Part VII: Ray Gricar Missing Person

This is the seventh 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 employment 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.

I’ll continue the discussion from Part VI--discussing a third scenario that Gricar disappeared voluntarily.

Scenario #3: Voluntary Disappearance (Continued)
In the Gricar case, there are multiple factors that would lead one to believe that he disappeared voluntarily. Some of the evidence that was presented in my second scenario (Crime Victim) can also be used to convincingly argue that Gricar planned to vanish, but let me start with some of the case characteristics that uniquely support this thinking. Gricar’s voluntary disappearance can be argued using supporting information from three specific areas in his life dogs, cars, and attachments.

Let me begin by talking about Mr. Gricar’s dogs.

On the day of his disappearance, his phone conversation with his girlfriend, Patty Fornicola, reportedly included Gricar stating that he would not be home in time to let his dogs out, and he asked her to take care of it. From the information that I read about the district attorney, he seemed care very much for his animals, and “dog-people” would not let their pets suffer. On that day as in future days, his dogs would be well cared for.

Next, Mr. Gricar’s car was found the neighboring county of Union after the incident. As with his pets, Gricar’s car was well maintained. Again, during the phone call with his girlfriend Gricar reportedly stated that he was going to a specific community (Lewisburg) to perform a specific activity (antique shop). Gricar’s vehicle was recovered undamaged in the precise place that he had indicated—-in a Lewisburg parking lot adjacent to an antique mall.

It was later established that Gricar had purchased the vehicle and had it titled in the girlfriend’s name. Gricar evidently had told Fornicola that he did this to protect the property from future litigation. As a result, two belongings that meant a great deal to Mr. Gricar, his dogs and his car, were well cared for after the events of his disappearance.

Finally, Mr. Gricar simply did not have the attachments that many others have connecting to a community. He was not married. His daughter is an adult living in another state. He was a short time from retirement. He evidently did not have many liquid or other assets for a person who earned $100,000+ per year. When considering a scenario that Gricar disappeared willingly, it is an easier argument to make that he disappeared voluntarily as compared to a male home-owner, married 10 years, with 3 young children, and years away from retirement.

In sum, one would expect someone like Mr. Gricar to have many more links holding him to Centre County. Also, his disappearance resulted in his dogs and car being left in good hands.

In addition, to dogs, cars, and attachments being used to argue that Mr. Gricar was not a crime victim, the number of witnesses, many seemingly credible, included in the public information is significant. An assistant district attorney is certain she saw Gricar in Bellefonte late in the afternoon of his disappearance. A police officer reported seeing him in Wilkes Barre. A bartender in Wilkes-Barre even offered to corroborate the original witness’ story.

From a list provided by Gricar case researcher JJ in Phila,
it appears that more than 9 witnesses claim to have seen the missing person in and around the Centre and Union counties area—-making it difficult to argue that all of these people were either mistaken, confused, or deceitful.

I’ll continue my thoughts on this scenario soon, and here are the links to the previous entries Part I , Part II, Part III, Part IV, . Part V, and Part VI.


copswife said...

I haven't read all of your posts in this series so I can't really comment intelligently. I would say that a pet lover would make sure that their animals care well cared for if they were going to disappear voluntarily. However, if they weren't planning to disappear, just be gone for a few hours, like he said, they'd do the same thing. So it could go either way.

Slamdunk said...

I appreciate the feedback CW.

I agree that the dog aspect could be argued to bolster several theories. My argument is using a totality of circumstances standard to back a voluntary disappearance scenario--that the dog and the car were to be taken care of as well as he had a lesser number of family connections versus a married man with little kids.

J. J. in Phila said...

Something else on the witnesses. From what has been reported, 3-4 witnesses saw Mr. Gricar at some point after noon in or by his car (a red Mini Cooper) on 4/15/05. One witness saw him at about 5:00 PM heading into Lewisburg. If the reporting is correct, at least two saw him driving the Mini in the parking lot between 5:30 PM and 6:30 PM.

You can argue that some could have seen a middle aged man, but not Mr. Gricar, even if dressed the same. It becomes harder to claim that it was someone dressed like Mr. Gricar, resembling Mr. Gricar and driving a red Mini.

Also, the second witness in Wilkes-Barre was an off duty police officer, from southeast PA, that was visiting for a family activity. (That has been reported.)

Slamdunk said...

Good addition--thanks JJ.

Anonymous said...

Here's something to consider: Gricar said he put the Mini-Cooper in his girlfriend's name to protect from potential litigation? However, as a District Attorney, Gricar had immunity. (See the case of Derek Walker V. Clearfield County District Attorney William A Shaw Jr.)

Why would he need to put the car in the girlfriend's name if he had immunity?

Just doesn't seem right to me.

Slamdunk said...

I appreciate your comment anonymous. Your point is correct--that the DA's county insurance would have been adequate to protect Mr. Gricar and that there is not an apparent reason for him to register the auto in his girlfriend's name.

Centre Daily Times blogger on the Gricar case "JJ" did an entire post on this observation, and is unsure of the reasoning as well.