Special Reports

Boy, Did I Touch a Raw Nerve

            I generally don’t comment on other bloggers blogs here, but the latest, and rare, entry from one called Txslueth, found here  Hop-Skip-Jump....Ray Gricar did NOT Walk away .  I’m surprised that I touched a raw nerve on this issue.

            The entry in question is this one:  A Disappearance in South Carolina  I said that I wanted to look at some parallels “in terms of evidence, the conduct of the investigation, and the conduct of the family.”  I noted some lessons from this case:

1.  People can voluntarily walk away, like Ms. Whitaker.


2.  Coincidences do happen.  In Ms. Whitaker’s case, a coworker, Heather Sellars, disappeared (and was possibly murdered).


4.  The Internet played a rule in solving the case.


5.  The family, in keeping the case in the public eye, played a role in solving the case, a crucial one.


#3 on the list is the most telling in this case: 


The idea, suggested by another blogger, “When in doubt think murder,” delayed the resolution of this case.

That philosophy obviously failed in the Whitaker case, and unfortunately, Txslueth in her insistence that “Ray Gricar did NOT Walk away” made the same mistake that was made in the Whitaker case.  That mistake was failing to look at all options.  It failed, epically, in the Whitaker case.  Has it failed in the Gricar case?  Was there too much time spent in the first weeks after Mr. Gricar disappeared looking for a body that was not dead?  Maybe.

            Txslueth made a claim that Mr. Gricar could never leave his daughter.  This echoes the same claims made by the family in the Whitaker case, not just from her mother, but her sister and brother.  Her mother even noted that she would “never” leave her dog, Sophie, behind.1  She did.

            In Mr. Gricar’s case, it is a bit more problematic.  His daughter, Lara, was an adult and was living about 2,500 away when Mr. Gricar disappeared; she had been living there, going to college, for several years.  There is more, however.  For about 15 years prior to Mr. Gricar’s disappearance, he was not part of her household.  He divorced his first wife and she was the custodial parent.  So far as I know, I haven’t done a Vulcan mind meld with Ms. Gricar, they loved each other, but “love” does equal “closeness.”

            We have an example of that, from Ms. Gricar.  She spoke to her father the day before he disappeared and this is what she said, “ In fact, I just called to say my regular ‘I love you,’ and he said, I love you, too, sweetie.”1  That isn’t exactly an in depth or intimate conversation, just a regular “I love you.”  I seriously doubt that they were doing a Vulcan mind meld over the telephone.

            It was this comment that actually had me laughing out loud, “In blogger JJ of Phila's quest to sell the never-ending story of walkaway, his latest blog entry is about a young woman in Spartansburg, SC named Michelle Whitaker and how she walked away from her life....and how Ray Gricar could have done just like she did.”  Ah, saying that some of the factors could point to walkaway may be coincidence is “a quest to sell” walkaway?  Saying that helping publicize the case and using the Internet is part of "a quest to sell” walkaway?   I better not go into retail!

Wha...?  I’ve been the one that has posted some very possible murder scenarios, including the one that been keeping me up at night (just click the index link and you’ll find them).  While I personally do think the stronger possibility is that Mr. Gricar left voluntarily, I give it only a 48% chance of being the answer.  I give foul play a 42% chance of being correct; it is the second most likely possibility.

I’ve heard of someone else giving foul play a much lower chance of being the explanation.  That someone is the District Attorney, Stacey Parks Miller, who said, “The only thing I will say is that I believe homicide is the least likely, but we rule out nothing.”2  I'm happy she is not ruiling anything out.  I didn’t change my odds when she said it, but she does have an advantage.  She’s seen the actual evidence.  I would like to see it ruled out, or ruled in, if based on the evidence.


End Notes

1   http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,155634,00.html

2   http://www.centredaily.com/2010/04/01/1888171/review-board-lends-new-eyes.html