PA PA - Ray Gricar, 59, Bellefonte, 15 April 2005 - #15

Discussion in '2000's Missing' started by J. J. in Phila, Feb 29, 2016.

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  1. Trackergd

    Trackergd SAR Search Manager

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    From Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lewisburg,_Pennsylvania

    This is a fairly good historical record.

    Lewisburg was founded in 1785 by Ludwig Derr. A settler of the area (since as early as 1763–1769), Derr had purchased several tracts of land from the William Penn family and other neighboring land owners, the largest of which was known as "The Prescott". Having been on the land for such a long time, Derr had befriended the local Native Americans of the area. His relationship with these indigenous peoples was so well founded that, even as many of the other local settlers' homesteads were routinely sacked by Native Americans, Derr's lands remained free from attacks. Subsequently, in 1784, he worked with Samuel Weiser to lay out his combined land tracts, and create Derrstown. The name was later changed to Lewisburgh when Union County was separated from Snyder County.

    Much has been considered regarding 'how' the name changed from Derrstown to Lewisburg. The most likely truth is that Derr's first name "Ludwig" translated into English as "Louis" but, being of German descent, it was spelled "Lewis". Later, after Derr's death, the traditional Germanic "burgh" was appended to his first name to create Lewisburgh. Note: U.S. Postal Service records contradict this story. The post office was named Lewisburgh when it was established in 1796; in 1893, the name was shortened to Lewisburg.

    The street names that run east and west are a local urban mystery. St. George, St. Catherine, and St. Louis etc. appear to be named for saints. However, since Derr was a Lutheran, and did not pay homage to Catholic saints, this is unlikely. Rather, the street names are more likely named for Derr's family members, as those streets are consecutively parallel, and emanate from what was then Derr's home, and the location of the first available lot sold (which were both situated on, what is now, Mill Street). George was Ludwig's son, his wife Catherine and Ludwig/Lewis (sic) himself. The other original street names that still exist are St. John, St. Mary and St. Anthony, which are probably the names of other children from families with whom Derr's own family were friends. However, there is an indication that Derr also had a daughter named Mary. Overall, however, the premise is further supported by the notion that the German word for street is Strasse (Straße, abbreviated St). At the time, street names were pronounced as Strasse Mary or Strasse George. Later, when signs were made to note the street names, the abbreviation for Strasse was allowed to remain, but the US/English abbreviation was redundantly added to the signs.

    The second mystery surrounding Lewisburg is the disappearance of its founder Ludwig Derr. After selling several lots of land, Derr set off for Philadelphia to sell additional lots. Shortly after arriving, records indicate some of his lots had sold. However, Ludwig Derr simply disappears from history in that city. Derr's son George went to Philadelphia to search for his father, but returned a short time later, unsuccessful.

    Over the centuries, Lewisburg has been a center of commerce in Union County. The West Branch Susquehanna River was used for logging and shipping, and remains of old factories and other ancient stone structures exist along the river banks. Prior to, and during, the Civil War, many abolitionists lived in the area, and several locations within the town of Lewisburg served as stopping points on the famous Underground Railroad.

    The Lewisburg Historic District, Chamberlin Iron Front Building, Packwood House-American Hotel, and Reading Railroad Freight Station are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

    I can add that Ludwig also had a sawmill. I will add some pictures in a later post.
     
  2. Trackergd

    Trackergd SAR Search Manager

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    Here are some markers. I have another picture I have to find that is not shown on any Google search.
    Derr Marker.PNG Derr marker 2.PNG

    Here is a drawing of the sawmill
    Derr Sawmill.PNG

    And here is a picture of the house. Hard to imagine that a log cabin is somewhere inside this house.
    Derr House.jpg
     
  3. Trackergd

    Trackergd SAR Search Manager

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    I think that anyone who has stood in the park, in the parking area, in the SOS, walked along Water Street and part of Lewisburg would say that is VERY unlikely that RFG was the subject of a homicide in those locations. It is my personal opinion that a scuffle, argument, shooting or other violent act would have been so out of character with this quiet area, that it would have attracted attention. Someone has reported seeing RFG sitting on a bench fiddling with the laptop, and that was when he was trying NOT to attract attention. I think RFG removed the hard drive, stood on the bank and tossed it in the river. It is probable that he then decided to toss the laptop from the bridge to get it further out into the river. Returning a laptop without the drive to the County would have raised questions. Easier to report the laptop stolen or lost by accident. I drove across the bridge out and back. The wall is low. The driver could have tossed the laptop out the passenger window, over the wall and into the river. It would have been far easier for a passenger to do so.
     
  4. Trackergd

    Trackergd SAR Search Manager

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    Interesting that in the rail history of Lewisburg, there was a railroad that ran between Bellefonte and Lewisburg.

    https://centrecountypa.gov/DocumentCenter/View/487

    It does explain why in Google Earth view you can see remains of sections of rail spurs within the town.
     
  5. Trackergd

    Trackergd SAR Search Manager

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    Just for Jana...

    Near the Roller Mill antique mall, there are the remains of a coal pier. An elevated track where grain, coal, sand, stone, etc could be unloaded from "coal cars".

