Chandra Levy: Victim of a Foreign-born Serial Killer - The case of iIlegal alien Ingmar Guandique

By Gene A. Nelson, Ph.D.
Published in The Social Contract
Volume 21, Number 4 (Summer 2011)
Issue theme: "Drug smugglers, terrorists, and violent migrants flood across our porous borders"

Chandra Ann Levy (April 14, 1977-May 1, 2001) was a paid intern at the Federal Bureau of Prisons when she went missing while out on a morning jog in popular Rock Creek Park in Washington, D.C. At the time of her disappearance suspicion turned to then-U.S. Rep. Gary Condit (D-CA), after it was disclosed that the five-term Congressman had had an extramarital affair with the young woman. Condit was eventually cleared of involvement in her murder, but the revelation of the affair led to his loss of his 2002 bid for re-election.

In September 2001, a D.C. jail inmate informed D.C. police and federal prosecutors that Ingmar Guandique, a 20-year-old illegal alien from El Salvador who was also serving time in jail, had told him that he had been paid $25,000 by Rep. Condit to kill Levy. But D.C. police dismissed the claim.

Chandra Levy’s skeletal remains were only discovered on May 22, 2002, by a man out walking his dog in Rock Creek Park. Levy’s homicide became a “cold case.” It was only on March 3, 2009 that a warrant to arrest Guandique for the rape and murder of Levy was issued. Guandique, a member of the notorious Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) gang, was serving time at the U.S. Penitentiary in Kentucky after being found guilty of assaulting two other joggers in Rock Creek Park. He was convicted of the first-degree murder of Miss Levy and sentenced to 60 years in prison in February, 2011. Officials believe he murdered at least two other women in the D.C. area.

While a small number of news outlets have provided a summary of some of the contents of illegal alien Ingmar Guandique’s Government Sentencing Memorandum, The Social Contract readers should be able to draw their own conclusions by reading the memorandum’s actual text.

To that end, I went to the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, Criminal Division — Felony Branch, and after being carefully searched, obtained a clear copy of the official “stamped in” copy of the Government’s Sentencing Memorandum on February 14, 2011, after being carefully searched. I was informed that the document was not the 18 pages that I expected, but actually 61 pages long. The Moultrie Courthouse is located at 500 Indiana Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C., 20001. The number of the room where the records are available for no charge (except that one must supply one’s own blank paper for copies) is 4001. (The phone number there is 202-879-1373). The attached searchable copy is 26 pages of the Sentencing Memorandum, followed by the final two pages of the 23-page docket (summary of the case 2009-CF1-9230). As may be seen, 9 of the pages of the memorandum are almost completely blacked out (redacted). The printer was stopped to conserve toner before all 61 pages were printed out.

The Social Contract readers will learn on pages 7-10 that Ingmar Guandique stands accused of a brutal attempted murder in Guatemala and is a suspect in a separate Guatemalan rape-murder. According to page 9 of the Memorandum:

Through its investigation, the government learned and confirmed that in late 1999 or early 2000, defendant’s family members raised money to send him to the United States, not to better himself, but rather, because they knew he was suspected of stabbing a woman in his village and were concerned that the victim’s family was seeking to retaliate. If true, Mr. Guandique fled El Salvador to escape prosecution or retaliation for his crime in his native county only to commit similar attacks against a number of women in his adopted country....

More chillingly, we learn on page 2 that the total number of women that Ingmar attacked in Rock Creek Park was 4, not the commonly reported 3. Also, on page 3, He never explained what the evidence on the scene revealed beyond a reasonable doubt: that defendant left Chandra Levy in the woods completely naked and bound with her own running tights.…

Just before the conclusion on page 17

He ended Ms. Levy’s life at the young age of 24, a few days before her graduation, leaving behind her parents, brother, family members and friends to wonder for over a year whether she was alive or dead — a parents’ worst nightmare. And tragically, as the court learned at trial, Ms. Levy’s final minutes were neither painless nor peaceful. Mr. Guandique then defiled her remains by leaving them in the woods, exposed to the elements. Her family and friends grieve her loss in ways that cannot be fully described in a written submission to the Court or comprehended. The pain of Chandra’s early and violent death will be with her family always….

