Finding Chandra

Finding Chandra

A True Washington Murder Mystery

Book - 2010
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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 the investigation.
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 forever changed.
Publisher: New York : Scribner, 2010.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9781439148761
Characteristics: 287 p. ; 24 cm.
Additional Contributors: Horowitz, Sari


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Jan 21, 2017

I remember when the disappearance of Chandra Leavy was in the news. At the time I would have bet that Congressman Condit had everything to do with it.

This book does a good job of telling the story from the day she went missing all the way through the investigation of Condit and finally police linking an attacker in a Washington DC park to the missing woman.

The book also shows how the public (and Condit's constituents) quickly turned against him when his life was linked to a young, attractive and missing young lady in Washington.

Aug 27, 2015

Unless you were living under a rock during the spring and summer of 2001, there was no escaping the case of Chandra Levy. When it was discovered that the 24-year old missing intern was having an affair with California Congressman Gary Condit, the story went radioactive overnight. Speculation and innuendo dominated the news cycle as police zeroed in on an evasive Condit. But while this media circus was unfolding, an illegal alien from El Salvador was arrested on two counts of assaulting female joggers in the same park where Levy's body was eventually found. Finding Chandra does an excellent job in documenting how the DC police botched this investigation from the start by chasing newspaper headlines instead of focusing on a suspect where a substantial amount of circumstantial evidence was pointing towards his guilt. Whether you're a fan of True Crime or Netflix's House of Cards, you'll definitely burn through this book almost as fast as I did!


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