Real Names: Joyce Chiang and Chandra 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. Chandra's 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 Chandra was believed to have had an affair with U.S. Representative Gary Condit. Some suspected that Chandra was murdered in order to keep the affair a secret. Chandra's 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 the two 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, brunette women. 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 where Chandra would move two years later. A favorite hangout for both women was a nearby Starbucks coffee shop; it was there on the night of January 9, 1999, that Joyce was last seen alive.
Earlier that evening, Joyce had met up with friends to go see a movie and dinner. Her friend offered to take her home, but Joyce asked her to drop her off at the Starbucks. Joyce left her friend, planning to walk the four blocks home, but never arrived at her apartment. Because Joyce was a federal employee, the FBI handled the case. However, their initial investigation turned up no leads. Three days after Joyce vanished, a bizarre message was found on a wall near the coffee shop where she vanished, 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 the message.
Then, a couple came forward; they 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 Joyce's 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 Joyce's turned up, including her apartment keys, a video rental and grocery store card, her gloves, and jacket that Joyce was wearing when she vanished. Disturbingly, there was a rip that went through the back of the jacket. Police searched the river but found no trace of her.
Three months later, a canoeist, paddling eight miles downstream from where her personal effects were found, discovered her body on the shore. Three months in the water had caused severe damage to her remains and it took DNA testing to identify the remains as Joyce's. Due to the decomposition, police were unable to determine the cause of death. Investigators found no evidence of foul play, and decided to label the case as unresolved, but closed. Some investigators suggested that she had committed suicide.
However, her 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 where she was last seen and no public transportation could take her to that location. Finally, the tear in the back of her jacket suggested that she had been attacked. In May of 2001, when Chandra Levy vanished, there was renewed interested in Joyce's case, and the similarities between the two cases were shocking. The authorities are trying to find out if the cases 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, all were about the same height and had brown hair, and all 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 Condit and his supporters vehemently denied. No suspects were identified in Joyce's case.
Extra Notes: This case originally ran on the June 10, 2002 episode. The possible connection between the two cases was also explored on Haunting Evidence. Chandra's disappearance was also covered on America’s Most Wanted and on Court TV.
Results: Unresolved. In 2008, a twenty-seven-year-old illegal immigrant named Ingmar A. Guandique was charged with the murder of Chandra Levy. Guandique had been convicted of the assaults of two women in Rock Creek Park in an area close to where Chandra's remains were found. The assaults occurred just a few weeks after her disappearance. Guandique was connected to the case after a jail informant came forward, claiming that Guandique had confessed to killing Chandra. Investigators discovered that he 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 Guandique's surviving victims. Finally, investigators found a photograph of Chandra among his belongings. In 2010, Guandique was found guilty in the murder of Chandra Levy and sentenced to sixty years in prison.
However, in 2015, his 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 re-try Guandique for Chandra's murder after a woman came forward with an audiotape; on the tape, the jail informant told the woman that he had lied about Guandique's confession. Guandique was turned over to ICE and has since been deported.
In January 2011, DC police announced that they have identified two suspects in Joyce Chiang's death: Steve Allen and Neil Joaquin. The police believe that the two men were planning on abducting and robbing her. They believe she tried to escape from the two men, 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, Guyana has no extradition treaty with the United States. In May 2011, the case of Joyce Chiang was officially closed by DC police and changed from "suicide" to "homicide," but the men were never charged with Joyce's murder.
The murder of Christine Mirzayan remains unsolved, although her murder has been connected through DNA to eight rapes in the local area from 1991 to 1998, committed by the unknown "Potomac River Rapist."
- Joyce Chiang on Unsolved.com
- Chandra Levy on Wikipedia
- Joyce Chiang on Wikipedia
- Gruesome, Unsolved Murders Haunt Levy Investigation
- Police See Nothing to Link Missing Intern and Dead Women
- D.C. Police Repeat Suicide Theory to Brother
- Former FBI Profiler revisits the murders of Chandra Levy and Joyce Chiang
- (Washington Post Articles) Who Killed Chandra Levy?
- Announcement in 12-Year-Old Cold Case Expected Tomorrow
- D.C. police to make announcement in cold-case death of Joyce Chiang
- Serial Rapists Killed Joyce Chiang
- Gubernatorial candidate John Chiang talks about his sister's murder
- Joyce Chiang at Find a Grave
- Chandra Levy at Find a Grave