What's the Latest on the Missing Intern?

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June 19 2001 5:13 PM

What's the Latest on the Missing Intern?

A chronology of the Chandra Levy story, updated as news breaks.

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The last time anyone saw Chandra Levy, a 24-year-old Washington intern, was on April 30 when she canceled her membership at a gym near her Dupont Circle apartment. Since then, there has been international attention focused on the nature of her relationship with Rep. Gary Condit, a 53-year-old married California Democrat, who has not himself spoken about Levy but has issued a statement through his office that the young woman was a "good friend" and nothing more. Accusations are now being exchanged between Levy's parents and Condit's staff and newly hired lawyer as word comes out that Condit may be preparing to face the media. Here, based on press reports of the case, is a timeline of what we know about Chandra Levy and Gary Condit.

September 2000: Levy arrives in Washington from California to get a master's degree in public administration from the University of Southern California and to work for six months in the public affairs office of the federal Bureau of Prisons. She had never lived far away from home before. A graduate of San Francisco State University, she grew up in Modesto in California's agricultural Central Valley. Her father is an oncologist and her mother an artist, but since she was a teen-ager, Levy's professional interest has been politics and law enforcement. She has had internships with Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan and California Gov. Gray Davis. She talked about possibly becoming an FBI agent. 

October 2000: Levy and a friend, fellow USC grad student Jennifer Baker, would sometimes go on what they called, according to the Modesto Bee, "political field trips." The two young women would go to the offices of House members and get their photos taken with representatives. On a whim they arrived one day at the office of Levy's congressman, Gary Condit.

Condit has been a member of the House for 12 years. Condit grew up in Oklahoma, the son of a Baptist minister. He came to Ceres, Calif., as a teen-ager, already married and with an infant son. He worked his way through Stanislaus State and at 24 was elected to the Ceres City Council. That was followed by elections to county supervisor and then the state assembly. His career took a hit in 1988 when he and some colleagues tried unsuccessfully to remove Willie Brown (now mayor of San Francisco) from his post as speaker of the assembly. But then Rep. Tony Coelho resigned from Congress because of accusations of financial impropriety, and Condit won a special election in 1989 and has been re-elected easily ever since.

Condit is one of those people destined to always be described as "boyishly handsome" even though he is now a grandfather. (Both his grown children have worked for Gray Davis.) Condit's wife, Carolyn, is chronically ill and requires frequent hospitalizations. She has never moved to Washington, but he flies to his district most weekends to see her. Condit is a rock fan who jumped into a mosh pit while attending a Pearl Jam concert and a motorcycle rider whose picture has appeared in Easyriders, a raunchy motorcycle magazine. Until recently, Condit was not camera-shy. He also appeared as Mr. June in the "Hunks of the House" calendar, a spoof put together by a congresswoman. In his office, the Los Angeles Times reports, is a wall of 8 x 12 photos of Condit alone in various attire. His nickname is "Mr. Blow-Dry."

The day in October that Levy and Baker showed up, according to the Los Angeles Times, Condit invited the two women to accompany him to the House floor to watch him vote. The three then went back to his office and had a picture taken together. It is the now famous shot of the two women flanking Condit, his arm around each of them, although Condit's lawyer has complained that newspapers have sometimes misleadingly cropped out Baker when they ran the photo. Police found a framed copy of that photo in Levy's apartment when they entered it after her disappearance.

Baker that day talked herself into an unpaid internship with Condit. Then she left, and Levy stayed behind in the congressman's office. During Baker's internship, Levy came by many times to have lunch with her friend, but to Baker's knowledge that initial meeting was the only time Levy ever saw the congressman. According to Condit's office, Levy dropped by about six times over the next six months for things such as tickets to the White House.

November 2000: A relative of Levy's visits her in Washington during Thanksgiving. The two discuss Levy's romantic life, according to the WashingtonPost, a discussion which contradicts the denials later issued by Condit's office about an affair between the intern and the congressman.

December 2000: After visiting her parents in California, Levy returns to Washington. On the 23rd she sends an e-mail to a friend about a secret romance. The ModestoBee reports that the e-mail says, "My man will be coming back when Congress starts up again. I'm looking forward to seeing him" and that she has misled Jennifer Baker about her boyfriend. Levy writes in the e-mail that she told Baker she was dating someone from the FBI so that Baker "wouldn't ask any questions." She said in another e-mail that the man she was seeing paid for her return ticket to D.C. Levy told another friend that she was seeing "someone in politics."

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