Guest Blogger: The Gricar Witness List, Part II

This is the second post of JJ from Phila's witness list from the Ray Gricar missing person case.

The first part is here.


Part II

Guest Blogger JJ from Phila’s Witness List*: Ray Gricar Missing Person

Brush Valley Area:

11:12 AM. Ms. Fornicola receives a brief call from Mr. Gricar; call carried by a cell tower in the Brush Valley area (in the Rebersburg Area).

Lewisburg: 4/15/05 (Prior to 4:00 PM)

Around noon:

Ms. Snyder, saw Mr. Gricar and the Mini across from the Packwood House Museum

Afternoon (possibly before 1:30 PM):

At least two other witnesses saw Mr. Gricar moving the car across from the Packwood House Museum.

Bellefonte: 4/15/05

3:00 PM:

Ms. Fenton sees Mr. Gricar in a metallic colored car behind the Centre County Courthouse. (Judge Grine is unsure of the day).

Lewisburg: 4/15/05 (After 4:00 PM)

4:00 PM-5:00 PM:

McKnight’s witness saw Mr. Gricar, driving the Mini, on Route 15 near the Country Cupboard.

Circa 5:30 PM:

At least two witnesses saw Mr. Gricar moving the Mini in the parking lot across from the Street of Shops. The Mini was seen parked there later.

Two people, Mr. Alvey and another person saw Mr. Gricar in the Street of Shops at about the same time; one saw him with the “Mystery Woman.”

Lewisburg: 4/16/05

11:00 AM to Noon:

Two employees, Mr. Bennett see Mr. Gricar in Street of Shops.

6:30 PM:

State Police Trooper spots the Mini Cooper in the parking lot across from the Street of Shops.

Wilkes-Barre: 4/18/05


An off duty police officer and bartender spot Mr. Gricar in an establishment (possibly a Bennigan’s) on or near Highland Avenue in Wilkes-Barre.


Thanks again to JJ for discussing this valuable information.

Part I can be read here.

*Note: This list should be considered a work in progress with both more witnesses and more details about what they saw quite possibly being unreported.


Ann T. said...

Dear Slamdunk and JJ,
My comment from last night must have been lost! Sorry about that.

I am amazed that no one has done this before--and how suited it is to the internet! To get more public perception and 'tips' or inside a network for the law enforcement officers to use strategically.

Really great work. Also, (just speculating) anybody checked this guy out for embezzlement or mob connections or a hmmm, interesting love connection?

I love this stuff. Thanks for the glimpse into a world I never previously encountered,

Ann T.

JennyMac said...

Such interesting insight into this case. I had not heard of this disappearance. Great work and it is such a great strategy to sharing information.

Slamdunk said...

@ Ann: The rumors in the Gricar disappearance as to what connections may have been are rampant (as one would expect), but I am not aware of any established criminal or mob reasons for him vanishing.

Since he was living with a girl-friend, was divorced a couple of times, has an adult daughter living out-of-state, and was approaching retirement, the love-interest is an angle that has been routinely discussed in the case.

Due to the election of a new DA in the county, there is great hope among followers of the case that more will be done in cooperation with other agencies and the public to solve this case. Time will tell though.

@JennyMac: Thanks for the kind words.

Anonymous said...

Ann T. & Slamdunk, there's a good reason why no one's offered a time line of Gricar sightings --- none of the sightings has been confirmed as having been Gricar. In nearly 5 years, neither police or anyone else familiar with the investigation (including local investigative reporters) have ever said otherwise.

If police could definitely put Gricar in the town where his car was found, let alone another town, they would've done so. Same with local reporters who had also established an online question & answer forum as well as a blog discussion. All have consistently skirted the issue of confirmed sightings.

JJ's list is little more than a selective compilation of supposed sightings taken from news and quasi-news sources. It leaves out other reported sightings and includes some sightings twice (on different days).

I too wish that police would release more information. But JJ's list, while it may be good reading for a nondiscerning public, does nothing to separate relevant facts from fiction in the disappearance of the district attorney.

Ann T. said...

Dear Anonymous,
As one of the non-discerning public, I appreciate your comments. I also appreciate Slamdunk creating a forum for the non-discerning to learn more about an important type of investigation undertaken by law enforcement.

I think I did make a distinction between public sightings and a networked list for law enforcement. I imagine a list like this, just as any tip hotline, would be wide in scope and somewhat of a headache to sort out for accuracy.

Nevertheless, wide canvassing does seem to be employed, from checking passersby and neighbors for street witnesses, to tip lines, rewards offered. Why not the internet? If the search doesn't deepen, doesn't it widen?

Anyway, it is always good to have discussion.

Slamdunk and JJ, thanks for a very provocative conversation! Maybe you will get some anonymous tips out of this for more sightings.

Ann T.

Anonymous said...

The following quote comes from the missing person flyer maintained (since 2007) by the police department in charge of the investigation:
"There have been “sightings" of Ray over the past two years (unconfirmed)."

