Five years ago today, the then incumbent Centre County District Attorney Ray Gricar vanished off the face of the earth. There is still no solid explanation for it. A year ago, on the fourth anniversary, I posted, “I sincerely hope I will not have to write a fifth anniversary blog.” You can read it here: Four Years
Well, a year has passed, I’m writing a blog about the fifth anniversary. Some of the people that were commenting on the case are still commenting on it, including myself. Slamdunk, a fellow blogger, who was quoted in that blog a year ago, is still writing on it; I’ll again to encourage you to read his blog. You would recognize many of the same names, or at least writing styles, of many of the chattering class.
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There have, however, been two notable dropouts. First, and the most noticeable, was the disappearance of the person who provided “leadership” in the investigation, defeated District Attorney Michael T. Madeira. Note the quotes around the word “leadership.” His leadership quickly consisted of damage control when news of the case came out. He was replaced, by the electorate, in November of 2009.
His replacement is the incumbent District Attorney, Stacy Parks Miller. Just more than two weeks ago, she announced a new initiative on the case, forming a review board to look at the case, and perhaps try to develop new avenues for investigation. It wasn’t in response to negative press and it was after a fairly detailed review of the case file by Ms. Parks Miller. That is a good, and positive, sign that there may be a public resolution to this case.
One change, not quite so positive, is the vanishing of the Gricar family web site. In late November 2009, the family website went down. There was this message: Back up in a bit. We're tinkering with the server. As of 12:01 AM, on 4/15/10, this is still what you see if you go to the Gricar site maintained by the family: http://raygricar.com/ . I’ve seen pessimism from the family spokesman, Tony Gricar, in regard to the review board.1 This pessimism is ironic, because we now have those “fresh eyes” that he, and others, have been calling for almost the last four years.
The public interest in the case has continued. I thought that after the election, it might slacken. What surprised me a bit is that more than a quarter of the people that have recommended this blog have done so after the election for district attorney in 2009.
In look back at the year, I know that many, if not most of the people thinking about what happened to Mr. Gricar think he walked away. I’ve read the on-line polls and the comments. When I started writing this blog, more than a year ago, I thought that there was a 48% chance that walked away and a 43% chance of Mr. Gricar being the victim of foul play.
What do what do I think happened to Mr. Gricar, today? A 48% chance of walkaway, 42% chance of Mr. Gricar being the victim of foul play, and 9% chance of suicide. That is not a big difference and my numbers are not too much different from those of my fellow blogger, Slamdunk.
There is more evidence that points to Mr. Gricar’s voluntary departure than to him being the victim of foul play. I have to agree with Tony Gricar’s comments of a year ago, “Everything has been, still is, in that circumstantial realm,” and, “But I’d be a fool to say that I can rule out or can’t rule out homicide at this point.”2 On these points, I agree with him, but there is more circumstantial evidence, frankly that has been growing, that does point to Ray Gricar’s voluntary actions causing his disappearance, but it is not overwhelming. If new evidence is found and released, that could change my odds, either way, in a heartbeat. I’d like to see that evidence come to light.
I am somewhat optimistic that there will be that new evidence. Some are chronicled in these blogs. Both Slamdunk and I have looked at what more can be done. There are a lot of new things that some of you have read about, new emphases, even new investigative techniques. I am hopeful, that under the leadership of Ms. Parks Miller, with both “old hands” and “fresh eyes” looking at the case, there can be an answer to the question “What happened to Ray Gricar?”
E-mail J. J. in Phila at email@example.com