Birthdays, like any other anniversary, are a celebration and a time to look back. October 9, 2012, is the 67th anniversary of the birth of former Centre County District Attorney Ray Gricar, his birthday. We don’t know if he is alive to celebrate this one, and I certainly don’t know if he has ever read this blog. If Mr. Gricar is alive and reading this, I say to him, “Happy Birthday, Ray.” I would have to add the word, “anyhow.”
The last year has not been a good one for Mr. Gricar. First, we have his role in the decision not to prosecute now convicted child molester Jerry Sandusky. It clearly put Mr. Gricar, as the District Attorney of the day, in the news again. I can only note, with extreme irony, that Mr. Sandusky is to be sentenced today.
Second, just last week, were have Mr. Gricar’s closest friend, and possibly the Assistant District Attorney closest to him, Steve Sloane, charged with selling marijuana.1 I do sincerely hope that it is a mistake, but I don’t make a judgment either way. I’ve never met Mr. Sloane in person, but we have communicated over the years about the disappearance; I know how much he misses Mr. Gricar and how he hopes for his safe return.
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There is more, however. According to the police report, Mr. Sloane admitted to a dependency on Oxycontin, which he overcame. Mr. Sloane had been in a serious, and almost fatal, automobile accident, in 2000; he suffered a broken back.2 It is very possible that this was a prescription for the pain associated with it. Mr. Sloane would hardly be alone in that. As an Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court, William Rehnquist had a similar problem.3 There is no criminality to that, nor is there any dishonor in it. It is a biological effect, not a lack of character.
Still, Mr. Sloane had a very close relationship with Mr. Gricar, both personally and professionally. Mr. Sloane would actually argue the penalty phase in death penalty cases that Mr. Gricar would argue.2 Oxycontin, can cause cognitive problems, confusion or even hallucinations. Perhaps Mr. Gricar did arrange for help, or, however unlikely, Mr. Sloane’s alleged addiction didn’t occur until after 4/15/05. It would be very odd that he wouldn’t have noticed something wrong with both a close colleague and a close friend. I would have no doubt that if Mr. Gricar would have retired to his girlfriend’s home in Bellefonte or to the Seattle area to be near his daughter, the CDT would have been calling with a few dozen questions.
It is yet another bizarre twist, in a bizarre missing person case, in this Central Pennsylvania Gothic story. Well, at least the month ending with Halloween seems appropriate for it. I never suspected, when sending Mr. Gricar birthday wishes last year, that we’d be seeing much of what we have seen this year. I have to admit, this past year has left me shaking my head even more.
A year later, we are really not any closer to finding out what happened to Ray Gricar. Sure, we able to articulate plausible theories, without evidence, about why Mr. Gricar could have left voluntarily. Those are not really needed. Mr. Gricar was in the news, and perhaps more people know about him, and his disappearance; his photo was in the New York Times in regard to the Sandusky case. Any publicity is good and maybe somebody might read it and connect the dots, but it doesn’t seem to have produced any results so far. Another year has come and gone, and no remains have been found. No wallet or keys have been fished out of the Susquehanna. We don’t have any video of him walking down the street in some foreign land.
So, Mr. Gricar, if you are out there, and reading this, I say to you, “Happy Birthday, anyhow.”
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