The following quote comes from the family web site (last updated 3/22/07):
“Ray . . . was last seen Friday, April 15, 2005, in Bellefonte, PA and possibly in Lewisburg, PA.”

Blogs are useful tools to pique public interest and I agree with Ann T. that it's always good to have discussion. But as JJ said in his blog, "As to the 'free exchange of ideas,' this is a blog, not a message board."

That's certainly true of some blogs, like JJ's. Thankfully, I don't see the same attitude here. But if the public is interested in reviewing or participating in a free-ranging discussion on every aspect of the investigation, I suggest seeking out the message boards that are dedicated to Gricar.

J. J. said...

Anonymous, these are not "selective" but reported. The blog, where possible, links to the story where it appeared.

One notable exception is McKnight's witness. Mr. McKnight and I have a mutual friend, who contacted him and got me the information. They both know that I was planning to publish a witness list and approved.

Also, if you wish to discuss the case, go to a message board.

If you want to get accurate information on the case, you can take a look at the blog, and click the links.

Unfortunately, many times, the message boards are accurate reflections of the posters opinions, but not of the information.

Had Slam asked me to give my opinion about what happened to Mr. Gricar, that would have been another blog. No Slam, I'm not suggesting another one. :)

J. J. in Phila said...

Ann, after Mr. Gricar disappeared, they did audit the office accounts. No irregularities were found.

I've never heard of any mob connection, and Central PA isn't exactly a hot bed of that kind of activity.

A number of people, at various points, have suggested that Mr. Gricar might have met a lover. Many of these people are closer friends who knew Mr. Gricar socially.

I think that is a real possibility.

While there have been rumors involving sexual preference, most of his closer friends have suggested was straight. I've seen no direct or indirect evidence that would suggest it.

Anonymous said...

When last he left it, Gricar's family spokesperson (ala police?) was not convinced that Ray had made the cell phone call, enroute on a highway that led to where his car was found.

When last he left it, Gricar's family spokesperson (ala police?) was troubled by earlier indications that Ray Gricar may have been the last person driving his car.

When last he left it, Gricar's family spokesperson rebuffed the (supposedly unintended, and later retreated from) insinuation by law enforcement that Ray Gricar had intentionally disappeared himself.

But that is, in fact, JJ's most likely theory as to what happened to Ray Gricar. And maybe he's right. But maybe he's wrong. I think he's wrong.

J. J. in Phila said...

Anonymous II?, the Bellefonte Police flyer, just quoted (and linked in my blog) stated that he made the phone call. Likewise, the Gricar family spokesman, Tony Gricar, has never stated any about the call (which did have an electronic record). He has, in fact, repeatedly praised the polygraphy of the Secret Service.

I also know of no suggestion from law enforcement that Mr. Gricar walked away. They have listed several possibilities foul play/walkaway/and suicide since early in the case.

As to Mr. Gricar driving the car last, I made no claim of that here. I have said that he was seen driving the Mini Cooper in Lewisburg circa 5:30 PM on 4/15/05, along with earlier in the day. I will readily concede someone else could have driven it after that point.

BTW: You post is a good example of why looking at message boards for accurate information might not be a good idea.

Anonymous said...

Shreck thought he had a thought, and Madeira's campaign listened. Big mistake. BIG mistake!

The truth will make itself known, sooner or later.

Anonymous said...

BTW, JJ: Your posts (here and elsewhere) are a perfect example of why looking at message boards is the only way of understanding the shortcomings of the misinformed.

I appreciate your effort. But the answer to Ray Gricar's disappearance isn't likely to be found in a crackerjack blog.

J. J. in Phila said...

I think the only "misinformation" that we've seen it the poster who put words into the family spokesman's mouth that he never uttered.

I'm wondering if there is a reason for doing that. Perhaps the see an outcome they don't like.

My blog, that is primarily limited to the Gricar case, cites the sources. And we see here someone who declines to. Slam didn't ask for those, but if you are interested, I encourage you to read the citations.

Ann T. said...

Dear Slamdunk and JJ,
Wow, I had no idea there would be continued contention and I'm sorry I wasn't in on every step!

I respect a blog, especially one that links to quality references or evaluates the limits of the references they can obtain. I tend to judge a blog also by its tone. A message board has always seemed to me unreliable, however it's possible I haven't seen one using best practices.

I also respect the use of a name over 'anonymous'. The name might not be real due to security considerations, but at least it is consistent across the Web and conveys personality and motivation.

I don't mean to belittle anyone, however, because that's my way of reading, not a law for everyone.

JJ, thanks for answering my question. I appreciate your interest in this case and think it leads to a better world. Also I think the ability to weather disputes adds to the evaluation process and I respect you for backing up your work with outside refs but also inner resolve.

This case now has my interest more than ever.

Ann T.

J. J. in Phila said...

Ann, please feel free to visit my blog. On topic messages are welcome and a more detailed description of the the Lewisburg witnesses, each day, the Fenton sighting, and the Wilkes-Barrie witnesses, are there.

