Part III: Ray Gricar Missing Person

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.


Anonymous said...

To clarify, Roy Gricar was on his way to pick up his young son. An errand to purchase mulch was much less important side trip.

Good job on the posts. I'm sure the Gricars, and those following the case, appreciate it.

Slamdunk said...

Thank you for the correction--that is an interesting note to the case.

Dave Bazinet /Photographer said...

Just saw the intriguing story on Discovery ID, He searched for hard drive and waters deleterious effects. He was seen at that antiques shop with a woman. That is where he subsequently disappeared, as his laptop and hard drive were ultimately found there ( mysteriously, the hard drive, though lighter was found upstream).
Conclusion: He was unfaithful, was found out (or spurned), and since he was ready to retire, he knew the laptop would give him up. Or the husband would, so he committed suicide in the river, discarded the drive first but floated with the laptop about 100 feet and was dead shortly thereafter.
His body decomposed at the dam down river as stated in the show.
Caveat: As the body decomposed, his watch should still be at the bottom of the dam area. Maybe the wallet too.
People commit suicide for less reasons. It would be an awful conclusion for the family, but seems the most logical result because of the woman and the location of the disappearance, as if he would be making a statement!

Slamdunk said...

Thanks for your comment and theory Dave.

There are several investigators who would agree with you. Though suicide is a reasonable conclusion, My personal thoughts favor left on his own to start a new life.

He was approaching retirement, had no real connections to his community, had disappeared for short times before, and as detailed on JJ from Phila's blog (Centre Daily Times), was reportedly seen by dozens of witnesses in various places after he went missing (police, attorney, people who knew him, etc.).