Criminal focus: Hard spotlight on Condit’s “panicked pay phone call” from Luray, Virginia

Published 17 years ago -  - 17y ago 8

Just how long a healthy woman needs to go missing, before the investigation is declared officially as being one of a criminal nature, is probably a question the Levy family and most of America would like answered.

But as the FBI and D.C. police proceed at what appears to be a slothful pace on this…(we can’t even say “case,” yet, so what do we call it?)…mystery, and as the missing persons investigation got off to such a shabby start, with the D.C. police not making entry into the vanished Chandra Levy’s apartment until May 11 (she vanished on May 1), it is, again, up to the paraprofessional researcher for to do some digging.

Stewardess Anne Marie Smith, in an August 2nd appearance on CNN’s Larry King Live and elsewhere, clarifies earlier confusion, when she states that a review of her records shows that the phone call wherein Condit stated that he “might be in some trouble” and “might have to disappear for awhile” came on May 10 or 11. The specific nature of that trouble seems not to concern the Establishment media or law enforcement investigators.

Significantly, on May 17, Ms. Smith having just completed a domestic flight, touching down in Washington D.C. on the afternoon of May 17, attempted to call Congressman Condit “on his girly line.” Mr. Condit did not return her message until midnight, May 17, from–as has been verified by Ms. Smith’s caller ID, through phone records leaked by one in the Washington D.C. police department, and as reported by Fox News’ Rita Cosby–a McDonald’s fast-food restaurant, 709 E Main St., Luray, VA 22835; and that when he did, stated that, “I have some business to take care of,” but, concerning her relationship, soothed her and assured her that everything was alright between them. (*** See below for the CNN Larry King Live transcript of this interview.)

If paid investigators, servants of We The People and whose salaries are paid for by us, want to find Chandra Levy, I offer the following lead:

Gary Condit, despite a meticulous voting record (insofar as being present and casting House floor votes), missed his first-ever year 2001 vote, three of them, on May 17. A survey of House roll call votes and of the Congressional Record show that he was present for a procedural vote at 10:26am. He then missed three straight votes, at 11:26am, 12:32pm and 2:09pm. He then surfaces at midnight, for the midnight pay phone call to Ms. Smith from the Luray, Virginia McDonald’s.

The Levys had come to Washington D.C. on May 15th. That same day, he was interviewed for the first time by D.C. police. The next day, the police and the Levy parents issue a joint press conference, which sparked widespread television and Internet exposure of Chandra Levy’s photograph.

What was Condit doing in Luray, Virginia, 80 miles away from his Adams-Morgan (Georgetown) area apartment and D.C. offices? Federal investigators must answer this question, should they wish to have any credibility with the American people.

It is known that the Modesto, California Democrat rarely, if ever, drives a car, preferring to be chauffered by his staff or to hop on his Harley-Davidson; it should, therefore, at least be mentioned that there is an airport in Luray, Virginia   just a few miles from the McDonald’s in question.

Were I an FBI investigator, I would summon records of every flight entering the Luray, Virginia airport on May 17, checking passenger manifests, details of cargo loads, and interviewing every pilot as to the nature of his/her touchdown at that tiny airport on that day. (Media and investigators should contact: Luray Caverns Airport; Mark Johnson Jr. Chairman, Luray Caverns Airport Commission; 319 North Court Street Luray, Virginia 22835. Telephone: 540-743-5684)

If Condit did not travel to Luray by light plane, then I, as an FBI investigator, would want a complete timeline (and one corroborated meticulously) of the whereabouts of his Washington D.C. chief of staff Mike Dayton on May 17. Mr. Dayton is long known to be a driver for Condit in the D.C. area, and was named last week as the Congressman’s driver, when Condit sought to ditch a watch case in Alexandria, Virginia, on June 11, just hours before the FBI were to do a search of his boss’s apartment. (The watch itself, a gift from yet another girlfriend and one-time Condit staffer, Joleen Argentini McKay, has not been accounted for by Condit or investigators, prompting some to believe that it might have been lost by Condit in a struggle with Chandra Levy.)

The significance of the phone call, from Condit to Ms. Smith, is central to any concerted effort to find Chandra Levy. We can only hope that FBI investigators are reviewing the complete log of all phone calls made from that McDonald’s pay phone on or about May 17 and cross-checking it in-toto against any other Washington D.C. numbers (to his staff, for example), to Modesto, CA (to his home or to his California office) and to motels in the Luray, Virginia or outlying areas, where Condit might have summoned someone with vehicular means for to rendezvous with him at the location, pick him up and take him wherever it was he was needing to go that night.

That Luray, Virginia is famous for its caverns should, again, not go unnoticed by FBI investigators. Mr. Condit was in Luray for a reason, and as this is the area’s most famous attraction, for investigators to seize on this point seems to be a no-brainer lead.