If you hit the Index of Indexes tab on the left and then, on the page, go to the Investigation, you will find them, along with more information.

I do not have the answer, unfortunately.

You can do something else that I do daily. Read Slam Dunks. :)

Ann T. said...

Now J.J.,
You already know I come to Slamdunks daily to get a good dose of decency and kindness every day--not to mention--the intellectual forays and the missing persons cases!

Thanks, Slamdunk!
J.J., I'll be stopping by.
Ann T.

Anonymous said...

Reading the family spokesperson's words on a message board leads to more accuracy than reading a blogger.

J. J. in Phila said...

Anonymous, I have, and I've asked others if they ever heard of the comments you attributed to the family spokesman. So far, no one has.

I don't question his comments, but I do question yours.

FD said...

I think we all know that law enforcement is receptive to any information which might be relevant in a case. And I know that you, as a former police officer who had to deal with missing person reports, have said you approached such cases from the foul play perspective so that the record was complete.

I have this simple question for you. How likely is it that police would publically share specific information pointing to a crime in an otherwise straightup missing person investigation?

I ask this question in the context of knowing both what has been publically released in the Gricar investigation and what several persons in a position to know have privately told me.

J. J. in Phila said...

FD, in another missing persons case, Danielle Imbo and Richard Petrone, Jr., the FBI have said they believe it was murder. They have specifically said "murder-for-hire," publicly, in the press:

So I would say the odds are good. While it was never as "high profile" as the Gricar case, they have released some information.

FD said...

Thanks J.J. but I was looking for an authoritative answer which is why I was asking Slamdunk on his blog.

Beside that the cases you mentioned weren't straightup missing persons cases after the FBI announced it was murder.

Slamdunk said...

Thanks for your question FD. I am playing catch-up on some other things--I'll give some thought to it and post a response soon.

Slamdunk said...

Thanks for your patience FD.

My answer is based on nothing more than anecdotal information as the diversity of type, size, and environment of US law enforcement agencies varies widely.

I believe how likely is it that police would "publically share specific information pointing to a crime in an otherwise straightup missing person investigation" depends on at least two factors:

1) Is the information or evidence strong, and can it be corroborated (if applicable)?

For instance, say that police found a scene where they believe Mr. Gricar was that also contained blood spatter. It is unlikely that they would withhold it from the public.

In contrast, if the evidence was less convincing, but still seemed to indicate a crime, law enforcement certainly could keep that information from being disclosed.

Also, if they have not been able to corroborate something that may be evidence or information of a crime--they would likely not release that.

2) How does the "environment" (for lack of a better word) impact whether certain information indicating a crime is released or not?

Two components are the missing person’s characteristics and agency pressure.

Although police would never admit that missing person's cases are handled any differently: they are. If Joe Citizen, a homeless man with no vocal family, goes missing his case will not receive the attention or resources that an attractive or "powerful" person in society would be allocated.

This theory called Black's Law applies to crimes and missing persons cases as it did when he developed the idea 30+ years ago.

When a "powerful" person goes missing, the investigating agency will certainly be persuaded, sometimes later rather than sooner, by state and federal agencies regarding what actions to take and not take. It is still the investigating agency's case, but the influence is there.

The smaller the investigating agency the more pressure there is.

In sum, could an investigating agency be persuaded by other authorities regarding what information to release to the public regarding a missing person case being a crime? Certainly.

Wow, that was long. Let me know what you think.

FD said...

Thanks. Your response tells me that the answer is nowhere near as simple as my general question might imply. I must accept that.

With specific reference to the Gricar investigation then, do you (as a former law enforcement officer) see anything the least bit bizarre concerning the way it has been variously portrayed via official press releases and other official statements?

Slamdunk said...

@ FD: It has been awhile since I reviewed what was officially released by the investigating agency and what became public knowledge through other sources.
So, I doubt that I could provide a comprehensive answer on your question.

From my perspective, I think the statements made to the public reflected those of agencies that don't have to handle lots of homicides or missing persons cases. They were simply doing the best they could and likely learning quite a bit as it happened.

I would add, again in my opinion, that I was disappointed with statements by the former lead detective that he was not going to interview anyone else regarding the case without his chief's permission. He argued that the effort would be wasted in that it would only reinforce one of their working theories and not provide any new information.*

That is a response that should never be given by authorities and showed inexperience. It was like the agency had given up on the case and would not try to learn anything new.

*Note: I don't have the reference to this statment off the top of my head, but can provide the source article if you need it.

J. J. in Phila said...

I think the quote you are looking for is here:

"If my chief wants me to go and do that, I have no problem with doing that. It may be worthwhile, it may not be. But I really don't have an answer to that. It could be a lot of time to lead us nowhere. It could provide us a real lead.

"But it more likely would just lead us toward a theory."

It was basically the lead detective saying he will decline to investigate things unless he's ordered to by his chief.

Slamdunk said...

Yes, those are the comments that I was referring to--thanks for posting.