There are a lot of people that think, and are almost convinced, that Ray Gricar, Centre County’s former five term District Attorney, walked away. Many of them are almost convinced that if he did walk away, he must have told his family, especially his daughter Lara.
A lot of people, though probably less than the first group, think Mr. Gricar was murdered. One of the main reasons is because he didn’t tell his daughter. Lara Gricar had taken, and passed, a polygraph test in the late summer of 2005.1 The “he told her” folks point out that Mr. Gricar could have told her after reading about the polygraph.
I’m going to be blunt. I’ve never met Lara Gricar, or spoken with her, and I’ve never done a Vulcan mind meld with her. The latter is because Star Trek is fiction and I wouldn’t walk up to Ms. Gricar2 and asked if I could. If she’s reading this, I would suggest to her that if anyone walks up to her and asks to perform a Vulcan mind meld on her that she runs quickly to a well lit and well populated area. Bluntly, I do not know what Ms. Gricar knows, or doesn’t know. I strongly suspect that if Mr. Gricar decided to walk away, he did not tell his daughter.
In the first case, we have that, perhaps infamous, press conference of 4/18/05. I doubt that Ms. Gricar could have pulled off that anguish. The polygraph, while not infallible, has a high accuracy rate. It was done by the Secret Service, the group that trains the rest of the U.S. government in polygraphy. So, if Mr. Gricar did decide to tell his daughter, it was after 4-5 months of not knowing.
Granted, Mr. Gricar could have waited until reading about the polygraph, and then contacted his daughter. He couldn’t, however, be sure if the police might re-polygraph his daughter. The police were, and still are, actively looking at the case. They might check and detect his contact. These reasons are still not the main reason why Mr. Gricar would not have told his daughter Lara.
The main reason that Mr. Gricar, if he walked away, would not tell her is to protect her from possible criminal charges. Walking away violates no law. Calling your daughter after walking away violates no law. If your daughter, after hearing from you, walks into court and says she’s never heard from you since you disappeared, does violate the law.
To collect any of Mr. Gricar’s pension or life
insurance, absent a body, the court would have to declare
Mr. Gricar dead. The criteria for doing is, in part, that the
missing person “disappears and is absent from his place of
residence without being heard of after diligent inquiry.”3 If
Mr. Gricar is out there and contacted his daughter, she could
be forced to testify in the hearing to declare him dead. If she
has heard for him, and testifies he has never contacted,
she’d be committing an act of perjury, a serious criminal
offense for which she could do time.
This is further complicated because law enforcement
is looking for Mr. Gricar. The various entities that would pay
benefits in the event of Mr. Gricar’s death also might be looking
at the situation. People, other than the chattering class, are
interested in what happened to Mr. Gricar.
Mr. Gricar was a skilled criminal prosecutor and
would be aware of the penalties. I doubt that he would have
risked exposing his daughter to that. While I disagree with
those people who say that if Mr. Gricar walked away his
daughter knows, I also disagree with those who say that the
reason he couldn’t have walked away is because he didn’t tell
his daughter. If Mr. Gricar did walk away, it would have been
an act of protection not to tell his daughter.
2 Ms. Gricar is now married, though her maiden name is used here.
E-mail J. J. in Phila at email@example.com