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  1. #1
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    PA - Ray Gricar, 59, Bellefonte, 15 April 2005 - #13

    This is the thread on Ray Gricar, the former district attorney of Centre County, PA. Please continue the discussion here.

    Previous threads:
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    Old Unclassified Thread [June to August, 2006]

    Note that, perhaps uniquely on the Internet, these threads begin from the first week after Ray Gricar disappeared.

    Thank you.
    Last edited by J. J. in Phila; 05-26-2014 at 11:46 AM. Reason: Added link


    What happened to former Centre County DA Ray Gricar?

  2. #2
    I did a wee bit of digging regarding the wetland area in Lewisburg. There has been some speculation on this thread that this area has never been searched and it should have been because of the closeness to where RG car was found. This is not in-depth information but is a good starting point for anyone else who wants to pursue the idea more thoroughly.

    The Montandon Wetlands in the Lewisburg Area
    Location: Rt 45, 0.3 miles east of Lewisburg Bridge and Route 405, Montandon, PA

    The Biology Department at Bucknell is involved in research and study of these wetlands.

    There is a study: Montandon Marsh: A vegetation Description of a Potentially Endangered Wetland (only 8 pages of this paper is on-line) found in the Journal of the Pennsylvania Academy of Science 70(1):2-29, 1996 that has information on the make-up the area and a sketch of the vegetation (see Figure 1) [Page 25 of study: Page 4 of pdf] in the area.
    Source: http://www.departments.bucknell.edu/...hman_et_al.pdf

    According to this portion of the study (done in 1991) [Page 25 of study: Page 4 of pdf.] Construction Engineering, Inc., of Millvile PA was the one who did surveys of the sampling area and elevations done at the time were to determine water levels. What shows on-line has some elevations on it but this is not my area of expertise so I am not going to attempt to interpret. [Page 28 of Study: Page 6 of pdf]

    Under Management and Mitigation [ Page 29 of Study: Page 7 of pdf.], it mentions that gravel mining near the wetlands is scheduled to begin with the next year or two and that a series of smaller ponds or a lake totaling approximately 30 –ha in surface area and up to 9 meters deep will be created by the mining.

    If this study was printed in 1996, than by 2005 there would have been ponds that were about 30 foot deep within the wetlands that could very well be a place for a body to be. (if all plans concerning mining stayed on schedule)

    There may be more recent studies that have been done, but I did not find anything else on-line.

    Over all, I think with direction from knowledgeable people, this area could be safely searched. The question is could remains actually be found after 9 years. Without a working knowledge of how quickly an environment such at this changes; rate of vegetation, build up of bog depth, water table changes, etc. that would hinder finding anything without needing to destroy the eco system to do so, is something that would need to be looked into.

    From looking at this website http://www.facstaff.bucknell.edu/brh010/
    There have been many different programs that have been run over the years by the Environmental Center at Bucknell, so it looks like there are probably a good number of former students and even area residents that would have rudimentary knowledge of the wetlands and some with extensive knowledge. The director of Susquehanna River Initiative at Bucknell University Environmental Center would be the person in my opinion to contact for information. He has been taking students and groups of interested residents on tours of the area for years.

    This site: http://conserveland.org/stories/montandonmarsh
    Has general information, and includes some limited information about property holdings within the wetlands by Central Builders Supply Company (gravel and sand pits) so there is the potential for easy access to dispose of a body or provide a place that one could self-hide his/her body, but without an actual map I can’t tell exactly what this company owns and what are the access points to the mining areas/the wetlands.
    It does appear that there is genuine interest by the owner in being a good steward to the environment so if there is private property issue for a search, they may be open to the idea.

    There has been some discussion, if this was a walk away, how would RG actually leave the Lewisburg area without a witness seeing him.

