Real Names: Joyce Chiang and Chandra Ann Levy
Nicknames: No known nicknames
Location: Washington, D.C.
Date: (Chiang) January 9, 1999; (Levy) May 1, 2001
Details: Chandra Levy was a government worker who mysteriously disappeared on her way to work on May 1, 2001. Her remains were later found in Rock Creek Park, four miles from her apartment; she was determined to have been murdered. Her case received national attention after she was believed to have had an affair with U.S. Representative Gary Condit. Some suspected that she was murdered in order to keep it a secret. Her mysterious disappearance and death still has not been solved, but few people know that she was not the first government intern to vanish.
Two years earlier, Joyce Chiang, an attorney at the INS, this time of Taiwanese descent, also vanished and was later found dead. Although there was no romantic scandal or national media coverage, the similarities between both cases are striking. Both women lived in the same neighborhood, worked for the same government agency, shared similar physical characteristics, and were young, attractive, petite, and brunette. However, authorities believed that the similarities were just coincidence. They suggested that Joyce may have even committed suicide, but her family believes otherwise.
Joyce was the only daughter in a closely-knit Taiwanese-American family. While in college, she worked as an intern for representative Howard Berman of California. Following the internship, she took a job as a lawyer for the INS. She lived with her brother, Roger, at the Dupont Circle area of Washington, D.C., the same area Chandra would move to two years later. A favorite hangout for both women was a nearby Starbucks; it was there that Joyce was last seen alive on the night of January 9, 1999.
Earlier that evening, Joyce had met up with a friend to go see a movie and have dinner. Her friend offered to take her home, but she asked her to drop her off at the Starbucks. She left her friend, planning to walk the four blocks home, but never arrived at her apartment. Because she was a federal employee, the FBI handled her case. However, their initial investigation turned up no leads. Three days after she vanished, a bizarre message was found on a wall near the Starbucks where she was last seen, that read "Good Day J.C. may I never miss the thrill of being near you." Her family and friends believed that whoever was responsible for her disappearance may have written it.
Then a couple came forward and claimed that while walking through Anacostia Park on January 10, they found a billfold with Joyce's government credit card. They turned it into the park police that day. However, it remained in the lost & found for four days before the couple saw her picture on the news and contacted the FBI. Search parties soon went through the area where her billfold had been found. Several new items of hers turned up, including her apartment keys, a video rental and grocery store card, her gloves, and the jacket that she was wearing when she vanished. Disturbingly, there was a rip that went through its back. Police searched the river but found no trace of her.
Three months later, a canoeist, paddling eight miles downstream from where Joyce's personal effects were found, discovered her body on the shore. Three months in the water had caused severe damage to it and it took DNA testing to identify it as hers. Due to the decomposition, police were unable to determine her cause of death. Investigators found no evidence of foul play, and decided to label her case as unresolved, but closed. Some investigators suggested that she had committed suicide.
However, Joyce's family and friends believed that she was murdered and there was no way she would kill herself. They insisted that she was not depressed and had no reason to harm herself. Furthermore, her personal effects were found five miles from the Starbucks where she was last seen and no public transportation could take her there. Finally, the tear in the back of her jacket suggested that she had been attacked. In May 2001, when Chandra vanished, there was renewed interest in Joyce's case, and the similarities between them were shocking. The authorities are trying to find out if both could be connected by the same killer and if there could be others.
One of the possible other cases connected was that of twenty-eight-year-old Christine Mirzayan, who mysteriously disappeared five months before Joyce after leaving a barbecue and was found raped and murdered soon after. All three women lived in the same area, were about the same height and had brown hair, and were interns at some point in their lives. However, despite intense investigations, the cases remain unsolved.
Suspects: Chandra's disappearance was also connected to U.S. Representative Gary Condit, an allegation both he and his supporters vehemently denied. No suspects were identified in Joyce's case.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the June 10, 2002 episode. The possible connection between the two cases was also explored on Haunting Evidence. Chandra's case was also covered on America's Most Wanted and Court TV.
Results: Unresolved. In 2008, a twenty-seven-year-old illegal immigrant named Ingmar A. Guandique was charged with Chandra's murder. He had been convicted of the assaults of two women in Rock Creek Park in an area close to where her remains were found. The assaults occurred just a few weeks after her disappearance. Guandique was connected to her case after a jail informant came forward, claiming that he had confessed to killing her.
Investigators discovered that Guandique had not gone to work on the day Chandra vanished. Also, his landlady remembered seeing scratches on his face that same day. Evidence found with Chandra's remains suggested that she was attacked in a way almost identical to his surviving victims. Finally, investigators found a photograph of her among his belongings. In 2010, he was found guilty in her murder and sentenced to sixty years in prison.
However, in 2015, Guandique's conviction was overturned after his defense attorneys found evidence that the jail informant was lying. In July 2016, it was announced that prosecutors would not retry him for Chandra's murder after a woman came forward with an audiotape; on it, the jail informant told her that he had lied about the confession. Guandique was turned over to ICE and has since been deported.
Meanwhile, in January 2011, D.C. police announced that they have identified two suspects in Joyce's murder: Steve Allen and Neil Joaquin. The police believe that they were planning on abducting and robbing her. They believe she tried to escape from them, and either fell or was pushed into the icy Potomac River and drowned. Allen is currently serving a life sentence for an unrelated crime, while Joaquin was deported to Guyana in 2006. Unfortunately, it has no extradition treaty with the United States. In May 2011, Joyce's case was officially closed by D.C. police and changed from "suicide" to "homicide," but Allen and Joaquin were never charged with her murder.
Christine's murder was later connected through DNA to eight rapes in the local area from 1991 to 1998, committed by the unknown "Potomac River Rapist". In November 2019, Giles Warrick was arrested and charged with her murder and the rapes after his DNA was connected to her case.
- Joyce Chiang on Unsolved.com
- Chandra Levy and Joyce Chiang on Wikipedia
- Search continues for attorney - January 22, 1999
- Georgetown Joins the Search For Missing Law School Alum - January 26, 1999
- The Murder Victim Next Door - July 30, 1999
- Gruesome, Unsolved Murders Haunt Levy Investigation - June 20, 2001
- Intern's disappearance similar to 1999 case - July 1, 2001
- Levy case may be linked to two D.C. murders - July 14, 2001
- D.C. police call in help to search for missing intern - July 16, 2001
- Police See Nothing to Link Missing Intern and Dead Women July 18, 2001
- D.C. Police Repeat Suicide Theory to Brother - September 1, 2001
- Former FBI Profiler revisits the murders of Chandra Levy and Joyce Chiang - Decemberr 8, 2005
- (Washington Post Articles) Who Killed Chandra Levy?
- Announcement in 12-Year-Old Cold Case Expected Tomorrow - May 12, 2011
- D.C. police to make announcement in cold-case death of Joyce Chiang - May 12, 2011
- Joyce Chiang Murder Solved? - May 12, 2011
- Police now say 1999 Chiang suicide was a homicide - May 12, 2011
- DC police to reclassify 1999 cold case as homicide - May 13, 2011
- John Walsh: Serial Rapists Killed Joyce Chiang - May 13, 2011
- Charges dropped in Chandra Levy's murder - July 30, 2016
- Who Killed Chandra Levy? 15 Years Later, More Questions Than Answers in DC Murder Mystery - November 3, 2016
- Suspected Potomac River Rapist, who "terrorized" women in '90s, caught with genetic genealogy - November 15, 2019
- Joyce Chiang and Chandra Levy on Find a Grave