The Odds, 5/23/11

Posted on May 23, 2011 

            In looking at the disappearance of Ray Gricar, I often post the odds on what I think happened to him.  These odds change over time because they are based on evidence.  When new evidence is disclosed, the odds may change.  Well, thanks to some new disclosures, from an episode of the television program Disappeared, and some research, there is enough new evidence to change these odds.

            What is that evidence? 

            The first piece is a map Mr. Gricar generated of the route between Bellefonte and Lewisburg on his office computer.1  He knew the route, so he didn’t need it for directions; he really didn’t need it to give someone else directions, since directions are easily given to anyone even passingly familiar with the area (“Go to Centre Hall and turn left”).  He didn’t need it check the mileage for reimbursement or a tax deduction as there was no known official reason to be there.  The third reason is possible, to check the time of the trip for himself or someone else.

            The second piece was the call.2  From then lead Detective Zaccagni’s statement about the “cell towers” and the known pattern of the search.  That search was made based on a cell phone call made by Mr. Gricar to his girlfriend saying that he wouldn’t be home to let the dog out. 

The time of this call was 11:12 AM to 11:14 AM.  It looks like that call was made from Centre Hall or some point west of Centre Hall.  Even at the earlier time, Mr. Gricar was not any more that 10-12 miles from home.  Had he delayed his departure by 25 to 45 minutes, he could have let the dog out. 

The third point has been around for years, the citing of Mr. Gricar across from the Packwood House Museum in Lewisburg.3  The witnesses had the impression that Mr. Gricar was waiting for someone.  The location is an ideal spot for meeting someone.  You can just say, to someone coming from the west, “Turn left right before the bridge,” or to someone coming from the east, “Turn right just after you cross the bridge.”  Further, the witnesses saw Mr. Gricar moving his car there, which could have permitted someone else to pull his or her car in the parking space.

So, why would Mr. Gricar not wait to leave prior to walking the dog, and generate a map to Lewisburg?  There is one strong answer.  Mr. Gricar planned to be in Lewisburg at a specific time, early afternoon.  There was no event known to be in Lewisburg for Mr. Gricar to attend.

These very strongly point to Mr. Gricar meeting someone in Lewisburg, but it strongly weighs against one theory, suicide.  Mr. Gricar, even assuming he was unhinged, would not need to calculate the time of the trip to Lewisburg; he would not get reimbursed and he would obviously know the way there.  He also wouldn’t have to worry about committing suicide on schedule.   He could be late for his own suicide and it won’t make any difference; he certainly wouldn’t have to worry about his calendar.  So this weakens suicide.

These points strengthen the two other theories, voluntary departure and foul play.  It probably strengthens the latter more.  Most theories that conclude with foul play involve Mr. Gricar meeting someone in Lewisburg, which is consistent with the newly disclosed information.4, 5  It could indicate that Mr. Gricar was meeting a “helper” that helped him walk away, as well, but it doesn’t add anything to the possibility he was alive after 6:00 PM on 4/15/05.6  Further, if Mr. Gricar acted alone, and purchased a car under a pseudonym, he probably wouldn’t need to do that on a schedule either.

The last time I posted the odd, I gave them as:

Voluntary Departure (Walkaway):  51% likely.

Victim of Foul Play (Primarily Murder):  40% likely.

Suicide:  8% likely.

Something else1% likely.

Today, I would give them as:

Voluntary Departure (Walkaway):  52% likely.

Victim of Foul Play (Primarily Murder):  43% likely.

Suicide:  4% likely.

Something else1% likely.

            I would not call foul play the most likely explanation for Mr. Gricar’s disappearance, but wouldn’t it the least likely explanation either.  It just got a little stronger, relatively,  as well.  If you are wondering why I still do this blog that is the answer.

End Notes








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