Yes, this is the time of the year to look back and be thankful. This year, there are some reasons to be thankful about the case of the missing former Centre County District Attorney, Ray Gricar.
The Gricar case continues to be in the public eye. The Centre Daily Times continues to cover the case; they let me, and others, blog on it. A cable television program, Disappeared, will be doing an episode on the disappearance. Perhaps Mr. Gricar’s closest friend, Steve Sloane, has spoken out. People are still interested. After more than 5 ½ years, that is impressive. That is not the main reason to be thankful.
The main reason to be thankful is the review panel formed in April of 2010. There are numerous people to thank.
First, is the incumbent District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller. She didn’t keep a campaign promise, because she never promised anything about the investigation. Only after the election did she say anything and her announcement was made after careful study of the files. She deserves a big thank you.
Of course, the heavens did not open up, and cherubs did not descend and hand Ms. Parks Miller the keys to the District Attorney’s Office. The second group of people to be thanked are the voters of Centre County, whose choice it was.
Ms. Parks Miller isn’t actually going out and sifting through evidence, like conducting interviews. Those are the police, like the Bellefonte Police Department and the Pennsylvania State Police, that has been there from the start. Ms. Parks Miller called the public disclosure of what the police have done, “just the tip of the iceburg.” I agree wholeheartedly. They deserve thanks.
The Bellefonte Police Department deserves addition thanks for its willingness to work with other area police departments and the FBI. Those others deserve thanks as well. So does a former member of the Bellefonte Police Department, Darrel Zaccagni, who was willing to sit down with “Disappeared” interviewers and go over the case. I do hope that the review panel is seeking him out as well. They all deserve thanks.
Where did some of the ideas for the review committee come from? One of the earliest was from Montour County District Attorney Bob Buehner, who said in his 2008 letter to the former Centre County District Attorney :
This should cause a discussion about forming a “Gricar task force” with involvement by various law enforcement agencies.
There was another that I was lucky enough to have as a guest blogger, Slamdunk, a former police officer. He wrote about a cold case unit:
The unit could work part-time on the case. One sworn supervisor would be charged with leading the group and staff would be supplemented through interested volunteers. These volunteers would be chosen after a selection process, screened, and then required to attend training prior to participating.
While this is called a “review panel,” and not a “task force” or a “cold case unit,” the principle is the same. Both deserve thanks for being both early and public advocates of the concept of a review panel. Last week, I went back and looked at Slamdunk’s guest blog; he has good suggestions in it, and it’s worth another look. You can find it here: http://tiny.cc/Guestblog
In the Gricar case, there are many people to thank, for different roles. I’ve just basically on just the review panel, but there are others who have made different contributions. You may be one of them. If you are, thank you.
E-mail J. J. in Phila at email@example.com