    Coal Piers 3.PNG

    You can tell the height by the motor home in front of them.
    Coal Piers 4.PNG

    From above...
    Coal Piers.PNG
     
  6. J. J. in Phila

    J. J. in Phila Verified Insider

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    Snipped only for brevity.

    I believe that there is a large monument dedicated to Union soldiers about a block east of the Derr House.

    Also, during the 1863 Confederate Invasion of Pennsylvania, which culminated with the Battle of Gettysburg, volunteers were called up the duration of the "Emergency." This included a group of students from what was then known as the "Lewisburg University," now Bucknell.

    These students traveled along the Susquehanna to help defend Harrisburg, the state capital, from Jenkin's Divisions of Ewell’s Corp (they got to the Wormleysburg Borough line). The governor at the time was Andrew Curtain, a native of Bellefonte, PA.

    The "Copperhead" newspaper that covered this story the Patriot and Union, and criticized Curtain relentlessly, is the ancestor of the current Patriot-News or Penn Live. That paper broke the PSU Scandal and has done at least one great article on Ray Gricar.

    The interconnections are absolutely amazing.
     
  7. J. J. in Phila

    J. J. in Phila Verified Insider

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    There is still an active local line in Lewisburg, the Union County Industrial Railroad. It only connects with the line on the other side of the river at Milton.

    No passenger service; there is a lot of interconnect with different services, so it would be difficult for someone to "hop a freight," and be sure of getting out of the area. I did check. :)
     
  8. Trackergd

    Trackergd SAR Search Manager

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    I checked too. I was curious about a diesel switch engine sitting abandoned along the line. :)
     
  9. Trackergd

    Trackergd SAR Search Manager

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    Figured I would check the crime statistics for Lewisburg, just in case my "educated gut" was malfunctioning.

    Lewisburg Crime.jpg

    Lewisburg Crime 2.jpg

    Lewisburg Crime 3.jpg

    Gut check is on the mark.
     
  10. J. J. in Phila

    J. J. in Phila Verified Insider

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    I'm looking beyond a reasonable doubt standard of proof, and I'm wondering if there are some points that reach that goal. Argue it, or just play Devil's Advocate.

    1. Something was bothering RFG. There are a number of witnesses, starting at least at 3/8/05, Shotts, Joseph, JKA, the people at the Prison Board meeting and PEF.
    Sbppoint: It could be a number of things, but we can rule out one thing, a physical threat, i.e. that someone would want to physically hurt or kill him. There are two pieces of evidence that run opposite to that idea.

    A. He didn't tell anyone, including the police and his girlfriend. The girlfriend is key. If someone was targeting RFG, PEF could be caught in the "line of fire." It would make sense to tell her to be careful.

    B. On 4/14/05, RFG drove to Raystown Lake. He drove through areas sparsely populated, probably no police patrols, and in areas without cell service. That is not the action of someone worried about being killed.

    2. RFG was planning to go to Lewisburg. He generated a map to Lewisburg prior to 4/15/05; he checked the weather there prior to 4/15.

    3. RFG wanted to clean out the data on the laptop. He asked people, including a defense attorney, how to erase that drive; he had purchased software to do it about a year before. The searches on his home computer were his.

    4. RFG was in Lewisburg at least on 4/15/05. There are numerous independent witnesses that corroborate each other, including the one at Centre Hall who gave a time consistent with RFG being there and arriving in Lewisburg. The Mini and the laptop are physical evidence he was there; his scent in the parking lot is physical evidence. Point 2 adds to that as well.

    What are the problems with my logic, if any?
     
  11. SeekingJana

    SeekingJana May I be the person my dogs think I am! :)

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    I've never made a huge deal of it, but being aged 59 now, I have some serious vision problems. It's almost impossible for me to reply to each point in a post and not miss something- just the ways my eyes don't work now.
    Please forgive me for a clunky response.

    Since all this is hypothetical, and since I do think he probably left voluntarily and successfully ( that is, alive and well), my responses are both genuine to what I believe about him, and like most of this case, are also hypothetical. :)

    1) How often does something bother one of us? I would have laughed this damned question off until the past 2 years. My life has been turned upside down by lies and fraud perpetrated by someone I am legally bound to in ways I could never have imagined.
    So, as hard and painful and CRUEL as it is, I have to say " Maybe part of what I've been through has been and is to help me understand mental anguish, true suffering of a non- physical type, the principle of Grace, and the ability to forgive in that it is sufficient measure. " I fall very short, but I do believe things happen to teach us humility and humanity in ways we didn't have exposure to before. There's a mis-applied but fundamentally sound reason for the old saying in the Lincoln assassination " Their name is Mudd". Note- I have an ancestral ( biological, not adoptive) tie to Dr. Mudd and his family. Ha.

    Ray Gricar could have been betrayed and deeply hurt in a way he couldn't work out on his own. He seemed to be a low key person who didn't really " put himself out there" as far as many close friendships/ relationships go.

    However, perhaps the more insular of us are the least prepared for betrayal so huge that it changes our sense of self, our ego, our trust, our ability to still believe we are a good person despite what someone we are tied to has done.

