This continues my discussion of the Ray Gricar missing person case. My previous post on the case is here. Below are the comments of three readers who responded to my questions concerning the disappearance of Mr. Gricar. My response is also included. Thanks to all who participated.
Note: JJ in Phila's blog on the case can be found here.
Question (1) Based on the evidence, what percentage (total of 100%) would you assign to the three explanations for Mr. Gricar's disappearance (suicide, crime victim, voluntarily missing)?
--FD: My brain tells me there’s not enough public information to point toward any particular theory. But my gut-guess is 98% targeted crime victim, 1% suicide, 1% voluntarily disappearance, 0% random crime victim, accidental drowning, wandering off in a sudden fugue state, witness relocation program, alien abduction, etc.
--JJ in Phila: Voluntary departure: 48% Murder: 43% Suicide 8% Something else: 1%
--TC: 60% Suicide, 35% Voluntary, 5% Crime or Other.
--Me: Crime Victim 46%, Voluntary Disappearance 44%, Suicide or Other 10%.
Question (2) What do you consider to be the most critical piece of evidence in the case?
--FD: Since police are naturally reluctant to release information which might hinder a future prosecution, I believe the most critical evidence in this case is that which we haven’t heard about. It’s everything that has been made public which drives my gut-guess. In that, nothing stands out as being “critical”. Everything gets factored in.
--JJ in Phila: For me, it has not been checked and publicly disclosed. It would be a though investigation of the methods Mr. Gricar could have used to leave Lewisburg. That is the key.
--TC: Since the computer is apparently worthless, his actions prior to when he went missing and information that friends may have are the key right now. I still want to know: why did the state police investigator believe that he committed suicide?
--Me: The computer is the most crucial piece of information known to the public. I believe its location hints to the disappearance being crime related. If one believes that it was hastily tossed out the passenger window of a vehicle driving into Lewisburg from the east, then it seems like more than one subject was involved in tossing evidence from a car. If one believes the computer was placed in the river after police completed their search, then it seems to me again, subjects were trying to hide evidence of a crime.
Question(3) Do you believe that Gricar's laptop was tossed into the River when he disappeared or some time well after?
--FD: I don’t believe the laptop (or the hard drive) was put in the river at the time Gricar disappeared. That belief factors into my gut-guess.
--JJ in Phila: I honestly don't know.
--TC: Do you know how crazy that is on multiple levels?
--Me: I didn’t believe this was possible, but after listening to some of the arguments made by others and knowing how shallow that river is, it is difficult to believe that the nine or so police divers missed the laptop; even though the first time they were looking for a body more than an item.
FD sent some interesting information on the recovery locations of the laptop and the hard drive in proximity to the bridge, and maybe he’ll allow me to post it later.
Question (4) If you believe that the laptop was thrown into the river some time well after searches by police, explain your reasoning to support why a subject would do this.
--FD: I think the laptop was planted in the river later to confound police. This is reinforced by the locations where the laptop and hard drive were supposedly found and by the failure of police to find either.
--JJ in Phila and TC: N/A
--Me: I am just starting to think that this is possible and have no idea how to explain it—other than to taunt someone or as FD stated to confuse authorities. I believe if the evidence was planted later, then it certainly reduces the chance that this disappearance was suicide or voluntary.
Question (5) If you were advising the police regarding the case, list two or three things that they should be doing to investigate the disappearance.
--FD: If I was addressing the district attorney I would advise him to request the state attorney general to independently investigate. If I was addressing local police I would advise them to look closely at all aspects of the cases Gricar was personally handling in 2005 (from pending trials to concluded appeals). This should include interviews (and, if possible, polygraphs) of anyone with a known association on either side (prosecution and defense).I expect to post at least one more item on the Gricar disappearance. I can certainly add to that if additional information becomes available.
I would also advise them to look closely at Gricar’s closest personal relationships since the time of his last divorce.
--JJ in Phila:
A. Look at all car purchases in a 10 mile radius of Lewisburg on 4/14-4/15/05. Match them with real people.
B. Determine the whereabouts of Mr. Gricar’s close friends, staff members, and current and former girlfriends on 4/15/05 and 4/16/05. Also look at any car purchases from these individuals in the thirty days prior to Mr. Gricar's disappearance and any car rentals each made in the from 4/14 through 4/16 by these individuals.
C. Do a forensic audit of Mr. Gricar's assets and spending from 1997 until 2005; review his divorce settlement in the early 2000's.
--TC: Interview as many coworkers and friends as possible as there has to be something that was missed. To continue ruling out voluntary disappearance, begin watching his bank accounts again. Enough time has passed to where many people have forgotten about the incident and if he did disappear, he may try to secretly obtain some of his possessions.
Finally, release more information on the case—there must be much more on the suicide angle with the police investigator’s comment supporting that theory.
--Me: First: the agency handling the case should turn it over to someone else. The investigator’s explanation as to why several of Mr. Gricar’s close friends and associates were not interviewed was because his chief did not want it done and that they thought it would only reinforce one of the existing theories (and not provide anything new) was disappointing.
In my opinion, that means that they are in reactionary mode and are simply waiting for something new to develop; unwillingly to invest any new manpower/resources in the case. Unfortunately, investigations such as this one can become a territorial issue, and those involved should swallow their pride and do what is best to get the matter resolved. I think a new set of eyes on the case to do more than make recommendations would be helpful.
Second: all friends and associates should be interviewed. If the case can be explained as a crime or voluntary disappearance, I believe that clues exist that would help investigators solve the case. I find it hard to believe that the only information about the incident was apparently on Gricar’s laptop.
Last: create a computerized catalog of everything about Mr. Gricar’s life in the twelve months prior to his disappearance. This would include known actions on the Internet, trips, cell phone records, snail mail, interviews with friends and associates, purchases and any other accounting records.
Once this information has been entered into a database, begin looking for trends and create scenarios based on the information known. Once scenarios have been developed, try to disprove each of them.