Well, with that, we have a wrap up of the series on the investigation into the disappearance of former Centre County District Attorney Ray Gricar. When I say “we,” I mean, you, the person reading it (I hope there is more than one), and me, the person writing this blog.
I hope we’ve learned a few things.
Never miss a local story.
That last comment might surprise you. I have learned some things from writing this series. Since the first time I started asking questions on the Internet, way back in the waning days of autumn 2005, I’ve focus on two things. First, I was focused the evidence. Second, I focused on methods that the police could use to rule in or rule out possibilities. Until I began this series, I had not looked, in depth, at the investigation beyond the first 48 hours.
One thing I’ve learned was that the first witness that reporting seeing Mr. Gricar in Lewisburg, reported it not as a result of canvassing and well before any local media reported him missing. That first witness was the witness that saw Mr. Gricar with the Mystery Woman on 4/15/05. There was also a second witness, probably Mr. Bennett, who saw Mr. Gricar on 4/16/05, that spoke to the police about it no later than 4/17/05, well before local media reports. They may have been others.
These to witnesses were a bit of a surprise to me. There is an online “myth” that all the witnesses reported seeing him only after seeing media reports or only upon being canvassed by the police. It is a myth, not reality. Many members of the chattering class suffer from much greater tunnel vision than any of the Bellefonte Police Department ever did.
A second thing that greatly surprised me was the earlier involvement of Mr. McKnight and Mr. Buehner in the investigation in 2005. It was low key, and while it was reported, it was under reported. It was a myth, largely created by Mr. Madeira that the two suddenly appeared and tried to intervene in the case.
A third thing that greatly surprised me was the initial focus of the investigation, from 4/17/05 until about 4/30/05. The police were looking, primarily, for a dead body. The searches were in and along the Susquehanna and Routes 45 and 192. Obviously, Mr. Gricar did not kill himself along Route 192 and then the Mini Cooper drove itself to Lewisburg. Certainly the search of the residence did not point to suicide.
I’ve heard, on message boards, various posters complain that the police should have investigated the case as a murder. They did, but found no evidence that it was a murder. Some of the evidence either discounted (the Fenton sighting) or hidden from the public (the witness in Wilkes-Barre being a police officer) actually pointed to walkaway. Perhaps one of the key elements was that the police were looking at the possibility that Mr. Gricar was murdered in Bellefonte, Lewisburg, or some place in between, with Lewisburg being the most likely crime scene.
I will be doing two more blogs on the investigation. They will be about my conclusions regarding the investigation into Mr. Gricar’s disappearance. The first will be on the police. The second will be on the district attorney.