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The Search for Ray Gricar
Centre DailyTimes ^ | April 17, 2005 | From CDT staff and wire reports

Posted on 04/17/2005 7:54:18 PM PDT by Palladin

Search for Ray Gricar

UPDATE

Police search for clues to Gricar's whereabouts

From CDT staff and wire reports

BELLEFONTE — Authorities investigating the disappearance of Centre County’s top prosecutor sought new leads in the case today after police said a search of the missing man’s car failed to yield signs of foul play or clues into his whereabouts.

District Attorney Ray Gricar’s red and white Mini Cooper was spotted Saturday in a parking lot across the street from an antiques market in the quaint borough of Lewisburg, about 45 miles east of Gricar’s home in Bellefonte.

The car was brought to state police barracks in Milton today. But after traveling to Milton to meet with state police, Bellefonte Police Chief Duane Dixon said that there were no signs that someone may have broken into the car and that no blood was found inside the vehicle.

“The car looks to be in fine shape,” Dixon said. “At this point, we’ve followed up on every lead we have.”

The car was then turned over to Gricar’s longtime girlfriend, Patty Fornicola, a clerk in the district attorney’s office who filed the missing-person report Friday night. Police said he was last heard from at 11:30 a.m. Friday when he called Fornicola to tell her he was going for a drive on a road that led to Lewisburg. Gricar had taken the day off.

The Street of Shops antiques market sits near a small wooded area that backs up to the Susquehanna River. An abandoned, rusted railroad bridge sits nearby, along with a newer bridge that carries cars across the river. A park with some picnic tables lies on the shore in between the bridges.

State police searched the river in the area for an hour by helicopter but found nothing, Dixon said. He added that interviews with workers at the Street of Shops market also yielded no clues.

Workers there didn’t report seeing anything unusual either Friday or Saturday. “It was business as usual,” said the market’s manager, Susan Sawyer.

The market sits on a street used by drivers to skirt around the center of Lewisburg, the home of Bucknell University.

Employees at the market and nearby residents said the neighborhood is safe.

“If I don’t lock my car, I don’t feel unsafe out here,” said Adriane Berdell, a cashier.

Police had initially said they thought the market had a surveillance camera that might have captured images of the missing prosecutor, but Dixon said that was not the case.

“We’re still hoping that it may come to a positive conclusion because there doesn’t appear to be signs of foul play,” Dixon said.

No recent threats had been made against Gricar, and none of his cases appeared likely to be involved, officials have said. They also said they did not know if Gricar had any medical issues, although he had been working hard lately.

Gricar had been planning to retire in December at age 60, after two decades and five terms as the county’s district attorney.

Anyone with information about Gricar may call Bellefonte police at (814) 353-2320 or the Centre Daily Times at (814) 231-4624. For continuing updates, visit www.centredaily.com and read Monday's Centre Daily Times.


TOPICS: Front Page News; News/Current Events; US: Pennsylvania
KEYWORDS: centrecounty; districtattorney; pennsylvania; raygricar
Ray Gricar, DA from Centre County, PA., has been missing since Friday. His car was found near an antique shop in Lewisburg.
1 posted on 04/17/2005 7:54:20 PM PDT by Palladin
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To: Palladin
Couple of pics and a local's musings here.
2 posted on 04/17/2005 7:59:21 PM PDT by tomkat
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To: Palladin
Ray Gricar:


3 posted on 04/17/2005 7:59:58 PM PDT by Palladin (Proud to be a FReeper!)
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To: tomkat

Sorry about posting a duplicate. I searched on "Ray Gricar" and came up empty.

I've been to that Antique Mall a few times. The wife wanted to go down on Friday, but I had yard work to do. We may have run into Mr. Gricar and his abductor (if that is what happened).

Alternatively, Mr. Gricar, approaching his 60th birthday, and wanting a break from the mistress of twenty years, may be off on a jaunt with a new friend.

That would be less scary than what happened to Jonathan Luna.


4 posted on 04/17/2005 8:08:25 PM PDT by Palladin (Proud to be a FReeper!)
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To: Palladin

Hopefully they can find out more from Patty Fornicola.


5 posted on 04/17/2005 8:10:52 PM PDT by xJones
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To: xJones

Perhaps.

This is a strange conicidence:

Posted on Sun, Apr. 17, 2005
Police: Man accused in domestic case commits suicide
By Adam Smeltz

BOGGS TOWNSHIP -- A Howard man accused of attempted murder last year was found dead this morning, the victim of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, state police at Rockview said.

Billy Joe Leathers, 34, pleaded guilty in January to reckless endangerment, a charge stemming from a domestic-violence incident in September. He was not convicted of attempted murder, a charge filed in connection with the same incident.