    Not sure if this would even been a viable way for RG to leave Lewisburg but thought I would include the 9.2 mile Buffalo Valley Rail Trail - West Branch (formally Lewisburg and Tyrone line) which is the old rail line that basically follows old Rt. 45 from Lewisburg to Mifflinburg. Today it is designated as an easy trail to walk. In 2005 that would not necessarily be the case. It was abandoned as a rail line in 1997 and apparently in 1999 after Hurricane Floyd is was deemed impassable as a rail line. This trail was not open to the public until 2011 but the rail bed was being looked at as a possible walking trail back in 2001. Mifflinburg Heritage and Revitalization Association and Union County and the Recreation Authority were the organizations that were initially involved in this plan, with Bucknell coming in later with some help with land easements.
    Source: http://www.bvrt.org/# and Lewisburg and Tyrone Railroad - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    I have also noticed there seems to be a few things showing up on-line about possible active rail lines still running through Lewisburg in 2005. Trying to find the end of the string to untangle anything to do with rail road’s can be a lesson in insanity. It seems, so far as I have been able to find, that Union County Industrial Railroad; part of North Shore system, was active in 2005 but I am not having much success in finding out exactly where those line went, time tables or stop locations at least on-line.
    There was also an active rail line in Lewiston; it appears that it ran between there, Selinsgrove and Maitland. Again, details are hard to come by.

    Someone who is into railroads in the area would have a much better idea as to what lines actually were working, and where the stops would have been at be able to determine if someone could access a one and where they could have gone. It would not matter if they were actual passenger lines, because if someone could get into a box car right in Lewisburg (and not be discovered) they could be hundreds of miles away in a very short time without ever being seen and with no paper trail or witnesses.
    The following post is strictly just my opinion based on my interpretation of what has been written in Main Street Media, Private Newspapers and other posts to this site. Unless I have provided a link ---- any information should not be considered to be anything more than that.
    ---------------------------------------
    I’m still here because the shadow in my mind gave me a place to hide until it was safe to come out.

  3. #3
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    Nice find on the wetlands.

    I looked at the trains once, a while back. No passenger service and I don't think there was any regular freight traffic in the time frame. Also, I don't think there are any stops in that area, so RFG would be hopping a moving freight.

    Freight trains are problematic as a way out; there is a rail line across the river that I think is active. Unless RFG knew when there was one coming, and it has the type of cars that he can board, i.e. box car vs. hopper car, it isn't a particularly good way out. Hitchhiking is probably a better alternative.


    What happened to former Centre County DA Ray Gricar?

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    Railroads

    There is this freight line in Lewisburg: http://www.nshr.com/UCIR%20page.html
    The problem, for our purposes is that it is only 24 miles long. He could get to Allenwood, but not beyond that.


    Norfolk Southern owns the track on the far side of the river and I think it is active. ftp://ftp.dot.state.pa.us/public/pdf...ide/parail.pdf


    What happened to former Centre County DA Ray Gricar?

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    North of the village of Montandon, along the railroad tracks, there is a tract of woodlands about a mile long. That would also be a good location to check.

    There are also some smaller areas with woodlots in Montandon and along Route 45.


    What happened to former Centre County DA Ray Gricar?

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    Quote Originally Posted by J. J. in Phila View Post
    North of the village of Montandon, along the railroad tracks, there is a tract of woodlands about a mile long. That would also be a good location to check.

    There are also some smaller areas with woodlots in Montandon and along Route 45.
    Nine years later and I'm still flabbergasted that these areas were never searched. If LE isn't going to spend any more resources, then bring in Texas EquuSearch and let them have at it. IMO, MMO, JMO, etc.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by JaimeSommers View Post
    Nine years later and I'm still flabbergasted that these areas were never searched. If LE isn't going to spend any more resources, then bring in Texas EquuSearch and let them have at it. IMO, MMO, JMO, etc.
    We don't have an an account of an actual search. They may have and are just not releasing it.

    When TrackerGD stops in, we can ask him about if a cadaver dog can search the area, cost and length of time needed.


    What happened to former Centre County DA Ray Gricar?

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    Quote Originally Posted by J. J. in Phila View Post
    We don't have an an account of an actual search. They may have and are just not releasing it.

    When TrackerGD stops in, we can ask him about if a cadaver dog can search the area, cost and length of time needed.
    I guess I don't understand why they wouldn't have said the areas were searched. I absolutely understand that they're not in any way obligated to share anything. These areas seem innocuous enough, though, that I don't understand how it would hurt to say, "After an exhaustive search of the river, wetlands, and woodlands in and around Lewisburg, we are confident that Mr. Gricar isn't here." They seemed pretty chatty about the river search.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by JaimeSommers View Post
    I guess I don't understand why they wouldn't have said the areas were searched. I absolutely understand that they're not in any way obligated to share anything. These areas seem innocuous enough, though, that I don't understand how it would hurt to say, "After an exhaustive search of the river, wetlands, and woodlands in and around Lewisburg, we are confident that Mr. Gricar isn't here." They seemed pretty chatty about the river search.
    We know know that at least two people saw RFG with the Mystery Woman on 4/15/05. That was not officially released in PA until May of 2006, and then it was only one witness.