The Washington Post published an excellent 12- part series of articles between July 13 and July 27, 2008 by Sari Horwitz, Scott Higham, and Sylvia Moreno regarding the murder of Chandra Levy. Sari also advised me via e-mail that I should read the 304-page book that she and Scott wrote in 2010, Finding Chandra: A True Washington Murder Mystery. The paperback version of Sari and Scott’s book was released in May 2011. It will include additional late-breaking information. From the July 13, 2008 article:

Off the Western Ridge Trail near Glover Road, beneath the dark green canopy of the forest, a pair of sunglasses rested on the ground. Not far away was a white Reebok sneaker trimmed in blue. A little farther, on the edge of a ravine, was a pair of black Pro Spirit stretch pants turned inside out, each leg tied in a knot. And nearby lay the body of Chandra Levy. It was 79 yards below the trail….

Additional details emerge in the July 24, 2008 article:

Ten minutes later, U.S. Park Police Sgt. Dennis Bosak arrived. He took one look and thought: Ingmar Guandique has been here. The crime scene — tucked away between the Western Ridge Trail and Broad Branch Road — was eerily similar to the site along Beach Drive where Christy Wiegand was attacked a year earlier. Guandique, a Salvadoran immigrant, had been convicted of attacking Wiegand and another woman in the park.

The new scene was near an area of the park called Grove 17, where police had searched nearly a year earlier for Chandra’s body. Bosak saw a red Aero sports bra, a pair of Victoria’s Secret panties and a pair of Pro Spirit black stretch pants, turned inside out. Oddly, each leg was knotted.

Bosak spotted a dirty gray T-shirt, size small, also turned inside out; printed on it in red letters was “Property of USC Athletics.” Also at the scene was an Aiwa AM/FM cassette player, model TX-377; a white Reebok jogging shoe trimmed in blue; and bone fragments scattered about. All of it was strewn down the side of the ravine in a 10-yard radius from the skull.

Lawrence Kennedy, one of the D.C. detectives assigned to the Chandra Levy case, arrived a short time later and interviewed Bosak. “Does this scene remind you of any other crime scene that you have been on?” Kennedy asked. “Yes,” Bosak replied. “The attempted sexual assault case involving Guandique”....

We also learn from The Washington Post series on June 18, 2008 that Ingmar Guandique was apprehended and released the same day following the burglary that he committed on May 7, 2001. Guandique was finally apprehended and jailed after he attempted the armed kidnapping of jogger Christy Wiegand on July 1, 2001. This author has been critical of the “sanctuary city” policy of Washington, D.C. and desires the policy to end, with this case serving as one compelling reason to end such policies.

After reading this Government Memorandum In Aid of Sentencing, a few questions come to mind:

1. When did the government’s investigation into Ingmar Guandique’s Guatemalan crimes occur? Why was there a likely considerable delay in releasing the results of this investigation?

2. What is contained in the 43 pages of the Government’s Sentencing Memorandum that are likely completely redacted? This author believes that there is a compelling public interest in releasing the contents of these pages after the 30-day appeals time window closed on March 13, 2011.

3. Why was this crucial information released to the public, seemingly at the last possible minute, via the filing of this Memorandum on February 8, 2011?

4. What was the function of the Government’s Motion To Seal on February 8, 2011? To this author, there seems to have been considerable suppression of relevant information regarding the conduct of Ingmar Guandique, an illegal alien who murdered Chandra Levy on May 1, 2001.


A Defense appeal was filed in the case on February 25, 2011. The appeal had not been adjudicated as of June 24, 2011.

After reviewing a packet of information from me, Barbara Hollingsworth writes in an editorial opinion that appears in the February 15, 2011 Washington Examiner, “Why won’t feds come clean about Chandra Levy’s killer?” In a subsequent phone conversation, she tells me that a federal official called her and claimed that there were no immigration-related issues in the redacted 43 pages. She invites him to write a letter to the editor sharing this information. The official apparently declines.

Timeline of Ingman Guandique's conviction in killing Chandra Levy

About the author

Gene Nelson has opposed expansion of increased caps in 1998 and 2000 of the controversial H-1B Visa program. He testified twice in the U.S. House of Representatives (July 1998 and August 1999) and twice to the National Academy of Science (NAS) (April, 1996 and December, 1999).

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