It was the mystery that gripped the nation during the
summer of 2001: the sudden disappearance of Chandra Levy, a
young, promising intern, and the possible involvement of
Congressman Gary Condit. And then the case went cold. By
2007, satellite trucks and reporters had long since
abandoned the story of the congressman and the intern in
search of other news, fresh scandals. Across the country,
Chandra’s parents tried to resume their daily lives,
desperately hoping that someday there might be a break in
And in Washington, the old game of
who’s up and who’s down played on without interruption.
But Chandra Levy haunted. Six years after the young
intern’s disappearance, investigative editors of the
Washington Post pitched two Pulitzer Prize– winning
reporters their idea: Revisit the unsolved case
and find out what happened to Chandra, a task that had
eluded police and the FBI.
Scott Higham and Sari
Horwitz went to work. e result was a thirteen-part series in
the Washington Post that focused on a prime suspect
the police and the FBI had passed over years before. They
had wrongly pursued Condit and chased numerous false leads,
including a claim that Chandra had been kidnapped and taken
to the Middle East.
But the most likely culprit was
far less glamorous: an immigrant from El Salvador, a young
man in the clutches of alcohol, drugs, and violence who had
been stalking the running paths of Rock Creek Park,
assaulting female joggers at knifepoint. He had attacked
again, even as the police and the press concentrated on a
congressman romantically linked to the intern.
Finding Chandra explores the bungled
police efforts to locate the crime scene and catch a killer,
the ambition and hubris of Washington’s power elite and
press corps, the twisted culture of politics, the dark
nature of political scandal, and the agony of parents
struggling to comprehend the loss of a child. Above all, it
is a quintessential portrait of a cast of outsiders who came
to Washington with dreams of something better, only to be
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