    We know that someone saw RFG turning on 192 on 4/15. They still have not officially released the time. Zaccagni mentioned in an interview 3-4 other witnesses that saw RFG on 4/16 moving the Mini; Buehner that one of those witnesses also saw RFG with the Mystery Woman on 4/16 in his letter. Where they just misstatements or are there a string of witnesses that saw RFG on 4/16? LE has never said.

    Yet, we get things like:

    "Homicide is the least likely" - SPM

    He probably walked away - MTM

    Suicide - DZ, Dixon

    “Throw in hard-drive searches and it doesn’t kill the [foul play] theories, but it makes them virtually impossible.” MR


    What happened to former Centre County DA Ray Gricar?

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    We've been over the mental health issue many times. Of course it can be genetic but having said that does not make it an absolute that he killed himself. Mental health is my profession. Its also hard to hide your body after you are dead. It looks like LE jumped to conclusions immediately and assumed he walked away. I take it with a grain of salt all these so called sightings of RFG. There many many "sightings" reported of the McStays who we now know were dead. LE believed they had left voluntarily. What a mess that case is because of their poor investigation. The reports of RFG seen with a mystery woman......if he walked away and this woman was known to him, then obviously we don't know who he may have talked to or confided in about anything. Especially since there apparently was not any evidence of that on his office computer. Maybe there was evidence on the discarded computer. There is very little actual evidence we Do know other than his laptop was found, his car found and he is gone. Pretty much the rest is opinion. My mind is open to possibilities. JMO.


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    Quote Originally Posted by MissJ View Post
    We've been over the mental health issue many times. Of course it can be genetic but having said that does not make it an absolute that he killed himself. Mental health is my profession. Its also hard to hide your body after you are dead. It looks like LE jumped to conclusions immediately and assumed he walked away. I take it with a grain of salt all these so called sightings of RFG. There many many "sightings" reported of the McStays who we now know were dead. LE believed they had left voluntarily.
    BBM

    Obviously, because the search concentrated on the Susquehanna, and the route, they were not looking for a live individual. Even both the chief at the time, Dixon, and the lead investigator, Zaccagni think it was suicide. Most of the post 4/16 witnesses were ruled out, with Southfield being an exception.

    What a mess that case is because of their poor investigation. The reports of RFG seen with a mystery woman......if he walked away and this woman was known to him, then obviously we don't know who he may have talked to or confided in about anything. Especially since there apparently was not any evidence of that on his office computer. Maybe there was evidence on the discarded computer. There is very little actual evidence we Do know other than his laptop was found, his car found and he is gone. Pretty much the rest is opinion. My mind is open to possibilities. JMO.
    The information that RFG was seen with a Mystery Woman was not widely disseminated until May of 2006. I will agree that it should have been released in the first week. The reason they didn't because they didn't want to damage RFG's reputation, even though they knew about it on 4/16.

    There was evidence on both his office and home computer, some of which has been released.

    There is a lot of evidence in this case, and much has been released, but it does not point to a conclusive scenario.


    What happened to former Centre County DA Ray Gricar?

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    Quote Originally Posted by J. J. in Phila View Post
    BBM

    Obviously, because the search concentrated on the Susquehanna, and the route, they were not looking for a live individual. Even both the chief at the time, Dixon, and the lead investigator, Zaccagni think it was suicide. Most of the post 4/16 witnesses were ruled out, with Southfield being an exception.



    The information that RFG was seen with a Mystery Woman was not widely disseminated until May of 2006. I will agree that it should have been released in the first week. The reason they didn't because they didn't want to damage RFG's reputation, even though they knew about it on 4/16.

    There was evidence on both his office and home computer, some of which has been released.

