[This is another one of those lost in transition blog entries.]
In my correspondence with people interested in the disappearance of Ray Gricar, I heard a joke that was circulating in the Courthouse. There was a local woman, known for her interest in, and respect for, Mr. Gricar. The joke went “I know where Ray Gricar is. He’s chained up in [this woman’s] basement.” I’m sure some of you had heard it, but I’ll redact the name. It really was a joke at this woman’s expense, and from what I’ve heard about the case, it would be gigantically unlikely that the woman would be involved in the kidnapping (or murder) of Mr. Gricar. I will admit that I laughed when I heard it.
The possibility does exist that Mr. Gricar was kidnapped prior to being murdered, i.e. he was forced someplace at gunpoint and then murdered. That however would make the motive for the kidnapping murder. In this entry, I want to look briefly at the possibility Mr. Gricar was abducted but not for purpose of being murdered.
Why would Mr. Gricar be kidnapped? The first reason would be money, but that creates a problem. Mr. Gricar was not rich; he wasn’t poor, but he wasn’t someone with a few million dollars. As a career district attorney, he would probably be making a lot less than most Centre County attorneys in private practice. He was dressed casually and wasn’t exuding wealth; a Mini Cooper is not a Mercedes. There was never a ransom demand. A kidnapping for ransom is unlikely.
The second reason might be to get some leverage. Mr. Gricar was a public official. Someone could have kidnapped him to get something from the government. It would basically be a demand like, “Release my boyfriend from prison, or I’ll kill the DA.” The problem is there was never any demand for that. Nobody called the police, or sent a note, demanding that.
There is the theory that the CIA did it. He, according to the theory, discovered some super secret communications project at Penn State, and the CIA kidnapped him and flew him to Romania.2 Well, I’d doubt it the CIA would have gone to all the trouble, and created a news story that hasn’t ended. If Mr. Gricar did discover something, it is far more likely that the Central Intelligence Agency would have walked into his office and told him to forget about it. Also, how would they know that he didn’t have records of what he found?
Then we come finally to the last one, Mr. Gricar was kidnapped and is being held is someone’s basement (though not the person in the joke), or in a remote cabin. There are people kidnapped and held, usually for sexual purposes, for months or even years. The famous Elizabeth Smart and the Jaycee Dugard cases are some examples. One horrific Pennsylvania example is the Gary Heidnik case in Philadelphia. Hiednik kidnapped six women and killed two of them; he kept them literally chained up in the basement of his Philadelphia row house (which ironically is not too far from me).3 While I provided a link, I would urge caution in reading about it; the crimes were barbaric and sickening and not for those with a weak stomach.
Is it possible Mr. Gricar is being held someplace, by some lunatic? It is hugely unlikely. Most of the victims tend to young women who were not particularly well educated. Heidnik’s victims include those mentally challenged, and several were prostitutes.3 They don’t tend to have JD’s and noted for being street savvy. Part of the reason these women are held is because their captors can dominate them, both physically and mentally. Mr. Gricar wasn’t exactly in bad shape, physically, on 4/15/05; he was six feet tall, trim, and exercised regularly. Even then, in the case of one of Heidnik’s victims, she managed to convince him to trust her, and than ran to a friend’s house and called the police. It would be very likely that Mr. Gricar could have escaped his captor by this point, if there was one.
I wouldn’t be too surprised if some people in law enforcement might have considered abduction in the first few days after Mr. Gricar’s disappearance. The passage of time, however, made this one probably lower than the chance Mr. Gricar was eaten by a troll living under the bridge in Lewisburg.
E-mail J. J. in Phila at firstname.lastname@example.org