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Chances of Finding Levy Called '50-50'

July 30, 2001|ROBERT L. JACKSON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

WASHINGTON — District of Columbia police have concluded there is only a 50-50 chance of solving the case of Chandra Levy, the 25-year-old Modesto woman who has been missing for three months since completing a government internship.

While 50 police recruits will on Friday abandon their inch-by-inch search of a Washington park for clues about Levy's fate, officials will keep two detectives assigned to the case to continue working with FBI agents.

"We're no closer in finding out what happened to Chandra Levy today than we were when we first started this investigation," Police Chief Charles Ramsey said Sunday on CBS's "Face the Nation."

But Ramsey added that, based on tips his officers are still receiving, "there's a lot of information and material that we do have that we're combing through."

Appearing also on NBC's "Meet the Press," Ramsey said the chances of solving the case were no better than even.

"I'd like to be more optimistic than that," he said. "But I think I'm being very generous at 50-50 because, after all this time, still not knowing for certain whether or not she met with foul play, whether or not she's just missing on her own . . . is troubling."

Although the investigation remains a missing person case, Ramsey conceded that homicide was a real possibility.

"There is a remote possibility of suicide," he said, "but as time goes on that does become more and more remote." Criminal investigators have said that suicide victims usually want their bodies to be found or at least leave a note.

Asked about criticism that police have assigned an inordinately large amount of resources to the case, Ramsey replied, "I can certainly understand how that perception could be there, with this intense media coverage." But he insisted that "we're out there working just as hard on other people's cases."

Sounding a pessimistic note in a separate appearance on ABC's "This Week," Ramsey remarked, "There are people throughout the country that are missing and have been missing for years."

He said that based on a fourth interview last week with Rep. Gary A. Condit (D-Ceres), who has acknowledged he had an affair with Levy, police were not prepared to say he has told them everything. But he stressed that Condit was not a suspect in any crime.

House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R--Ill.), asked on NBC whether Condit should resign from Congress, as some other members have urged, said that was "a decision I think probably Mr. Condit's going to have to reconcile with his constituents. . . . The bigger issue here is what happened to Ms. Levy."

Judy Smith, a Washington spokeswoman for the missing woman's parents, Robert and Susan, said that she had no reaction to Ramsey's statements but that the Levys remained hopeful their daughter would be found.

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