Leathers served 17 days in jail and was ordered to pay a $250 fine.

He was found dead in his car at 1:23 a.m. today along South Eagle Valley Road, police said.

An investigation is continuing, but police said there's no indication that the suicide is connected to the disappearance of District Attorney Ray Gricar. Gricar, last seen Friday, remained missing this afternoon


6 posted on 04/17/2005 8:13:22 PM PDT by Palladin (Proud to be a FReeper!)
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To: Palladin

Gricar recently busted a big drug ring in Centre County:

http://www.collegian.psu.edu/archive/2005/04/04-01-05tdc/04-01-05dnews-07.asp

"The court has the ability to stack up multiple [drug] deliveries and sentence Lee to a longer term," he said.

Lee was charged with nine counts of possession with intent to deliver, one count of conspiracy, one count of money laundering, four counts of criminal use of a communication facility and one count of drug delivery resulting in death, according to court documents.

According to a police press release, Ebeling is charged with six counts of possession with intent to deliver, one count of conspiracy, money laundering and criminal use of a communications facility. Foss is charged with two counts of possession with intent to deliver, one count of conspiracy and criminal use of a communication facility. Sopp is charged with one count of drug delivery, conspiracy and criminal use of a communications facility. Oswald is charged with two counts of possession with intent to deliver and one count of conspiracy. Shope is charged with one count of possession with intent to deliver and conspiracy. McGlaughlin is charged with two counts of possession with intent to deliver and one count of conspiracy.

Fosse, Shope and McGlaughlin were committed to Centre County Prison in lieu of $100,000 bail each. Oswald, Sopp and Ebeling were released on $100,000 bail each.

Centre County District Attorney Ray Gricar said heroin and cocaine are problems that have been increasing throughout Pennsylvania.

"This was investigated by a statewide grand jury and as a result, drug charges being filed," he said. "It's a significant victory for combined law enforcement to deal with the drug problem."

Gricar said the Centre County Drug Task Force provided the initial information and as the investigation progressed, the Attorney General's Office began to investigate.

The investigation began in late 2004, after the grand jury received reports of Lee distributing heroin and cocaine in Centre County, according to court documents.

Preliminary hearings are scheduled for Wednesday.


7 posted on 04/17/2005 8:19:32 PM PDT by Palladin (Proud to be a FReeper!)
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To: Palladin
Hey, dupes happen.
Ain't no thang or the mods'd yank 'em

As you said, maybe it's just boy/girl related and the guy'll yet turn up.
On the other hand, for someone w/an adventurous inclination, that old RR bridge behind the shops could prove tempting.

The old crack about the Susquehanna bein' only 'a mile wide and a foot deep' might bear some semblance to truth in the middle of the summer, but this time of year it's no babbling brook.

8 posted on 04/17/2005 8:27:46 PM PDT by tomkat
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.. you can see part of the bridge on the far right (the river, of course, being right underneath it):


9 posted on 04/17/2005 8:34:51 PM PDT by tomkat
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To: tomkat

Good photo of the area where his car was found.

You are right--this is no time to go wading in the Susquehanna. A couple of weeks ago, it was raging out of its banks. It's a little calmer now, with the 2 week drought.

Lewisburg is a low-crime town. Very quiet, except for the occasional Bucknell beer riot.

Since Ray told the girlfriend where his destination was, I don't think he tried to pull a disappearing act. It would be very out of character for him.

He was not carjacked; no signs of foul play in the auto.

Amnesia? Sometimes it happens.

Maybe some FReeper reading this will spot Ray Gricar somewhere in the PA-NY-NJ area.


10 posted on 04/18/2005 12:32:13 PM PDT by Palladin (Proud to be a FReeper!)
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To: Palladin

This is Bill Keisling, author of The Midnight Ride of Jonathan Luna, and a subject of some of your posts. Keep up the good work, guys!

I've posted the following story on missing DA Ray Gricar at yardbird.com:

Another drug prosecutor vanishes on a Pennsylvania car ride

Missing DA Gricar had days earlier announced arrests in
'largest heroin operation... ever seen in Centre County'

     Only days before his disappearance, Centre County District Attorney Ray Gricar had announced the prosecution of what the State Attorney General's Office called the "largest heroin operation that we have ever seen in Centre County."
      Gricar, 59, of Bellefonte was reported missing on Saturday, April 16, 2005, after he failed to return from a drive. His car was later found abandoned on a dirt parking lot outside of Lewisburg, PA, in Union County. Police and fellow prosecutors initially said they knew of no motive for foul play.
      Gricar's strange disappearance is the latest in a long series of peculiar endings for prosecutors and prosecutor office employees in Pennsylvania. Over the years, Pennsylvania law enforcement has had an equally bizarre history of attempting to classify these events as suicides, even as controversies involving organized crime swirled around the offices of the deceased.
     Three other curious cases where suicide theories were floated come to mind: Jonathan Luna, of course, in 2003; Allegheny County DA Robert Duggan in 1974; state attorney general aide Gaylor Dissinger in 1983. Both Duggan and Dissinger were found shot to death under mysterious circumstances, even as controversies involving organized crime swirled around the offices of the deceased."

