Special Reports

You know youâ™ve been writing about the Gricar Case too long when â¦

I remember my predecessor, Mr. Bosak, ending his “Just Gricar” blog, more than a year ago.  The last entries are still up.  He wrote:

“For three years, every time I saw a Mini Cooper of any color, I thought of Ray.  I was shopping recently and, just about inside a store, I realized I forgot the grocery list on the front seat. Walking back to my car, I realized I walked right past a red and white Mini Cooper, a spitting image of Ray's, and never gave it a thought. That just reinforced in my mind that the time had come to let go of the mystery that's fascinated me since the man was reported missing.”  Time to move on

            When I see a red Mini Cooper, I still think of missing former Centre County District Attorney Ray Gricar, not to mention how it would be possible to toss the laptop out the passenger side window and clear the barrier on bridge in Lewisburg.  Yes, this case has dominated my life.  I recently found out how much the research into the Gricar case has affected my life.

            Last week, on Monday and Tuesday, a friend, Christine, and I traveled to Hershey, PA.  We were both judging a student event for high school students.  It was a statewide competition.  Christine knows a do this blog, but she doesn’t read it; she lives in Philadelphia and the Gricar disappearance is not the most pressing issue.  She does however read many of my more academic articles.

            On the way, as we were driving, Christine, asked how far we had gone.  I pointed to my small scale, computer generated map, and said. “Here.  I know because we’re approaching Denver [PA], and the roads connect to Lancaster and Reading  I know that because Jonathan Luna’s body was found just off the Turnpike there.”

Christine:  “I have no idea who that is.”

Me:  “Oh, he’s the Baltimore Assistant United States District Attorney who was found stabbed to death in his car in December of 2003.”  The Other Prosecutor Part 1: The Death of Jonathan P. Luna

When arriving, and after checking in, we went to dinner.  The name tag of the gentleman that sat across from us indicated that he was with the State College Area School District.  I told him that was an old alumnus of Penn State and said that I hadn’t been there for a while.  I did say that that I was in Lewisburg over the summer.  It turned out he was from Lewisburg, with a friend doing research.  What I Saw in Lewisburg

It turned out he was originally from Lewisburg.  He asked me if I was doing research at Bucknell.  I responded, “No, it was on the river.  I did rather enjoy the Street of Shops.”  [If the gentleman is reading this, yes, I was the guy in the back brace, who had a salad for desert.]

I turned to Christine after the gentleman left, and said.  “State College is in the county where the guy I blog about was the DA.  His car was found in Lewisburg.”  Christine smiled slightly.

The next day Christine and I judged the various teams.  One of the first was from Waynesboro.  After they finished, I turned to Christine and said, “Waynesboro, they  found the remains of a young girl that was murdered there about fifteen years ago last week.”  Three Cases  Christine nodded.

One of the other teams was from Bellefonte.  When they finished, I turned to Christine and said, “That’s where Ray Gricar, the missing person I blog about, is from.”  [And if any of them are reading this, I was the one male judge, and was wearing a dark blue pinstripe suit, with a Lion Shrine logo tie.]

Later that day, we started driving back we passed Hershey Medical Center.  I said, “That’s where Betsy Aardsma’s fiancée was when she was murdered.”

Christine, who went to University of Pennsylvania, but not Penn State, asked:  “Who’s that?”

I said, “Oh, the woman murdered in the Pattee Library, at Penn State, in 1969.  It’s a local legend up there.”

Well, we got back to Philadelphia around 8:30 PM.  As I was leaving, I mention that I’d be driving through Gary Heidnik’s ZIP Code.  She didn’t have to ask who that was, as he is quite infamous in Philadelphia. Kidnapping  

Writing about this case has given me some insight into what investigators and crime writers must have to deal with in looking at homicides, mysterious deaths, and missing persons.  It probably gave my friend Christine a greater insight into those people forced to spend long periods of time with them.


E-mail J. J. in Phila at scorg@live.com