Roads Not Taken: The Bridgehead

Posted by JJinPhila on March 17, 2010 

            Numerous witnesses put Ray Gricar in Lewisburg on Friday 4/15/05, in the area around the parking lot where the Mini Cooper he normally drove was found.  One that has been reported puts him heading in the general direction of the area where the car was found on 4/15/05.  Several put him in that same area on Saturday 4/16/05.  One that has been reported puts him heading in the general direction of the area where the car was found on 4/15/05.  There is also physical evidence that links Mr. Gricar with this area.

            One piece is his scent, detected by a dog, within the parking area.  For this entry, that is not important.  What is important is where the Mini Cooper was found, in a parking lot on the corner of St. John and Water Streets.  Roughly going southeast, along the river, the hard drive, believed to be from Mr. Gricar’s laptop was found; it was about 180 to 185 yards from the Mini.  Beyond that, about 130 yards further southeast, the rest of the laptop was found, just north of the bridge, at the bottom of the Susquehanna.  Three items associated with Mr. Gricar, within four football fields of each other, were found in a very rough line pointing to a path southeast (or vice versa).  The line ends in the middle of the river, next to the bridge that carries Route 45 across the Susquehanna.

            It seems obvious where anyone crossing the bridge from Lewisburg would start, the west or Lewisburg side.  It is likely that someone with the laptop crossed the bridge, at least part way.  The bridge, obviously, is not a bridge to nowhere; someone can cross it.  Someone like Mr. Gricar or his murderer.

            There are places across this bridge, on the east side of the Susquehanna, where a body could be hidden.  The first place borders Route 45 to the south, Montandon Wetlands.  Some photos of it are here:

I drove past it on a wet July afternoon; it reminded me of the Everglades, but without the alligators.  The wetlands themselves are less than a mile by foot from where the Mini was discovered.  At five hundred acres1, there would be plenty of room for a body to remain unfound.

            Assuming that Mr. Gricar committed suicide, he could have easily parked the Mini, tossed the drive and then the laptop and crossed the bridge.  He could have bought a bottle of liquor and some sleeping pills and walked into the marsh.  The night or 4/15-4/16/05 was cold, temperatures dropped below freezing; he would have had to deal with hypothermia in wet, freezing swamp.  Likewise, the area is bordered by roads; someone could have drug a body into the marsh and dumped it.

            Much of the same comments were posted by fellow blogger, Samdunk, just over a year ago.  You can read them here:

            South of Route 45 isn’t the only direction to look.  There is a large wooded area that runs along the railroad right of way, to the north of Route 45.  Looking at aerial photos, there is a large wooded area.  It would be good place to hide a body.

            Tony Gricar once indicated that his uncle had a favored restaurant on the east side of the Susquehanna.  Mr. Gricar, the elder, could have crossed the river to have dinner with someone, and something happened.

            Both of these areas are within two miles of the eastern bridgehead of the Route 45 Bridge.  The entire two mile radius wouldn’t need to be searched.  Many of the areas have homes, farmer’s fields, and businesses; there is actually an active gravel pit east of the marsh, for example.  Some of these areas have a lot of people in them. 

Consider the gravel pit.  It’s active, with workers removing and loading gravel.  It might have been a good place to hide a body, but after nearly five years, it is likely to have been discovered long ago in the process of removing and loading gravel.  What about a farmer’s field?  Those fields are plowed, and it would have been likely that a shallow grave would have been uncovered many years ago.  A freshly dug hole in someone’s back yard would have quickly spotted, if not by the resident, by their neighbors.  If Mr. Gricar committed suicide, it would have been exceptionally difficult for him to have hidden his body.

In some cases, the remains of Mr. Gricar, if they exist, might be detected by the use of cadaver dogs.  Even after five years, there have been some successes in locating remains.  In some cases, there were successes in locating graveyards, with a lot more bodies, after 170 years. And, some of the “successes” turned out to be outright fraud.2 In the case of suicide, Mr. Gricar’s remains might never have been hidden. 

            So, the first road not taken leads across the bridge to Montandon.  These areas could still be checked using cadaver dogs.  They might turn up something.  None of the police reports indicate this road had ever been taken.

End Note



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