We have no indication that the FBI is following up on Condit’s Luray, Virginia presence; but for a little flavor as to the particular interest this connection is sparking nationwide, a poster from writes recently: “I live about 45 minutes from Luray. It’s one of those small older vacation spots–the kind of place people went to 50+ years ago, now just sort of a backwater tourist sight for people on their way to Skyline Drive in Blue Ridge National Park. I’ve been through and to Luray dozens of times. While it’s true besides the big private tourist caverns of Luray, there are many caverns around there, that seems like a silly place to try to hide a body. You’d think one would either burn or bury (or both) a body to thoroughly hide the evidence. A cavern will get explored sooner or later…and a body won’t rot a lot in a constant temperature cave either. There’s a lot of countryside, mostly private, all around Luray, and it’d be much more logical for a corpse to be buried there.”

Another poster gives some detail as to the waterways surrounding Luray, VA: “I’ve been canoeing there. The Upriver Canoe Company (I think that is the name) is right at the low bridge. They used to give you a choice of going about 25 miles up river or 12 miles up river (always my choice because you can fish 12 miles in a long day). They transport you south (that branch of the Shenandoah flows north) and you canoe back to the low bridge where you vehicle is parked. There is a fair amount of activity along that river when it is hot. Early May was not hot this year so it was probably fairly deserted. As far as the river goes, it is like many a river, it widens and narrows, it has navigable and easy rapids, it is shallow and deep in different places. The bottom is mostly rock. Great smallmouth bass fishing. If you were going to dump a body it would probably be on the north side of the low bridge because there is an old synthetic fiber plant on that side of the bridge a ways downriver, AVTEC, which has been closed for years and been designated as a superfund site by the EPA.”

A detailed (zoom) survey of Luray, Virginia, through MapQuest shows the following:

–that Power Dam Road runs from the north end of the Luray airport and leads very quickly to the Shenandoah River, crossing it via the “Low Water Bridge.” (Low Water Bridge is a departure point for kayak, canoe and rafting activities, with a rental equipment outlet only a short walk north from the bridge.)

–that the river runs north, winding through forest and mountains; after Power Dam Road, MapQuest reveals no additional roads extending down to the river bank for perhaps hundreds of miles. The river flows into wilderness, with no significant human population apparent in its natural course. A body dumped only a few thousand meters upstream from Power Road Dam would likely never be found.

As grisly as it sounds, I would, as an FBI investigator, also wish to check records and interview personnel of all meat processing plants, “abattoirs” and slaughter houses, in Luray, Virginia, of where there are several, including:

–Yates Abbattoir, RR 5, Box 186, Luray VA

–Griffith’s Slaughter House 733 Valleyburg Road Luray VA 22835

And there is one other odd thing to note, concerning Luray, Virginia. In 1996, two young women, aged 24 and 26–the same ages as were interns Joyce Chiang (murdered, 1998, skeletal corpse found washed up along the Potomac in 1999; see this writer’s article for EtherZone “A Panicked Pay Phone Call in Cavern Country” and Chandra Levy), were found brutally murdered in their tents along the Appalachian Trail, Shendandoah National Park. I’ll leave you this link to the Outside magazine article, for to read and contemplate.

TV crime show host John Walsh, whose son Adam was abducted and beheaded in the 1980s, keeps telling us on his program and elswhere that there is a serial killer loose in D.C. We, here, although we’ll probably never agree on who it might be, find that a real and frightening possibility.


SMITH: Well, actually, he called me — it wasn’t May 5th. It was May 10th or 11th.


SMITH: And it was a Friday, I remember, Friday afternoon. And he said that he would — he said, call me. He said that he was in trouble and that he would have to disappear for a while. He said, don’t call me for a few days, I’ll explain it all to you, you know, as soon as I get the first opportunity. However, I just can’t talk to you for a few days. If you do call me, please just leave a very short message. Don’t leave your name. Don’t tell anyone about this phone conversation. Don’t bring up my name to anybody. And I was — I just kind of sat there in shock. I mean, I was really — I was very concerned about him. I didn’t know what was going on.

DEPAULO: Anne Marie, I’m curious. Did he tell you, one of my constituents is missing?

SMITH: No, he never mentioned a word of it, and [b]it wasn’t until I went to D.C. on the 17th of May and I turned on the television and I heard the news that I realized what was going on. And at that point in time, I called him and left him a message[/b]. And I was like, you know, you need to explain this to me.

DEPAULO: And what was that first explanation?

SMITH: Well, he called me back, and that was the phone call from Luray, Virginia


SMITH: And he called me, and he once again, you know, made me feel good about everything. He’s like: Everything’s OK with you and me. You know, I just want to assure you that there’s nothing wrong with our relationship, but he said, I’m just dealing with this situation. And basically, he wanted to sit down and explain it to me, but he also said that you wouldn’t believe what they’re trying to do to me. And I don’t know who these people were that he was referring to.

DEPAULO: Did he tell you right away that he was involved with Chandra?

SMITH: No, I asked him, and you know, I was pretty straightforward with him. And he said no. And he said, I can’t believe you’re asking me these types of questions. And if — if, you know, if you feel like I had anything to do with any of this, then you’ve been dealing with the wrong man.]

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