[This is the eleventh part of a series on the investigation into the disappearance of former Centre County District Attorney Ray Gricar.]
Never miss a local story.
The Pennsylvania State Police – Criminal Investigation Analysis Unit (PSP-CIA) was called in by the incumbent district attorney, Mr. Madeira. As noted in the last blog entry, Mr. Bosak’s “Missed Leads,”1 coupled with the re-emphasis on the now famous Mystery Woman, created no only a media hurricane, but calls from Mr. Gricar’s family for “another set of eyes,” to look at the case. The PSP-CIA was to review what law enforcement had done what law enforcement had done in the case. Mr. Madeira announced that he was calling for them on 5/17/06 and they finally concluded the review in December of the same year; this entry will cover that period.
It took about a month to send the files out.2 In the interim, there were a few other developments. District Attorneys Buehner and McKnight called for the State Attorney General’s Office to take the case. This annoyed Mr. Madeira, who stated, "My colleagues would be the first to scream bloody murder if I would suggest the attorney general go into their counties and take over cases." Mr. Madeira seem to have either forgotten or was unaware that Mr.Buehner and Mr. McKnight were involved in the case the prior summer, at the meeting of regional District Attorneys.3 This was well before Mr. Madeira’s election.
There were only occasional stories on the PSP-CIA review, which was conducted in secret. At first, family spokesman Tony Gricar, expressed little concern, saying in September, "I want them to do it right. I hope the reason it has been pushed out from June to mid-October is due diligence."5 After it was scheduled and postponed three times, his concern heightened. In November, he said, "I think it's been postponed enough. It seems to be a vicious cycle, just like everything else in this case to this point.” He asked rhetorically, "Is this going to go on into January, February?"6
The PSP-CIA review was completed, in private; the location was not even disclosed prior to the meeting.7 It was conducted prior to 11/21/06. Afterward, publicly, this is what Chief Weaver reported, "There's no gaping holes in the investigation. The investigation was complete and thorough."8 Mr. Madeira indicated that he would note take any questions, except previously submitted written questions. 9 There was no release of information directly to what had even been checked and ruled out.
There was a conference call between those close to Mr. Gricar and Mr. Madeira about two weeks later. A disappointed Tony Gricar said, "We didn't get any specific details on it other than they assessed it." It was clear that the person who requested this investigation was not releasing what was found, even to Mr. Gricar’s family. When the press contacted a State Police Trooper involved in the review, Cpl. Tony Manetta, the source of the secrecy became more apparent. He said, "I just can't talk about it. We have a professional courtesy to provide them with professional opinions on what they may do to further their investigation. But I cannot share that with you because it is their investigation."10
One thing that was released to those close Mr. Gricar was that there was, in Tony Gricar’s words, “no inherent risks,” associated with Mr. Gricar.10 In other words, there was nothing that made Mr. Gricar more likely to be murdered. Even though his job was prosecuting criminals, it would not increase his risks of being murdered above those of an average person. Very rarely is a prosecutor (or even a prosecutor’s family) murdered or attacked outside of a courthouse because he is a prosecutor. There are instances of an attorney being attacked in the course of a trial in the courthouse, sometimes in the hall outside of the courtroom,11 in the heat of the moment, but very few apart from that. After looking extensively from 2000 to the present, I could find no Pennsylvania prosecutor (including County DA’s, ADA’s, federal prosecutors for Pennsylvania, and Assistant State Attorneys General) that someone even attempted or plotted to murder outside of a courthouse, because that person was a prosecutor. Nationally, out of tens of thousand of prosecutors, I could find fewer that two dozen that were even subject to murder plot, much less one carried out so successfully over the same period.
While this was all that came out at the time, a contemporary report noted some of the things the PSP-CIA Unit would look at, according to Mr. Madeira. “Investigators examined Gricar's phone, computer and financial records and information concerning his behavior prior to April 15, 2005,” according the press report paraphrasing Mr. Madeira.12 The “computer and financial records” are the interesting point.
Less than six months ago, the Bellefonte Police, in conjunction with Mr. Madeira, released information on Mr. Gricar’s computer searches, derived from records from the computer.13 A day later, Det. Rickard stated that this information had been known for two and a half years.14 Two and a half years before 4/15/08 would put the discovery at the same time the PSP-CIA review, which did look at computer records. It looks very likely that this information was discovered by the PSP-CIA review.
This leaves several questions. First, what else did the PSP-CIA review find of conclude? Why was there this very strange limitation on questions? Second, why did Mr. Madeira feel a need to hide this from the public for so long? Why did he release it, not on the second or third anniversary, but on the fourth anniversary? These are questions Mr. Madeira is not answering.
[Part 12, The Internet Interlude, is next]
2 CDT 6/17/09 http://tiny.cc/PSPCIA1
3 CDT , 5/20/05, http://www.centredaily.com/news/ray_gricar/story/3779.html
4 CDT 5/25/06 http://tiny.cc/PSPCIA2
5 CDT 9/14/06, http://tiny.cc/PSPCIA3
6 CDT 11/2/06, http://tiny.cc/PSPCIA4
7 CDT 6/20/06 http://tiny.cc/PSPCIA5
8 PPG 11/21/06, http://tiny.cc/PSPCIA6
9 PPG 11/21/06 http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06325/740075-85.stm It is unclear if the press agreed to this strange stipulation.
10 CDT , 12/13/06, http://tiny.cc/PSPCIA7
11 In Philadelphia, a courtroom attack usually occurs about once every 18 months; many times it is an attack by a defendant on his own attorney.
As I was researching this, the father of “hoax mom,” Bonnie Sweeten, scuffled with members of the media outside the Montgomery County after her sentencing hearing. He was described as being “in a rage.” Courier Times, 8/28/09, http://tiny.cc/Sweeten1
12 Tribune-Review, 11/22/06 http://tiny.cc/PSPCIA8
14 DC 4/16/09 http://tiny.cc/PSPCI9