloping thicket where Levy's remains were found, The Washington Post reported in its Friday editions.

The site was several hundred yards beyond the range of their standard canvassing patterns, the Post said.

Investigators resumed their search of the area Thursday, painstakingly sifting through dirt and leaves looking for blood, hairs, clothing fibers or other evidence that could help determine when and how Levy died.

The items recovered with the skull and bones Wednesday included a jogging bra, tennis shoes, University of Southern California sweatshirt and other clothing. Levy, who had been a Bureau of Prisons intern in Washington, was a graduate student at USC. Her parents live in Modesto, Calif.

Ramsey would not say whether any evidence of foul play had been found. Terrance W. Gainer, the deputy police chief, said the skull was "not in pristine condition," but he could not conclude whether the damage to it came before or after Levy died.

A spokesman for the Levy family said a memorial service for Chandra Levy will be held next Tuesday at Modesto's Community Center.

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