Federal and local authorities are investigating a claim that Ray Gricar, former Centre County district attorney missing since 2005 and declared legally dead, was murdered by a former member of the motorcycle club Hells Angels, according to a report published Friday.
But local law enforcement officials Friday called that source into question and said the claims have been investigated and discounted.
The Altoona Mirror is reporting it spoke with a former high-ranking member of the motorcycle club who claims to know where Gricar’s remains are buried, supposedly in a mineshaft.
The source, whom the paper did not identify, allegedly took investigators to the property where he said Gricar was buried, but he decided not to disclose the exact location of the shaft because he didn’t want to incriminate himself in other cases.
The killing was apparently retribution for an aggravated assault conviction a club member received while Gricar was district attorney, according to the report.
Bellefonte Police Chief Shawn Weaver said in an email Friday that police followed that lead months ago and that “it led nowhere.”
Another person in law enforcement said the source is a state prison inmate and that the account was “investigated thoroughly and discounted in early 2013.”
According to the newspaper report, the claim is still being investigated by the FBI.
FBI officials could not be reached for comment Friday.
Gricar’s fate has been the source of much speculation and national attention since he went for a drive one day in 2005 and never returned.
An investigation revealed Gricar had taken the day off work to drive through Brush Valley — apparently not uncommon for him. His car was found the next day in Lewisburg, and later his laptop computer was discovered without a hard drive in the Susquehanna River.
His family had him declared legally dead in July 2011.
Gricar’s nephew, Tony Gricar, said Friday that there have been many people, including inmates, who have stepped forward over the years claiming to know what happened to his uncle. The family now treats those accounts with skepticism.
“Going back to the early days after Ray’s disappearance, there have been specifically prisoners with stories from their cellmates or someone who knows someone,” Tony Gricar said. “Then on the other hand, if there was a foul play element, a prisoner might be just as good a source as anyone on the planet.”
Matt Carroll can be reached at 231-4631. Follow him on Twitter @Carrollreporter.