The mother of Chandra Levy, a Washington, D.C., intern from Modesto, California, whose 2001 disappearance and death received national attention, said she is "totally in a state of shock" after learning the charges will be dropped against the man convicted of killing her daughter.
Susan Levy said the news brought back feelings she had 15 years ago when her daughter vanished.
"It kind of puts you back to the level of grief you originally had," she told NBC Bay Area.
Federal prosecutors announced Thursday they are dropping all charges against Salvadoran immigrant Ingmar Guandique, citing "recent unforeseen developments that were investigated over the past week."
A spokeswoman for Guandique's lawyers said Thursday that the jailhouse informant who reported that Guandique confessed to the crime was found to have lied.
"I only wish we could get the right person, whoever did what happened to my daughter," said Susan Levy.
Levy added that she thinks of her daughter constantly and won't stop seeking justice.
"I always want justice," she said, "but even if I get justice, it doesn't bring calm back to a family that's been fractured by a horrendous crime like this."
Guandique was convicted in 2010 in Levy's death but later was granted a new trial, which was expected to begin this fall. But the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia said in a statement Thursday that prosecutors have moved to dismiss the case charging Guandique with Levy's 2001 murder. Those charges were formally dropped later in the day.
Chandra Levy's disappearance got national headlines after it was learned she was romantically linked to then-Congressman Gary Condit. Condit insisted he had nothing to do with the 24-year-old's disappearance. He was later ruled out as a suspect.
Levy's remains were found at Rock Creek Park in D.C. a year after her disappearance.
Prosecutors argued Levy's death fit a pattern of attacks Guandique committed on female joggers. At the time, he had been serving 10 years in prison for attacking two other women in Rock Creek Park.
But prosecutors lacked hard evidence against him in the Levy case, presenting neither eyewitnesses nor DNA evidence.
A jury found Guandique guilty in November 2010 on two charges of felony murder in Levy's death. He was sentenced to 60 years.
Condit's attorney, L. Lin Wood, responded to Thursday's news in a statement: "Gary Condit was extremely disappointed to learn today that the prosecution has decided against a retrial of Ingmar Guandique, the individual previously found guilty of the murder of Chandra Levy. The failure of authorities to bring formal closure to this tragedy after 15 years is very disappointing but in no way alters the fact that Mr. Condit was long ago completely exonerated by authorities in connection with Ms. Levy's death. At some point in the near future, I expect Mr. Condit to speak publicly about the case but he does not believe that it is appropriate to do so at this time."