The parents of missing intern Chandra Levy urged Rep. Gary A. Condit on Thursday to break his public silence, and spoke of the agony they have suffered since their daughter disappeared more than six weeks ago.
"I think he could come out and share what he does know. We would appreciate his help," Susan Levy said.
The California Democrat has not commented publicly on Levy's disappearance since releasing a printed statement about a month ago in which he called Chandra Levy "a great person and a good friend." His aides have denied a romance between the two.
"I don't know what [Susan Levy] is referring to," Mike Lynch, chief of staff in Condit's Modesto office, said Thursday night. "As far as I know, the police have said he's cooperated all along." He added: "Any speculation in the press [about any connection between Condit and Levy's disappearance] is sheer and utter nonsense."
Law enforcement sources cited by the Washington Post last week said Condit told Washington police that Levy had spent the night at his apartment. He did not say whether the two were romantically involved, the sources said. They added that the missing intern had told a close relative that she was romantically involved with Condit.
Aides to the congressman and a lawyer representing him have denied that Condit told police that Levy spent the night. The relative--who is not either of Levy's parents--confirmed Thursday in an interview that Chandra Levy "confided in me she was having a relationship with Congressman Condit. She cared a lot about him."
On an extraordinary day in the high-profile missing-person case, the Levys pleaded with Condit on national television and Washington police announced that they had asked a grand jury to subpoena records relating to Levy's disappearance.
In an interview with the Post, the Levys said they do not want to dwell on any possible romantic relationship between their daughter and the congressman. But they said any new details investigators can learn might shed some light on their daughter's days before her disappearance. Police have said they have no suspects in the case and no evidence of a crime.
Susan Levy said Chandra had spoken to her of a relationship in Washington without identifying the person. She said she learned the details from the relative and called her daughter in April and asked her if the man she had been seeing was Condit.
"When I asked her that," according to Levy, "Chandra said, 'How did you know?' "
Susan Levy said that when she realized in early May that her daughter was not simply unreachable, but was missing, she called Condit, her hometown congressman, for help in finding her. At one point, she said she asked him if he was having an affair with her daughter, an intern for the Bureau of Prisons.
"He told me no, that their relationship was professional," Levy said.
Lynch said Thursday night that he didn't know if that conversation took place. He added that, to the best of his knowledge, Susan Levy called Condit at his home in Ceres, a suburb of Modesto, on the night of May 6 and asked for help finding her daughter, saying that police didn't seem to be taking the case seriously.
Lynch said Condit called police the next morning on his way to the airport to return to Washington. He subsequently offered $10,000 from his campaign treasury to a reward fund.
"The Levys are in our prayers, and they have our full and total support," Lynch said.
Lynch also said Thursday that Condit's wife, Carolyn, who lives in Ceres, was in Washington from April 28 to May 3 to attend a function of the Congressional Wives Club.
Susan and Robert Levy have a full schedule of interviews almost daily. In the mirrored foyer of their home, they have a portrait of their daughter and the USC master's degree she was awarded, after her disappearance. They invite camera crews in and talk about how badly they want to know what happened to their daughter.
But they are trying to follow the scraps of information their missing daughter has left behind without jumping to conclusions.
Chandra canceled her membership at a Washington athletic club on April 30. At some point, she e-mailed some super-saver air fares to her mother. She also told Susan Levy that she might take the train home.