Gricar family seeking answers

September 4, 2005 

BELLEFONTE — There's still no word on whether photos taken of a man at a Chili's restaurant in Texas last month are of Ray Gricar, who's been missing since April 15.

Bellefonte police Officer Darrel Zaccagni, leading the investigation into the disappearance of Centre County's district attorney, said he hopes to hear next week from FBI agents who are analyzing the images. Zaccagni said the agents are measuring the distance between facial features in the Texas photos and comparing them with such measurements taken from photos of Gricar.

The photos at the Chili's in Nacogdoches were taken by a female diner who spotted the man alone at a nearby table. She thought he looked enough like Gricar to surreptitiously take photos of him with her cell phone's camera.

The woman contacted police in her area a few days later and then got in touch with Bellefonte police.

She turned over her cell phone, which was then sent to the FBI.

But few involved in the case are hopeful that the man in the photos is Gricar.

The man appears to be eating with his left hand; Gricar is right-handed.

Also, the watch the man is wearing isn't the one Gricar was wearing when he disappeared and doesn't look like one that he would own, Zaccagni said.

"I've been able to clean up the pictures some, and I don't think it's him," said Tony Gricar, Ray Gricar's nephew. "I think there's a 1 percent chance the FBI will say it's a match."

Tony Gricar said he, his brother, Chris, and Ray Gricar's daughter, Lara, will be in town next week to meet with police.

"We'd like to get a general review, where we've been and where we're at," he said.

"We'd like to get a handle on the future of the investigation, too."

He expressed frustration at the lack of answers, although he's not faulting the police.

He'd like to see a bigger focus on the possibility that his uncle was killed, especially since the discovery on July 30 of Ray Gricar's missing laptop in the Susquehanna River.

"Law enforcement is still saying that nothing supports foul play, but I don't know what that means," Tony Gricar said. "I think (homicide) definitely needs to be looked at."

Zaccagni said that as time goes on, homicide becomes a more viable explanation for Ray Gricar's disappearance, especially because of how and where the laptop was found.

Fishermen found the laptop -- missing its hard drive -- directly under the state Route 45 bridge, according to police. There's only one side of the bridge that has a pedestrian walkway, Zaccagni said, and it's unlikely the computer could have been thrown from there and landed where it was found.

A vehicle driving on the non-pedestrian side would have had to slow or stop for the computer to be thrown into the water, Zaccagni said.

It would have been easier for a passenger to do that, he said.

Tony Gricar has been saying much the same thing since the laptop was found.

He'd like to see police focus more on how the laptop came to be in the river. "There's really nothing else to go off of," he said.

Ray Gricar's nephew isn't the only one frustrated by the waiting and wondering.

Ray Gricar's girlfriend and housemate, Patty Fornicola, said it's been hard to still not have any answers.

"The waiting is the tough part," she said. "But I don't know what else can be done. There's no leads. Where do you go?"

Erin L. Nissley can be reached at 231-4616.

Centre Daily Times is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service