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Chandra Levy, Laci Peterson cases again center stage in TV series

Once again, the lens of a television crew has turned to Modesto as two of the area’s highest-profile crimes are featured on a CNN series.

“How it Really Happened with Hill Harper” airs Sunday at 9 p.m. on CNN’s Headline News channel. It promises to reveal “new clues” and “new twists and turns” in the investigation into the death of Modesto’s Chandra Levy, who disappeared in Washington, D.C., in 2001. A later segment of the show will re-examine the Laci Peterson case.

Levy went missing in May 2001. According to promotional materials for the CNN show, “Police find her cell phone in her apartment and no sign of a struggle. Who saw her last? Where did she go? Chandra had a secret, did that have anything to do with her disappearance? This episode reveals the new clues of a murder mystery that remains unsolved.”

Levy’s secret, now well-known, was a romantic relationship with then-Rep. Gary Condit. The Ceres congressman was questioned repeatedly in Levy’s disappearance and death. Ingmar Guandique, a native of El Salvador, was convicted in Levy’s murder in 2010. That conviction was overturned in 2015 after defense attorneys asked for a new trial because a key witness had served as a police informant previously, something that did not come out in the original trial. Prosecutors declined to continue the case; Guandique was deported earlier this year.

Sunday’s episode recaps much of the case and includes interviews with Levy’s parents, Susan and Bob, as well as former D.C. Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey. Condit declined a request to participate.

“Somewhere in the universe, someone knows what really happened,” Susan Levy says. “All I know is someone’s responsible and I don’t have my child. It’s a nightmare.”

Ramsey, though he left D.C. in 2007 and has since retired, wanted to reassure the Levys that the matter remains under investigation.

“The case is still there,” he says. “People still care. People are still working. Somebody knows who killed Chandra Levy. Somebody knows.”

The series’ episode focusing on Laci Peterson, who disappeared from her Modesto home on Christmas Eve 2002, is set to air Dec. 10. Peterson’s body and that of her unborn son, Conner, washed ashore in San Francisco Bay the following year. Her husband, Scott Peterson, was tried and convicted in their deaths and remains on San Quentin’s Death Row.