WASHINGTON — Investigators in the 2001 slaying of Chandra Levy have prepared an arrest warrant for a Salvadoran immigrant convicted of similar attacks in the park where the former intern disappeared, a person close to the investigation said Saturday.
The person told the Associated Press that Ingmar Guandique's arrest is imminent and that an announcement is expected soon. The person was not authorized to discuss the case publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Levy had just completed an internship with the U.S. Bureau of Prisons when she went missing in May 2001 in Washington, D.C. The 24-year-old was wearing jogging clothes when she vanished, and her remains were discovered in Rock Creek Park a year later.
Authorities questioned former U.S. Rep. Gary Condit in Levy's disappearance, but he was never a suspect in her death. Condit was reportedly having an affair with Levy, and the negative publicity from the case was cited as a main reason the California lawmaker lost re-election in 2002.
Guandique, 27, has denied any involvement in Levy's disappearance and killing. Investigators interviewed him in the Levy case after he was convicted of attacking two female joggers in Rock Creek Park shortly after her disappearance.
Guandique was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for those attacks.
Levy's father, Robert Levy, said Washington police Chief Cathy Lanier called his home late Friday and said there would be an arrest in a few days.
Robert Levy said he and his wife, Susan, were not told the identity of the person to be arrested "but we all know who it is." He would not elaborate but said they would favor a life sentence for the killer.
"If someone is executed, they really don't suffer too much," he said from his home in Modesto, Calif.
A second person aware of the investigation, a law enforcement official who spoke to investigators, said Saturday that the break in the case came in part from DNA evidence. The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the Levy investigation is ongoing, said DNA evidence was either retested or collected, and it was connected to Guandique.
The official said that D.C. police have interviewed Guandique at least twice, and that the case has been sent to a grand jury.
An attorney for Condit said the new revelations clear the former congressman.
"This should give the Levys the answer and closure they deserve, and remove the unfair cloud that has hung over the Condits for too long," said Abbe Lowell, a Washington lawyer.
Condit said in a statement to WJLA-TV in Washington that he is glad the Levy family is finally getting answers.
"For my family, I am glad that their years of standing together in the face of such adversity have finally led to the truth," he said in the statement, posted on the station's Web site.
At the Levy home on a quiet suburban street in Modesto, photographs of Chandra adorn the living room. The piano she played remains in the front room, but is now out of tune. Her bedroom has become part storage area and part shrine, with more pictures of Chandra hanging next to her mother's paintings.
"There's not a day or night it's not on our minds," Susan Levy said. "When it comes to holiday time and family get-togethers, there's a big void."
Susan Levy said the couple had been meeting with a task force of Washington police working on the case. "We got the attention that may lead to an arrest and a conviction," she said.