Roughly six months ago today, there was a new initiative announced in the investigation of the disappearance of former Centre County District Attorney Ray Gricar.1 It was announce by the incumbent Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller and represents the first organized initiative since the Pennsylvania State Police Criminal Investigation Analysis Unit finished its work in 2006. This review panel consists of personnel from the police departments of Bellefonte, State College, Ferguson Township, Penn State, the Pennsylvania State Police, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
While this panel is currently working in secret, we have not even been told who is on this panel, some details have been revealed. They are “fact finding,” talking to Mr. Gricar’s friends and co-workers.2 This is exceptionally good news for the investigation.
The Bellefonte Police, however, have been working on this case, as has the State Police since Mr. Gricar first disappeared. The investigation into the disappearance of Mr. Gricar did not start, though it might have been jumpstarted, with this panel.
When announcing the panel, Mr. Parks Miller said, “And since taking office and being able to review the file and the investigation, I can say I was very pleased to learn that what the public was informed of is just the tip of the iceberg, in terms of what has been done in the investigation.”1
I think she was right. I seriously doubt that read the series on the Investigation3 and say that the police, especially the Bellefonte Police, didn’t do a lot of investigation. Those critical first 48 hours after Mr. Gricar disappeared, were perhaps text examples of how to handle a missing person’s case. The level of investigation has been huge, to the point of the police looking at satellite photos of the site, and checking out bloggers writing about the case (Oddly, I approve of the latter). The evidence was then reviewed in 2006 by the Pennsylvania State Police Criminal Investigation Analysis Unit. The very possibly discovered Mr. Gricar’s computer searches. They followed numerous leads that came in, like 20/20 Vision and connection to Mel Wiley’s disappearance. The Bellefonte Police Department is definitely not Andy and Barney sitting around the office waiting for Opie and Aunt Bea to show up.
In short, after what has nearly been a five and a half year investigation, law enforcement has done a lot. And therein lies the rub, as both Shakespeare and Rod Serling would say (I’m much more a fan of the latter). Law enforcement has done a lot, and have found out a lot. The just are not telling the rest of us.
What do we know that the police know?
1. A full list of the witnesses in Lewisburg, along with the details of what they saw. We only found out about McKnight’s witness and that Mr. Gricar was seen moving the Mini Cooper in July of 2008, three years after it was known to the police.
2. A list of the calls to and from Mr. Gricar’s county issued cell
phone (yes, youpaid for that). Also, what towers carried the calls?
3. What the other witnesses from Southfield, MI reported. The found a photo ofMr. Gricar “familiar?” How “familiar?” Did they say, “I say him someplace,” or “This guy was in the restaurant last Friday?”
4. Did Mr. Gricar do any searches, or make inquiries about
replacing his hard drive?
The police know the answers to these questions. They have known the answers for years, in some, if not all of these cases. It does not take greater investigation to determine these things. It only takes the will to release them.
There are legitimate concerns about privacy, but all of this information can be released in redacted form. I know the names of some of the witnesses, for example, but I only mention those that have been reported in the media. There is no reason law enforcement can do the same.
Will it imperil the investigation? After nearly five and a half years, imperiling the investigation becomes questionable, if not laughable. The police have already said that they have reached of “consensus” that Mr. Gricar was in Lewisburg, specifically in the Street of Shops.4 Why would not telling the rest of us why they reached that consensus?
And we have the still new Centre County District Attorney, Stacy Parks Miller, who said that, “The only thing I will say is that I believe homicide is the least likely, but we rule out nothing.”1 I don’t know how she formed her opinion, but based on the public evidence (and those few pieces that I do know about), I don’t agree. I’m not someone out here beating the drum for “the murder theory,” but like my fellow blogger, Slamdunk, I think that there is still a “reasonable possibility” that Mr. Gricar was a crime victim.5
Now, let’s be clear. I respect Ms. Parks Miller. I trust her, I think she is bright, I think she is doing a much better job that her predecessor did in this case and is diligent, and I think that she, on a personal level as well an official level, really wants to see the case solved. Still, why isn’t she telling us?
None of the things that I’ve mentioned require a cent of taxpayer money to be further investigated. It has been paid for already, by you, if you are taxpayer in Pennsylvania.
Law enforcement will tell us their conclusions, or the likelihood of some scenario. It has been six months of investigation, by arguably some of the most capable law enforcement agencies in the Commonwealth, if not the nation, that make up this review panel. It was preceded by a review of the Pennsylvania State Police. All are part of a more than a five year investigation into the disappearance of Ray Gricar. After all of that, law enforcement is still not telling us.
3 Index of the Known Evidence, April 2010
E-mail J. J. in Phila at email@example.com