Read the full story, and view an aerial photo, at :

http://www.yardbird.com/midnight_ride_another_missing_PA_prosecutor.htm

or visit:

http://www.yardbird.com/luna.htm

bk


11 posted on 04/18/2005 2:48:18 PM PDT by yardbird.com (yardbird.com story on missing DA Gricar and Jonathan Luna)
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To: yardbird.com

Welcome to FR


12 posted on 04/18/2005 6:00:06 PM PDT by tomkat
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To: yardbird.com

First time blogger: Mr. Keisling, I bought your luna book.
What is going on in pa? South American Justice system/corruption is it? I'll bet they don't find the body until June, when the river gives up its dead. Did the same drug guys do Luna and this Gricar? I read the article in the story on your Yardbird site and had to look up the story for myself. Free Press is what keeps America Free.


13 posted on 04/18/2005 6:08:49 PM PDT by thirdquarter
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To: yardbird.com

Interesting article about Dissinger. I lived in that neighborhood when this happened. There were several suicides in Camp Hill that year. In fact, in the eighties, Cumberland County had the highest suicide rate in the state.

It is not unusual for someone who has made up his mind to commit suicide to get a burst of energy just before the act, and to do the things Dissinger did: go jogging; attend to the yard work, etc. Putting things in order.

One factor in his suicide, as well as those of other prominent people in that affluent neighborhood, may have been the abysmal mental health care given at the local hospital at that time. More than one patient recently released from the mental health unit there committed suicide right after getting out.

Now as to Ray Gricar: given his family history, he may have been brooding over his brother's death and may have decided to take the same way out. This happens in families that are prone to suicide.

However, I hope that is not the case, and that Ray will be found alive and well.


14 posted on 04/18/2005 7:28:30 PM PDT by Palladin (Proud to be a FReeper!)
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To: Palladin; All

Gricar is still missing. His family made a TV appearance imploring him to return home. They sound as if they believe he has just taken some unscheduled time off.

PA State Police searched the river for an hour. They found nothing. However, the West Branch of the Susquehanna is full of submerged rocks, trees, and debris, and takes weeks or months to yield up its dead.

I hope Gricar is still alive.


15 posted on 04/19/2005 11:59:25 AM PDT by Palladin (Proud to be a FReeper!)
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To: Palladin

To All: I too hope Mr. Gricar is on a vacation and that he returns safely. My posting was a bit sarcastic and I apologize to everyone. I am a Christian and a second look shows crass. Thank you


16 posted on 04/19/2005 1:23:26 PM PDT by thirdquarter
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To: Palladin

Or Bucknell students shooting other ones in the ass with their BB guns.


17 posted on 04/20/2005 9:43:11 AM PDT by Josh in PA
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To: Josh in PA

BB guns, eh?

At Lyco College and Penn Tech it's just super-soaker water guns.


18 posted on 04/20/2005 10:49:51 AM PDT by Palladin (Proud to be a FReeper!)
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To: Palladin

I'll say this, the Penn Tech kids are very polite when crossing the street.

Unlike somewhere like Pittsburgh where they are begging to be flattened.


19 posted on 04/20/2005 11:05:07 AM PDT by Josh in PA
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To: Josh in PA

Yes, very nice kids here at our two colleges in the 'Port.

I would recommend either school to young people who are serious about a higher education.


20 posted on 04/20/2005 11:08:40 AM PDT by Palladin (Proud to be a FReeper!)
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To: Palladin

Where you work at Palladin?

I'm stick in here at Liberty Mutual out in Loyalsock, until we close down next year.


21 posted on 04/20/2005 12:13:22 PM PDT by Josh in PA
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To: Josh in PA

Wow, that's a few hundred yards from where I grew up. I remember when they built that building. I remember skateboarding up there and riding our bikes all over there on the way home from Four Mile.

Wasn't there some thought of the school district buying that building and making it the new HS? I guess that didn't happen as last time I was home, I noticed some MAJOR construction projects ongoing at the current HS.

Small world.

I hope this guy turns up, but it sounds like a suicide. The only thing that doesn't make sense is the location of his laptop. Who takes their laptop into the river with them?


22 posted on 04/24/2005 8:49:51 AM PDT by FlJoePa (Success without honor is an unseasoned dish; it will satisfy your hunger, but it won't taste good.)
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