When writing a blog about the disappearance of Ray Gricar, Centre County’s former district attorney, I often have problems coming up with titles. For this one, I problem with which one I should use. “It came from the Internet,” was the runner up, though there were a few others.
About an month ago, a poster with the screen name “Common Sense,” or “CS” posted on a message board. She has a website on the Gricar case, but had been posting less frequently on the case; she also, unlike me, has software on her site that lists at least a partial address of who visits (For the record, I don’t know who visits this site). This is what she posted in part:
why would the Dept of Homeland Security in Washington, DC be visiting my google site (entering via the old Court TV threads archive) ??
they visited night before last for almost 10 minutes - mainly looking at the news/video links1
[I’ve maintained the original formatting]
Never miss a local story.
Now, I do not really regard CS as a reliable source. The ideas that Mr. Gricar would be a threat to the county or that his disappearance was an al-Qaeda are both ludicrous; CS has never suggested any of that. This sounds like the joke that circulated in the Courthouse that Mr. Gricar was hiding in bin Laden’s closet but the SEAL team missed him.2 You could easily write this comment off as a delusional poster or at least one with malfunctioning software. Expect I don’t discount it; I believe her.
The reasons I believe CS, in this case, are twofold. First, she advocates the theory that Mr. Gricar was murdered and Homeland Security would not be investigating a local murder. Bringing up the Department of Homeland Security would be an argument against interest. The second, and most important reason, what is because of something of which she had no knowledge. Until now, it was never publicly discussed.
About 18 months ago, I had an e-mail Slamdunk, the blogger that writes Slam Dunks.3 Slamdunk, as indicated, has done a series of blogs on the Gricar case. Slamdunk and I do talk about the Gricar case, along with some of the other cases he is covering. We also discuss the Internet traffic specifically regarding the Gricar case. Like CS, he has software that shows part of the addresses of people visiting his site. He e-mailed me that he was getting visits from someone at the Department of the Treasury, looking at the material on Mr. Gricar, from the Washington, DC area; they got there by the use of a search engine. I looked at the cases Slamdunk had covered, and he does cover other missing persons, mysterious deaths cases, but only the Gricar case had a financial aspect.
The Departments of Treasury and Homeland Security overlap in one notable area, money, specifically the movement of money across national borders. Treasury handles a number of things like taxes, but part of what they do enforce the laws relating to domestic financial transactions; someone in law enforcement indicated that this included wire transfers. Homeland Security looks at money transfers across international boundaries, and has an impressive record.4
Not too surprisingly, both Slamdunk and CS have indicated that that they get visits from someone at the Department of Justice; Slamdunk noted that then come in generally when he writes about the Gricar case. Treasury and Homeland Security shouldn’t be too much of a surprise either.
So now we have someone at two agencies of the federal government that deal with moving money looking at the Gricar case. Two bored federal employees of different offices that deal with the transfer of money just happen to be looking at a missing person case in Central Pennsylvania? Coincidences are possible, but that is really unlikely.
Almost nine months ago, in an update on the review panel formed by the District Attorney, Stacy Parks Miller, indicated that they were looking more deeply into Mr. Gricar’s finances.5 It makes a great deal of sense for the two federal departments that can look at the finances to be looking at the Gricar case. It doesn’t mean that they found anything, or that there is anything to find, but it is logical to look. It is nice to know that they are looking and this provides a slight glimpse into the investigation (which was another alternative title). It is common to use the Internet as research tool and find out all they can from public information on the individual in which they are interested.
This tells us a bit about the investigation, but not a whole lot about what happened to Mr. Gricar. It tells us something that most reasonably close observers of the Gricar case know. His money situation is unexplained at this point; there are some questions about why he doesn’t have more money.
I don’t have that software that tells me who is here on this site, so I only who is reading when they contact me and say, “I read something you wrote.” A lot of people connected with law enforcement in some way, at least obliquely, do read this blog, so I would guess that that the same people read the other sites might read this one as well. So, if you are out there, and not just a bored federal worker, I’d suggest two things:
1. If you are looking at foreign transfers of cash, I’d suggest reviewing the circumstances around the Southfield sighting, because of the proximity to the Consulate of the Republic of Macedonia. I’d also look at Canada as possible destination or transfer point, due to the geography of both the Wilkes-Barre and Southfield sightings.
2. If you don’t want to read about your Internet searches on message boards, and in blogs, use a proxy server. You may be watching some of us in the “chattering class,” but some of us watch back and chatter about what we see. If there is one thing the “chattering class” does, it is chatter.
2 http://www.centredaily.com/2011/06/09/2767534/brains-not-guts.html Interestingly, the blog was not posted when the message board post was made, though I had heard the joke and had written a draft, prior to the comment.
3 This is being referred to with his permission. Slamdunk’s section on the Gricar case is here: http://theslamdunktrove.blogspot.com/search/label/Ray%20Gricar
Centre Daily Times Ray Gricar Section: http://www.centredaily.com/138/
Link to the Main Index for Sporadic Comments on Ray Gricar: http://www.centredaily.com/2011/03/21/2597340/main-index-32011.html
E-mail J. J. in Phila at firstname.lastname@example.org