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Mourners Bid Farewell to Chandra Levy - 2002-05-29

In Modesto, California, 1,200 mourners remembered Chandra Levy, whose remains were found in a Washington park last Wednesday. As friends and relatives eulogized the young woman, officials in Washington declared her death a murder.

The disappearance of the 24-year-old college intern more than one year ago drew national attention after it was reported that she had a romantic relationship with Congressman Gary Condit. But in the quiet town of Modesto, friends and family members remembered her through poetry and music as someone taken away from them too early.

Paul Katz is Chandra's uncle - the brother of her mother. After the memorial, he thanked friends, community members and the news media for their support. "It's been a trying time," he said. "It's been a hard journey, and without that kind of support, I'm sure we couldn't walk that path."

Chandra Levy's remains were found last week in a secluded, wooded section of Washington's Rock Creek Park. Tuesday, District of Columbia medical examiner Jonathan Arden made this announcement: "The cause of death has been certified as undetermined," he said. "The manner of death has been certified as homicide."

The official says there was not enough evidence to determine how the woman died.

Washington Police Chief Charles Ramsey says the remains and personal items have been removed from the park and that the Federal Bureau of Investigation will analyze them. "That clothing and so forth will be sent to the FBI lab," he pointed out, "and that's when we'll start to determine whether or not we have anything of evidentiary value at all.

The official says it is too early to label anyone a suspect in the murder but that police will review who needs to be questioned and re-questioned. Those already interviewed include congressman Condit and a Salvadoran immigrant who was convicted of assaulting two joggers in the same park last year.

In Modesto, attorney Billy Martin spoke for the Levy family after Tuesday's memorial. "We want justice," he said. "We hope that this case will not go unsolved. Somebody out there knows information that will help solve now the murder of Chandra Levy, and we hope to solve that."