Many of the people looking at the disappearance of former Centre County District Attorney Ray Gricar poise several questions. What happened to Ray Gricar? Where is Ray Gricar? Was Ray Gricar murdered? Did Ray Gricar walk away from his life? Did Ray Gricar commit suicide? Is Ray Gricar alive or dead?
There is one question that few people ask. That is: Was Ray Gricar’s disappearance voluntary or involuntary? That is a very different question, and it includes some of the others. What would be included under each heading?
Voluntary would include voluntary departure, i.e. Mr. Gricar decided to leave his life behind, possibly for a number of reasons. It is not limited to that. It would also include suicide, the situation where Mr. Gricar decided to, voluntarily, end his own life. Those are both subheadings under voluntary.
There is also involuntary, that Mr. Gricar was planning to return home when he left on 4/15/05 and something prevented him. That would include Mr. Gricar being murdered. Murder is not the sole subcategory. Mr. Gricar could have simply been walking along the Susquehanna and falling in, hitting his head in the process. He could have suffered a heart attack and his body was not found; at 59, it would not be too unusual. He could have had physical or psychological problem that caused amnesia or confusion and he didn’t remember where home was. He could have been kidnapped and held someplace. Except for this last two, admittedly highly unlikely, possibility, all of the possible scenarios involve Mr. Gricar being dead by the week of 4/22/05.
We have seen some people close to the case weigh in on the voluntary/involuntary divide. The former police chief of Bellefonte, Duane Dixon,1 the former lead detective, Darrel Zaccagni,2 have both publicly said suicide. Former District Attorney Michael Madeira1 thought he probably walked away. We also have the statement (which I disagree with) from current Centre County District Attorney, Stacy Parks Miller, that ““The only thing I will say is that I believe homicide is the least likely, but we rule out nothing.”3 None of this point to an involuntary explanation to Mr. Gricar’s disappearance.
Interestingly, family spokesman Tony Gricar, initial impression was “Here we go again.”4 That was a reference to his own father’s, Mr. Gricar’s brother, Roy’s, suicide in 1996. He has gone further than that, noting some similarities to the site of Roy’s suicide and Lewisburg.5 Again, his comments do not point to an involuntary act.
A lot of the evidence is consistent with a voluntary act. One piece was Mr. Gricar’s desire to get rid of the data on his laptop. He had ask people how to do it about a year prior to his disappearance, including a defense attorney. It was not Ms. Parks Miller, but I wish I could shed some light on who it was. He did the searches on his home computer about how to destroy the laptop’s hard drive that contained that data. Mr. Gricar obviously, could have wanted to destroy very personal information on laptop prior to committing suicide; likewise, he could have had is travel plans on it, if he walked away. No murderer could know if Mr. Gricar copied any information to another computer, a removable storage device, an online source, or even if he printed out copies of the information. That piece evidence points to a voluntary act, suicide or walkaway, thought it does not rule out an involuntary act. Much of the evidence is like this.
While that great divide between voluntary and involuntary does not tell us what happened to Mr. Gricar, or if he was alive or dead after he disappeared. The evidence that we have so far, does strongly point to Mr. Gricar’s disappearance to being voluntary. It does not rule out an involuntary disappearance however.
1 Philadelphia Inquirer, 7/31/11, http://articles.philly.com/2011-07-31/news/29835864_1_investigators-retirement-plans-ray-gricar
3 CDT, 5/1/11, http://www.centredaily.com/2010/04/01/1888171/review-board-lends-new-eyes.html (In fairness, Ms. Parks Miller qualified that a bit more than a year later)
4 Disappeared, episode “A Family’s Curse,” Investigative Discovery Channel, originally aired 2/28/11.
5 Renner, “The River’s Edge,” Cleveland Free Times, 11/17/05, http://www.officialcoldcaseinvestigations.com/showthread.php?t=1806 (Tony Gricar went so far as to compare aerial photos of the site of his father’s suicide with Lewisburg.)
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
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