Special Reports

District attorneys to meet on Gricar

BELLEFONTE — Prosecutors from across the state plan to meet with local police today to talk about Centre County District Attorney Ray Gricar's disappearance more than a month ago.

At the request of Clinton County District Attorney Ted McKnight, Bellefonte Police Chief Duane Dixon and other members of his department will put their heads together with a group of district attorneys.

"I'm hoping to solve the mystery of Ray Gricar's disappearance," McKnight said. "Maybe there's something we can offer that can help."

Dixon said he was approached by Mark Smith, Centre County's acting district attorney, about the meeting and immediately agreed.

"My objective is to find Mr. Gricar, whether it's a good scenario or a bad outcome, and get resolution for the family and for the Police Department," he said. "If they have suggestions on another avenue to explore, I'll look into it."

Gricar was last heard from April 15, when he used his county-issued cell phone to call his girlfriend and housemate, Patty Fornicola, about 11:30 a.m. He said he was taking a drive along state Route 192 in the Brush Valley area and wouldn't be in to work that afternoon.

The red-and-white Mini Cooper he was driving was found in a parking lot in Lewisburg; his cell phone was left inside. Still missing are a county-owned laptop and his sunglasses, keys and wallet.

Police have credible reports that he was spotted on April 16 in Lewisburg and on April 18 in Wilkes-Barre.

Police continue to investigate the disappearance -- they looked into two tips this week that led nowhere -- but the leads are shrinking. The few tips they've confirmed do not point to any definitive answer.

"It's not looking good," Dixon said. "Statistically, if you don't find someone within a few days, it's bad news."

Getting facts is another reason McKnight suggested the meeting with police and district attorneys. He said he hopes police will share information about what they've found during their investigation, to give the district attorneys some facts.

"My feeling has been consistent since day one. I'm very concerned he's the victim of foul play," he said. "I think some of the other theories out there are way down on the list. I deal with facts and truth. Show me some facts to support any of them."

Dixon said there are few facts to support any of the theories, including that Gricar was killed. There were no signs of a struggle in the parking lot or the car. Police have found no evidence that anyone related to a case in which Gricar was involved may have killed him.

Dixon said police also have found nothing to support a theory that he committed suicide. Several searches of the Susquehanna River, which flows through Lewisburg, and of the wooded areas near the river have turned up nothing. There is no record of Gricar owning any guns, Dixon said.

He said police also have found no evidence to support the theory that Gricar may have decided to just leave his life behind.

There has been no activity on his credit cards or bank account since his disappearance, and there have been no confirmed sightings in more than a month, Dixon said.

"There's nothing in the financial records that points to a double life," he said. "We could not locate any other accounts other than the ones we knew about."

Some people have theorized that Gricar is perhaps ill or injured and cannot make it home, possibly due to amnesia or a mini-stroke, Dixon said.

"If he was walking around in a haze, confused, we would have had more sightings," Dixon said.

The lack of clues continues to frustrate Dixon, who said he thought he would have had an answer by now.

"It's a big mystery," he said. "We're still no closer to where we were when this started."

Erin L. Nissley can be reached at 231-4616.

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