Sometimes people have asked me about how I find out some things about the about the disappearance of former Centre County District Attorney Ray Gricar. Usually, it is based on research on line or in books; remember books? A few times, I try to do experiments, for example, seeing how far I can toss a hard drive. Sometimes, I talk to people that are familiar with the case. Sometimes, when asked about that, I say, “I talk to people.”
I do talk to people, and some of them let me quote them occasionally; some have met me and never realized it was me. There is one person that I have not talked to, never met, and would have a great deal of trepidation if we should meet. No, it isn’t Michael Madeira, the person whose conduct of in the case I have been very critical. It’s not the police, not Chief Dixon (who was critical of me) or Detective Zaccagni. It isn’t the current members of the Bellefonte Police Department or State Police or the current District Attorney, Stacy Parks Miller. It is Patty Fornicola.
Never miss a local story.
I don’t know the names of everyone that e-mails me, or that sends me a personal message, but as far as know, I’ve never had any communication, or any suspected communication, with Ms. Fornicola. While we were students, I don’t think our paths ever crossed. I think I would remember, for two reasons.
First, Patty Fornicola is an unusual name, and I’d probably remember. Second, I did meet her uncle, Gino Fornicola, twice while was at Penn State. The first time he was Mayor of Bellefonte then, with an impressive record, actually being known as “Mr. Bellefonte.” Even one exceptionally liberal professor of mine mentioned him with admiration; that impressed me after I found out he was a Republican. The second time, while he was completing his term as Mayor, was when he was running for his first term as County Treasurer. I did recognize the name “Fornicola” when I saw it in relation to the Gricar case; I thought that she was Gino’s daughter.1 I’m sure that as a student, had I a met Ms. Fornicola, I would have said, “Are you related to Gino Fornicola?”
I’d relish the chance to talk to Ms. Fornicola about the case, but I’d relish that chance from anyone that was close to Mr. Gricar, or the investigation or just interested in the case. Only Ms. Fornicola would make me uncomfortable.
Now, I have no idea if Ms. Fornicola reads this blog, but I’m going to say this. Ms. Fornicola, if you do, and you are reading this blog, you might want to skip the blogs call “The Least Weak Evidence … ,” which I’m hoping to write in a few weeks and the stop reading this one after this paragraph. I’m not going to say anything negative about you, but I’d expect it to be painful none the less.
Okay, my conscience is clear.
The reason I would really would be so darned uncomfortable talking to Ms. Fornicola would be that she would ask me a question. The question isn’t where “Where you on 4/15/05?” (Posting on the Internet.) It would not be, “Why are so interested in the case?” (That was answered in my first blog.) It wouldn’t be, “Why do have mounds of paper all over your house?” (The only way I can find anything.) It would not be anything about me. It would be this question: “What do you think happened to Ray?”
Today, I’d answer in total honesty: “I think there is about an 80%, or greater, chance that he, A., walked away, leaving you behind, of B. was murdered while with another woman, or soon after being with her.” I really don’t want to have to look her in the eye and give that answer. I’ve been spared of that, so far. Sure, there is a chance it was something else, suicide, being murdered by thugs, amnesia (the latter really reaching) but, as of today that is really where the evidence is pointing. It might be hurtful, but it still logical. For Ms. Fornicola, the answer is most likely a no win situation. I don’t enjoy being the bearer of that answer to her question, but that is my lot.
I hope to have two blogs discussing the least weak evidence of both murder and voluntary departure in the next several weeks.
E-mail J. J. in Phila at firstname.lastname@example.org