This is the fourth post of a multiple part series on the Ray Gricar disappearance. 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 workplace to do some shopping. His car was found abandoned the next day, and his laptop computer was later recovered submerged under a bridge near his parked vehicle.
In Part III, I discussed suicide as a scenario to explain the disappearance, and will continue with another possible explanation in this post.
Scenario #2: Crime Victim Making the case that Gricar was the victim of a random street crime in Lewisburg is difficult based on the available information. Any street crime in Lewisburg on a sunny Friday in April would be a big story. Adjacent to the shops and parking lot where his vehicle was recovered, is a public park. Normally there are lots of vehicle and foot traffic in that area (shoppers, residents, university students, etc.). Water Street (where the parking area is) is used by hurried motorists going west from RT 45 to bypass downtown Lewisburg and get over to Route 15.
Arguing that Gricar was the victim of a crime while traveling to Lewisburg seems even less likely. This scenario is not impossible in that Gricar’s work against dangerous criminals is well documented. It would be easy to find out where the DA lived, and for some persons to follow him one day.
What does not support this assertion is his route traveled on the day he went missing (assuming that the information police have on his travels is accurate). The speed limits on Hwy. 192, a rural road with only pockets of sparsely settled areas, average 55 mph which means folks drive 70+ mph—making it tough to kidnap someone in broad daylight.
Also, with Gricar’s car being parked in Lewisburg next to the antique shops, I don’t think someone would go to the effort of harming him on rural 192 and then driving his vehicle to Lewisburg--his vehicle would have been dumped somewhere less conspicuous.
The most plausible of the crime victim theories is that Gricar met someone he knew in Lewisburg and that led to foul play. In my opinion, three pieces of evidence support this scenario.
First, on that fateful trip, Gricar brought his laptop with him, which was considered by colleagues as unusual. My initial thoughts were that he brought his the computer with him to Lewisburg either because he was the DA and he could use it if work called him, or that he kept antique toy prices and information on it and used it while he was shopping. Graciously, a member of the Gricar family member stated to me that he did not believe the second assumption was valid—that Gricar was not known to keep computer databases related to his collectible interests.
As a result, it is unclear why he would he be carrying his laptop (also missing are his wallet, keys, and sunglasses) with him to meet someone. His cell phone was recovered in the car. If the laptop was in the vehicle when Gricar disappeared wouldn’t the suspect be taking a big risk by going back to his car to search it? Perhaps this was a calculated risk knowing that the hard drive contained critical information, but less plausible than assuming something happened to him while the laptop was in his possession.
Since it was county-owned computer I am certain that access was protected, and it would be of little value other than to hide Gricar’s private email account activities, Internet site browsing, etc. It is possible that unknown persons wanted extra time to think about what to do with his laptop after the item was taken from Gricar. Maybe they did not want to leave the computer with him, and after checking the equipment or realizing that they could not access any of the information, they decided to discard the laptop.
In sum, Gricar did something unusual on the day he disappeared--he brought his laptop with him on what was believed to have been a shopping trip. This in itself brings the stated intent of the trip into question and supports the crime victim theory.
The second piece of evidence that supports a scenario where Gricar was taken against his will is the recovery location of the laptop.