    There is a lot of evidence in this case, and much has been released, but it does not point to a conclusive scenario.
    JMO but I think they did the searches of the water because that is what they needed to do, not that they really thought he was there. I don't doubt that RFG saw or was talking with a mystery woman. I think that was why he was there, was to meet with this woman. But we don't know why or who she was. If they had released that info the first week someone may have come forward who knew who she was or could give a detailed description. IMO, this was a planned meeting and maybe he had been in touch with her and that information was on the hard drive he wanted to destroy. But who was she to him? Just the fact that she exists makes me think this was no suicide. The other sightings I'm not so sure of though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MissJ View Post
    JMO but I think they did the searches of the water because that is what they needed to do, not that they really thought he was there.
    After LE contacted Petito, on 4/17 or 4/18, and RFG wasn't with her, they focused on suicide. You had the Gricar brothers noting how their father had committed suicide by jumping into the river. They thought it was suicide. Tony actually said that both he and brother thought, "He we go again."

    I don't doubt that RFG saw or was talking with a mystery woman. I think that was why he was there, was to meet with this woman. But we don't know why or who she was. If they had released that info the first week someone may have come forward who knew who she was or could give a detailed description. IMO, this was a planned meeting and maybe he had been in touch with her and that information was on the hard drive he wanted to destroy. But who was she to him? Just the fact that she exists makes me think this was no suicide.
    I think he was there, and that a woman was there, but I would not rule out someone who struck up a conversation with him. She might have been a random person who had no idea who RFG was. She may have been a "helper." She may have been the murderer or an accomplice.

    I do think not releasing this, within the first week, was one of the BPD's few mistakes in 2005.

    The other sightings I'm not so sure of though.
    Of the four 4/16 witnesses disclosed by LE, one was ruled out (1:30 PM). Of the three remaining, they all saw him in SoS between 11:30 and Noon. There are some indications that they have been more that have than those three.


    Of all the post 4/16 sightings, the only that I would say is even 50% likely is Southfield, MI on 5/27/05, 9 years ago today. The witness is good and there would be some plausible reasons for RFG to be there. 50% is still 50%. It lacks a second independent witness and physical evidence.

    http://www.centredaily.com/2011/02/1...-sighting.html

    Most of the other sightings have been ruled out entirely.


    What happened to former Centre County DA Ray Gricar?

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    Police thoughts

    I'm trying to put forward a chronology of what the police thought, generally, in the first week of the investigation.

    4/16/05-Before c. 10:00 AM. No great concern, sort of expect him to call home.

    4/16/05-c. 10:00 AM - 6:30 PM Possibly an automobile accident. Zaccagni said that on Disappeared. Start calling friends, coworkers. The check the cell phone record and start searching 45 and 192 by ground and air.

    BPD call Jacobs Field in Cleveland and check the office desktop.

    4/16/05- 6:30 PM-? Find the Mini, undamaged. Get initial report of witness that saw RFG with a woman, matches Petito's description roughly. Find cigarette butts next to car and smell of smoke in the Mini.

    Tony and Chris Gricar arrive, note their father's suicide.

    Mini towed to PSP barracks in Milton.

    Earliest wire service story 10:45 PM.

    4/17/05 Police theorize RFG with Petito. She is not picking up at home. Dog brought in around noon. Trail in parking lot. Police start air search of Susquehanna. After 7:00 PM, police discover laptop not in case.

    Zaccagni said he hoped RFG would call and shut down the search; he later used the term "wild weekend." Now on cable and being carried on local news in Scanton-Wilkes Barre media market in the evening.

    4/17-4/18, Petito contacted. RFG not with her.

    4/18 - Famous "phone home" news conference at noon. Possible additional searches of Susquehanna.

    4/19-4/22 repeated massive searches of Susquehanna by boat, air, diver, and a cadaver dog. Canvassing for witnesses by BPD.

    The police only looked at walkaway in the context of RFG spending the weekend with a woman, and that fell by the wayside when they contacted Petito.


    What happened to former Centre County DA Ray Gricar?

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    I know that I'm in the minority here, but I'm not convinced the witnesses really saw RFG in Lewisburg. I believe that they saw *someone*; I'm just not convinced it was RFG. I feel that references should say that "witnesses allegedly saw" or "witnesses reportedly saw," but I don't think they should say "witnesses saw." My opinion only. No snark intended. Shared with friendly intent.

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