Police combed the woods of Washington's Rock Creek Park on Monday after revealing that Chandra Levy had used her computer to look up directions to a secluded meeting spot there on the day she disappeared. The search turned up only a few small bones likely belonging to animals, apparently another dead end in the case.
Police had known for some time that Levy spent more than three hours on the morning of May 1 surfing the Web on her laptop computer, her last known activity. In releasing that information Sunday, police appeared to be signaling that they do not know where to turn, observers said.
Billy Martin, the attorney for Levy's parents, used the information to turn the pressure up a notch on the already besieged Rep. Gary Condit, D-Calif., who the Levys have said was having an affair with Chandra.
Levy had told friends and family that her "secret lover" demanded she not carry identification when meeting him, Martin said on NBC's Meet the Press.
In May, police found the former federal intern's wallet and identification in her locked apartment. Only her keys were missing, prompting Martin to say she appeared "to have been lured, called or brought out of the apartment expecting to return."
On Monday, about 50 police cadets walked in a grid through the hilly Rock Creek Park in the northwest section of Washington, turning up the bones that police collected for lab analysis.
Authorities cautioned against concluding that the bones had anything to do with Levy's disappearance. "It's not uncommon to find animal bones in the park," said Lt. Joseph Cox, a U.S. Park Police spokesman.
Police said that on May 1, Levy spent more than three hours beginning around 9:30 a.m. calling up Web pages. Among the information Levy looked up were directions to Klingle Mansion, a restored 1823 stone farmhouse on a hilltop that is used as a headquarters for the U.S. Park Police. The spot is about 2 miles from Levy's apartment and about a mile from Condit's Adams Morgan condominium, where Levy reportedly often spent the night.
Police said they conducted a more limited search of the area about four weeks ago. The park has been a dumping ground in the past for bodies.
The search Monday was part of a new, more intensive effort by police to check and recheck abandoned buildings and parks in Washington for Levy's body.
Police have said that Condit is not a suspect in what they classify as a missing-person case. So while authorities may be no closer to determining what happened to the former U.S. Bureau of Prisons intern, one thing is certain: Condit's life will never be the same.
Even if it turns out that the married 53-year-old congressman had nothing to do with Levy's disappearance, his image as a conservative Democrat and religious family man has been shattered.
Last week, newspapers reported that Otis Thomas, a Pentecostal minister in Modesto, told the FBI that his daughter had had an affair with Condit when she was 18 and that Condit warned her not to tell anyone.
A United Airlines flight attendant, Anne Marie Smith, 39, told investigators that a Condit representative tried to get her to sign a false affidavit saying she had not had a sexual relationship with the congressman.
In a recent television interview, Smith's attorney, James Robinson, said she had seen neckties tied together and affixed to Condit's bed in Washington in a manner that suggested they had been used as restraints during sex.
And on Monday, the Los Angeles Times reported that when Condit was elected to Congress in 1989, he hired onto his Washington staff a 20-year-old hostess from a restaurant he frequented in Sacramento when he was a California assemblyman. Records show that the former hostess was paid more than the congressman's press secretary even though she had no experience in politics or as an office worker. Three years after Condit brought her to Washington, the woman left the office in tears one day and was never seen again, a former Condit aide told the newspaper.
Condit has not spoken publicly about Levy since she disappeared. On April 29, Levy left a message on her aunt's telephone answering machine saying she had "some really big news." Also that day, Condit reportedly told police, he spoke to Levy by phone.
Levy was last seen April 30 canceling her membership at a Washington gym. She also reportedly paged Condit as many as 20 times that day.