In this series of blogs, we (and I hope you will chime in) discussing the possibilities about what happened to Ray Gricar, the then Centre County District Attorney who vanished. These are possibilities, not facts and not advocacies or any theory. I want to mesh each theory with the publicly known evidence. No double, if the law enforcement officials investigating this case are reading this, they will see that at least two possibilities are wrong. I wish I knew which possibilities were the wrong ones.
There is a point that I should note. Some of the evidence can point to two, or more, theories. Some the evidence would be coincidental in some theories, i.e. it doesn’t support or refute the theory being discussed. That said, a theory that says a lot of the evidence is coincidental probably is not the correct one.
The first topic in this series is this premise: Sometime after 5:00 PM on 4/15/05 Mr. Gricar committed suicide. He did so in or around Lewisburg.
We can start in 1996; Mr. Gricar’s brother, Roy, committed suicide by jumping into an Ohio river. He had a history of depression. Depression, which can lead to suicide, can be hereditary, meaning that a predisposition for depression could have been inherited by Ray Gricar. Ray Gricar, however, was never diagnosed with depression; if he was suffering from depression, it was undiagnosed and untreated. That’s one possible cause, especially when coupled with an upcoming like change, his retirement eight months later. Maybe it was some deep dark problem that we don’t know about. That is one piece of evidence that supports the suicide theory.
Now let’s look at the evidence list. We have heard that Mr. Gricar had a change in demeanor and work pace in the week before he disappeared; he might have had a change in demeanor before that. He wouldn’t be the first person who tried to “get his affairs in order” before killing himself; the change in demeanor could indicate deepening depression. We know that he wanted to erase the drive. He may have decided to do that before killing himself. The Lewisburg witnesses of 4/15/05 may deal with this. Mr. Gricar might have been driving around to look for a place to toss the laptop and drive (You will see that answer again.). All this things could point to Mr. Gricar killing himself.
There is evidence that would be just coincidence if Mr. Gricar committed suicide. These are Mr. Gricar’s interest in the Wiley case, , leaving the Central Pennsylvania Media Market, , and the day, , the other items missing, , the similarities to 20/20 Vision, , and his financial position, , The Pension . In the case of the other items missing, a suicidal Mr. Gricar could have just slipped them into his pocket. These are all things that really would be coincidental, though that is a heck of a lot of coincidence.
Two items a least partly point away from suicide. Unless Mr. Gricar had been planning suicide for about nine months, putting the Mini in Ms. Fornicola’s name could be added to the list of coincidences. Mr. Gricar’s call to Ms. Fornicola would also be a very strange prelude to suicide. The call was either just a routine call about walking the couple’s dog, or it was an attempt to misdirect those looking for Mr. Gricar. The first is an unusual call to make while contemplating suicide; the second would be completely unnecessary.
The remainder of the witness reports refutes the suicide premise. Mr. Gricar was seen in Bellefonte on 4/15/05, in a different car, by Ms. Fenton. Three known witnesses saw Mr. Gricar in Lewisburg on 4/16/05. Two saw him in Wilkes-Barre on 4/18/05. If even one of these witnesses is right, Mr. Gricar did not commit suicide in Lewisburg.
The physical evidence also does not support the premise that Mr. Gricar committed suicide. There was the scent of cigarette smoke in the Mini when opened and the trace of cigarette ash. It is hugely unlikely that, just before he decided to kill himself, Mr. Gricar started to smoke. There is one other key piece of evidence that points strongly away from suicide.
There is no body. Mr. Gricar would have had to dispose of his own body somehow. The Susquehanna, while high, was thoroughly search, including from the air. A cadaver dog was used that should have detected a body even close to the river. The river itself has numerous dams downstream and runs past some heavily populated areas; it is used in the summer months for recreation. If there was a body in it, it should have been found. Others have, including two in a recent search. While it is possible that Mr. Gricar could have jumped into the chilly waters from the bridge or walked into the water, it is gigantically improbable.
It is in theory possible for Mr. Gricar to have walked someplace and committed suicide in the night. There were no sightings of him on foot, outside of about a two block radius of where his car was found. One fellow blogger, Slamdunk, noted a location across the river, Montandon Marsh could be used to hide a body. Mr. Gricar could have gone to that location, or a similar one. Tony Gricar, however, indicated that he had checked at least part of that area. Remains would have attracted vultures and in the context of a well publicized search someone might have made the connection.
The evidence (strongly or weakly) for suicide is this:
* A family history of depression.
* A change in his demeanor and work activity
* The expressed desire to get rid of the data on the hard drive.
* Suicide could be consistent with the witness reports in Lewisburg on 4/15/05
The evidence (strongly or weakly) against suicide is this:
* The titling of the Mini Cooper
* The cell phone call.
* The Fenton sighting
* The Lewisburg witnesses of 4/16/05
* The Wilkes-Barre sighting of 4/18/05
* The physical evidence of smoke and ash in the Mini
* No remains found
The other seven items would have to be coincidence.
Well, what do you think? The next entry in the series will be one of the murder scenarios.