Chandra Levy police search woods for burial spot

Police were today searching woods in Washington near a landmark which missing intern Chandra Levy looked up on the internet before she disappeared.

Police were today searching woods in Washington near a landmark which missing intern Chandra Levy looked up on the internet before she disappeared.

Officers were searching around Pierce-Kringle Mansion, an historic home at the centre of Rock Creek Park, a wooded area in the American capital.

They were also asking taxi drivers to check their records to see if they drove the missing 24-year-old there.

Police earlier revealed that Chandra had spent almost four hours on May 1, the day after she was last seen, looking at travel and map Web sites - with Pierce-Kringle mansion the last place she looked up.

But the chief of police in Washington also admitted the force had no clues and no tips to help them find the missing woman, who was having an affair with 53-year-old married California congressman Gary Condit when she vanished.

Police Chief Charles Ramsey said: ‘‘We have no tips and clues at all when it comes to what happened to her.

‘‘We cannot even prove that we have a crime.’’

Today teams of police, some of them recruits taken out of police academy to boost numbers, were scouring the beauty spot for a body or a fresh burial spot.

The woods are two miles from Chandra’s apartment and one mile from Mr Condit’s.

Detectives were also investigating a tip-off received after the case was featured on America’s Most Wanted, the US equivalent of Crimewatch, that a man was trying to lure women into a van close to where Chandra lived.

Mr Ramsey also revealed officers had been called to the building where Chandra lived in the early hours of May 1 after a female tenant reported screams coming from the street.

But he said there was no reason to believe it had anything to do with the missing woman - five hours later she was surfing the Internet and sending e-mail.

New details also emerged about the intern’s affair with the congressman, who lied to police about his involvement with her until just over a week ago.

Newsweek magazine reported the politician ‘‘couldn’t remember’’ if he had sex with the intern the last time he saw her, a week before she disappeared.

Police sources told the magazine Mr Condit had revealed he last met his lover on April 24, when her internship at the Federal Bureau of Prisons had ended, and talked about the future.

Chandra was planning to return to California to graduate from university and try to find another job and Mr Condit said he could help and added: ‘‘I know people there.’’

But when asked by detectives if the two had sex that morning, Mr Condit said he could not remember.

And it was also revealed that Mr Condit insisted Chandra carry nothing to identify her when she visited his apartment, such as a driving licence or credit card.

He even told her to go to another floor if someone else was in the lift with her when she went to his home, and wear dark glasses and a baseball cap when the two went out for dinner.

Billy Martin, the lawyer for the Levy family, told NBC’s Meet the Press: ‘‘There appears to have been some concern that, if stopped, he did not want her to be identified.’’

Chandra’s driving licence and credit cards were found in her apartment when police entered it six days after she was last seen. They also found her luggage, which appeared to be almost fully packed.

Mr Martin said Mr Condit’s insistence on secrecy could explain why the cards and licence were found in the apartment.

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