October 22nd, 2010
10:23 PM ET

Retracing Chandra Levy's steps

Editor's note: For more on this story, watch "Murder in the Capital: The death of Chandra Levy" Saturday at 10 p.m. ET on CNN.

It was creepy to think I was retracing what may have been the last steps taken by a beautiful, ambitious young woman, who became a murder victim on this very trail. The leaves were crunching under my feet as they hit the dirt jogging path, I tried to hold the small POV cam steady in my hand - I wanted to show viewers what Chandra Levy saw on her last day alive.

On May 1, 2001, investigators say, Chandra went for a run in this same section of the 1,700-plus-acre Rock Creek Park - it’s like the Central Park of Washington. I couldn’t help but notice, the trail is one of the most beautiful, yet most isolated, parts of Rock Creek.

As I jogged, I tried to imagine what Chandra looked like that day, her last. Confident, energetic, her unruly black hair bobbing in the wind, a Walkman strapped to her arm as she moved deeper and deeper into the woods. Chandra’s thoughts probably were absorbed in the end of her relationship with the man friends say she loved - the powerful congressman she believed would eventually leave his wife and career to be with her. She may have also been thinking about her move back to California, or maybe about that “surprise” she told her aunt she needed to tell her about in an answering machine message - a surprise that would never be revealed. I bet the last thing on Chandra’s mind was some killer hiding on the side of the trail, waiting for her.

I stopped jogging and stood still, examining the woods around me - Did the killer hide behind that tree trunk? Or that one? Ugh, I was creeping myself out! Then, I realized how quiet it was... Strangely quiet, considering how close the park is to such a major city. All I could hear was the leaves and branches rustling as they hit each other while swaying in the wind. It was so beautiful, so peaceful, so eerily quiet. That got me thinking ...

When I finished grabbing the shot I met back up with my crew to conduct an experiment to see how easy it was for Chandra to disappear on that trail. We placed a photographer near the start of the path, by the main road - the most likely place anyone would have been, had they been around the day Chandra was killed.

I followed the trail 200 yards into the woods. Then, the photographer at the entrance started rolling his camera.

From my position, I screamed "Help! Help!" at the top of my lungs several times, then jogged back to the photographer.

"Did you hear me, Did you hear me?” I asked.

He looked at me, surprised. "It didn’t sound anything like screaming. You sounded like a bird off in the distance.”

He put his headphones over my ears and replayed the tape. I heard two faint cries, my desperate screams had blended in with the sounds of nature. Immediately, I got chills on my arms. If no one could hear me, how would anyone have heard Chandra ... ?

Post by:
Filed under: Chandra Levy • Crime
soundoff (128 Responses)
  1. gussie1

    You just wasted by precious time . . .

    October 23, 2010 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
  2. Jeff

    truth has no place here huh?

    October 23, 2010 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
  3. spat

    Although the article does have a juvenile tone, it was intriguing. I think we need to get over ourselves. I also think the Levy's would be thrilled to know that their daughter has not been forgotten.

    October 23, 2010 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  4. Amanda

    Do you people not realize that you are reading a BLOG? They are hardly a source of newsworthy stories for the most part. CNN has writers with blogs. It happens. If your precious time is wasted by reading them, you should stay away from them or stick with purely Associated Press content. Unless they have blogs. In which case, you should go yell at them, too. Be sure to be crazy drama queens about it and not actually notice that you are on a BLOG PAGE.

    October 23, 2010 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
    • MP

      I don't think anyone was saying their time was wasted. Just that you wouldn't expect to see an article like this on CNN's website. Blog or not. The post was by "CNN's Amber Lyons"...not some random blogger on the internet. Imagine if Chandra Levy's parents were reading this. Some girl (journalist) got some kind of rush thinking about how their daughter was brutally murdered and where the murderer might have been hiding. It is pathetic.

      October 23, 2010 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jeff

    A wannabe Monica Lewinski....we were probably saved from major scandal when nature dealt with one who's goal was to be the 'other woman'. CNN really hard up for worthwhile stories? Darwins right...waste will be flushed away.

    October 23, 2010 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Ken

    What sick crap. Just another stab at Gary Condit. (whose involvement with her is STILL only a rumor). That CNN will publish junk like this says more about CNN's low standards for journalism thatn anything else.

    October 23, 2010 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Leesa

    This article is shocking in its casual tone, use of slang, and limited facts. It doesn't trace the final steps of Ms. Levy. I cannot believe this is a "front page" story. Did I really just read, "ugh, I was creeping myself out." This is high school journalism at best.

    October 23, 2010 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
  8. JC

    Terribly sad that this person was murdered all those years ago, but why is this being written about again? With so many other news stories, including recent murders, why does this make it to the top of CNN?

    October 23, 2010 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  9. midnitejax

    I gotta say this is amazing stuff here. Nothing spells intelligent reporting skills as solving an already solved murder. Whew!!! Think about all that hard earned money someone spent to get their child a sub-standard education. Posting this article only manages to reveal the poor editing skills at CNN. I always thought CNN was a biggotted news agency with all the blonde haired, blue eyed murder and missing victims they posted. Now we see that they are making great strides in catching FOX with stupidity and sensationalism.

    October 23, 2010 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
  10. John Clark

    The subject of the article becomes the writer, not the true subject (Chandra). This is the modern style of reporting, journalists have all become bloggers. Used to be that their names were supressed. "The New York Times says..." is what we used to get, and I wish it had remained that way, to deliver real news to the reader, instead of writers' ego distorting the news.

    October 23, 2010 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
  11. midnitejax

    If they want to wirte an article, maybe they should try one on the man who's reputation and career was destroyed when he was wrongfully accused of her murder. His opponent in his congressional district used the most heinous tactics in politics. Using a murder victims connection to your opponent for votes? That has the smell of Rove all over it. Levy's reputation and lifestyle were dragged thru the dirt for votes.She was a murder victim, and exploited. Shameful.

    October 23, 2010 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
  12. ash

    haaaaaaaaaaa haaaaaaaaaa i actually read all of these comments so far and preferred them, to the childish blog.. maybe this amber chick should write twilight 4 or whatever part they are in right now... .. "she sounded like a bird "" yeah right i bet she has a raspy terrible voice ...

    October 23, 2010 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
  13. midnitejax

    keburg.....you're an idiot. The murder was solved and there is a trial because here in the US, we still have trials for ......well yes.......even lowdown rapists and murderers.

    October 23, 2010 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • keburg

      "keburg.....you're an idiot. The murder was solved and there is a trial because here in the US, we still have trials for ......well yes.......even lowdown rapists and murderers."

      hahahaha. And I'm an idiot? Hahahaha.

      October 23, 2010 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
  14. TiredandSick

    "Chandra’s thoughts probably were absorbed in the end of her relationship with the man friends say she loved – the powerful congressman she believed would eventually leave his wife and career to be with her."

    How about condit's wife that chanda believed that condit would eventually leave to be with her? Was she also included in the investigation? This could be a crime of HATE and REVENGE.

    October 23, 2010 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
  15. truth

    And there are a number of FALSE statements:
    (1) she didn't work for Condit;
    (2) law enforcement dispelled the media rumor that he was "leaving his wife" for here – there was never any evidence of that type of romance;
    (3) Susan Levy has changed her story OVER and OVER – the media reports the inconsistencies and then keeps on going back to the well.
    It's unbelievable that a guy who had an affair with a 24 year old intern who didn't work for him was made out to be the biggest monster in the world. If anything, he cooperated TOO much with an incompetent police force.

    October 23, 2010 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
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