This is the third post of a multiple part series on the Ray Gricar disappearance.
Case Summary: Gricar was a district attorney in Central Pennsylvania, and disappeared in 2005. On the day he went missing, he told his girlfriend that he was taking a vacation day from work, and driving about an hour away from his office to do some shopping. His car was found abandoned the next day, and his laptop computer was recovered submerged under a bridge adjacent to his parked vehicle.
In this part, I begin my discussion of three plausible scenarios to explain the Gricar disappearance.
Scenario #1—Suicide In 1996, Ray’s brother Roy, a recent federal retiree, told his wife that he was going to buy mulch and never returned home. His vehicle was found parked near a bridge on the Ohio River and his body was recovered several days later from the water; he apparently had committed suicide.
In the weeks prior to disappearing, investigators determined that Gricar was at the least “distracted,” his girlfriend stated that he was taking more naps than usual, and another defense attorney described him as looking depressed. Also, he was characterized by friends as being reserved and always as someone who preferred to keep to himself. In contrast, Gricar’s medical records showed no sign of mental illness or depression.
Despite the apparent suicide of Ray’s brother and the disappearance of both men (in or near their retirement), this scenario seems to hold the least viability. Gricar’s life at the time of his disappearance appeared to be going well--his relationships with family and friends appeared to be positive. His finances did not seem to be a problem-—as more questions linger as to what his money was being spent on as opposed to concerns over debt.
Gricar appeared to colleagues as excited about his upcoming retirement and was planning trips to the Northeastern US. His girlfriend and daughter passed polygraphs regarding not knowing any further information about Gricar. Also, the Susquehanna River at the location where Gricar’s car was recovered is too shallow for a body not to have been found if suicide was involved.
In considering suicide, other questions are relevant. Why would he end his life without giving some closure to his daughter or other family members? Why would someone make detailed formal plans to go on trips with his girlfriend after his retirement, if suicide were the intended action? If he committed suicide in in this fashion, his bank accounts would just sit there--relatives would need to exert time and money through civil process to gain access. Why lump this burden on your family?
With no note, no body, no other indications of Gricar taking his own life, I list suicide as the least likely of the scenarios.
In review, here are my ratings for this scenario: +1 Previous suicide in his direct family +1 Approaching a life altering experience (retirement) +1 Reports had his mood as possibly depressed -1 No body recovered -1 No note or other strong indications of suicide -1 No major financial, relationship, or family problems evident
I’ll post more information on two other scenarios soon, and here are the links to Part I and Part II.