When will the Levy family get to bury Chandra?
Chandra Levy may not be missing, but she still can’t go home. In late May, with most of her skeleton found along a steep slope in Rock Creek Park and a determination that her death was a homicide, D.C. Medical Examiner Jonathan L. Arden started making plans to return her remains to Modesto, Calif.
“The general policy is that when we have completed our examinations and made our determinations, we try to make the body available to the family within 24 hours,” Arden explains.
So after the D.C. police department rolled up its tape, Arden figured it was safe to return Levy’s remains. He had started coordinating logistics with Levy family attorney Billy Martin. “We were making tentative plans to release her remains within the week,” Arden says.
That was more than three weeks ago—before Levy family investigators, with a Washington Post reporter watching, found her right shinbone, or tibia. And it was before police officers uncovered another large bone and two small foot bones.
Arden says that there are no new deadlines or timelines on returning Levy’s remains. Apparently, the Levy family has agreed to wait as long as it takes. “We have agreed that as soon as we can, we will release her remains,” he adds. “I don’t want to release
her remains at a time when [the
police] are actively seeking further recovery. I would rather know they have closed the scene and discontinued the search.”
When her remains are prepared for shipping may depend on when police find the two major bones still missing. Arden says the remaining big catches are an arm bone and the pelvic bone. Aside from those two, there are several smaller bones from her hands and feet unrecovered as well, he adds.
“It is very unlikely that we will recover all her bones,” Arden admits.
Judy Smith, a Levy family spokesperson, offers: “We have no expectations on when the remains will arrive. That’s not up to us—that’s up to the medical examiner.”
The police insist that the recovery effort is still ongoing. But even though they have secured the perimeter of the search area with four cruisers parked round-the-clock and tons of police tape, there are limitations. “We are not capable of communicating with animals, and it is their habitat,” says Cmdr. Christopher LoJacono, the head of the police department’s Forensic Science Division. “We are not trying to restrict the movement of animals, and I don’t know we could if we tried.” CP