Nine years ago today, the sitting District Attorney of Centre County, Ray Gricar, drove the Mini Cooper that he normally used to Lewisburg, PA, and then vanished of the face of the earth.
This is the fifth time I’ve written an anniversary blog and I’ve chronicled the changes in the case. One thing that I have noticed is that people are drifting the idea that Mr. Gricar’s disappearance was not foul play.
We had this two years ago. Then lead detective Matt Rickard, when asked about the possibly of Mr. Gricar being kidnapped and killed by criminals or killed by a mistress (or her husband), said, “Throw in hard-drive searches and it doesn’t kill the theories, but it makes them virtually impossible.”1 The first lead investigator, Darrel Zaccagni, thinks it is suicide, according to the same article. Previously, former district attorney, Michael Madeira, indicated that he thought Mr. Gricar walked away.2 The current district attorney, Stacey Parks Miller, after her review of the case, said (somewhat controversially): “The only thing I will say is that I believe homicide is the least likely, but we rule out nothing.”3
Last year, on the anniversary, the Harrisburg Patriot News said, “Most people, including investigators, considered homicide to be the least likely of the three.”4
Even on-line in recent weeks, I’ve seen a change in some posters on message boards. I was surprised to see one who was staunchly supported the foul play theory switch to suicide. Some of that has been because we have been discussing money, specifically Mr. Gricar’s money.
Mr. Gricar’s estate was worth less than $25,000 in probate. That does not include his substantial pension benefits, but largely he the money that was there in 2005 (minus estate spending). His financial disclosure statements from 2004 and 2005 indicate that he did not have a large amount of interest, which indicate he did not have a large amount of cash or interest earning investments. That could be an indication that he was doing some estate planning, though there are other possibilities. That could indicate that he was preparing to not be there for his retirement, either because he would be dead or he would be alive, but vanish and then be declared dead.
After nine years, I would not conclude that Mr. Gricar being the victim of foul play is the least likely possibility. I would conclude that the evidence that we have is pointing more strongly to a voluntary act on Mr. Gricar’s part, either suicide of voluntarily leaving; you can expect the odds on both of those possibilities to increase.
The case now rests with the Pennsylvania State Police, which does have greater resources. It may be coincidental, but that is the same agency that has been involved in the investigation of the Penn State scandal. A reward is possible. If you know something, say something, and you might collect it.5
Centre Daily Times Ray Gricar Section: http://www.centredaily.com/138/
Link to the Main Index for Sporadic Comments on Ray Gricar: http://www.centredaily.com/2011/03/21/2597340/main-index-32011.html
E-mail J. J. in Phila at email@example.com