    What could have shaken Ray to the core, hypothetically?
    Information or proof of actions committed by people he loved and respected that HE, personally, found incompatible with his belief system or with his moral system. We can't judge the seriousness or merit of his reaction to this " it ". It is his.
    A few hypotheticals in short:
    1) The whole story of what happened to Roy. It seemed to weigh heavily on his mind for a long time.
    2) Something truly seriously bad and hidden about a friend, Patty, one of his staff DAs, a woman he loved who wasn't Patty, a family member. Something he couldn't fix, with the added burden of " guilty knowledge".

    I think it would be like something that happened to me when I was young, and have never made peace with. When I was a very young nurse in my 20's, my parents would take my little son down the street to the lovely home of old friends of ours to swim in their pool. I went with them a few times. I was extremely startled to see a very large pigmented growth on my dad's friend's forehead... I kept thinking " This has every appearance of malignant melanoma". I sat there, really upset while they all played with my little tyke in the pool, wondering what was appropriate and what was overstepping my boundaries. You see, this was not a highly educated man and he and his wife were " older". Probably near 60 at that time and I didn't judge age too well back then, LOL.
    I rationalized that as prominent as the lesion was, the dear sweet man's personal physician had to have seen the lesion and had it biopsied. But no, apparently his wet hair changed his hairline to make it visible to me but it was hidden under his dry hair when he saw his MD. It grew, unabated.

    He had advanced melanoma, and died when it metastasized to a kidney a year or so later. I'll never forget deciding to stay silent and thereby keep people calm that beautiful summer day at their pool with my beautiful little boy, and maybe letting a very good, kind father and grandfather die. It's been many years ago, but I'll never forget 1000 things about that dear man and his wife. Or the fact that when my own father died, his granddaughter, who was my age and loved my family so, placed a tiny bouquet of red roses underneath my dad's " pillow" in his casket at the viewing. Guilt can kill.

    The BIG " UNKNOWN"
    We have, off and on, wondered whether Ray accidentally stumbled onto something so bad outside his jurisdiction as DA of Centre County that it can't be named here because it would be speculative, and the criminal activity either stopped because of " the Sandusky effect" or continues, unabated. Very smart criminals will implicate the good guys. There's no doubt in my mind that Ray was a good guy but did he leave over total disdain and also personal fear if he had been somehow framed or caught in a trap? IF he knew he couldn't PROVE it and if he knew he couldn't SOLVE it, he might have been so utterly disillusioned with PA State Police, the PA AG, and maybe higher levels of investigative bodies that he got out of the country for his own sense of mental and maybe also physical safety. This could tie into the old theories about the protection of the FBI or CIA and him going to work for them covertly.

    Regarding the other points you make-
    1) IF there was something SO worrisome on his stupid old obsolete county issued laptop, then he certainly made a huge production of wanting it OFF the computer. He was not smart about the statements he made, he was not prudent about asking how to wipe a HD, and he didn't cover any tracks, apparently, with the wiping software he purchased and used. I have a photo of Patty holding up the wiping software program box. Why did he do everything but paint that laptop with bright orange florescent arrows?
    Then, there's the physical evidence that the laptop was submerged in water for a period of months and the HD likely was as well. Can't argue that the laptop was a sticking point for him that seems WAY out of proportion to what we know.
    2) Let's be honest. You've seen videos of Patty. You know her history pretty well in Belefonte.
    IMO, Patty is not a doer. She is a follower. I wouldn't have confided in her about something extremely worrisome either.
    3) Similarly, we have anecdotal statements from friends of his that Ray didn't like or trust local LE very much. I think he'd have done best to take a serious issue straight to the FBI. ( or maybe even the CIA, depending on the scope of the suspected or known crime).

    He was worried and concerned, maybe about multiple issues/ crimes not in his jurisdiction, etc.
    Why didn't he trust someone?
    >>>>>Or did he? <<<<<<<<
    We cannot PROVE matters of this type of deep investigation and security. We know he left the life he had without any traces. Did he go into a special investigative body as a highly trained DA turned special agent?

    Why do we never consider that he might have been meeting an investigator at Raystown Lake? Or in Lewisburg? Or both? I've worked with the FBI to solve a crime. They are dressed in jeans, no big " FBI" jacket, and they want the witnesses to look and BE relaxed, calm, open, establish friendly rapport..
    They might have decided to meet at a picturesque lake, then the town Ray enjoyed shopping for little antiques in.
    Maybe the agent copied the files off the laptop with Ray's full consent and cooperation, and was the one who separated the parts and dumped it in the river a week later. I can't stress enough how these young guys are sneakers, jeans, flannel shirt casual to blend in with everyone else. Also, they are not afraid to get their hands dirty, literally. I've seen them and likely, Tracker and others have as well. I have a great deal of respect for most FBI field agents, as they are the eyes and ears for the little people like me and you who need their help and get it by making one well- phrased phone call for assistance with a problem that is likely multi- state or may involve local LE.

    Their first priority would be to see that Ray was safe and on his way to his agreed upon new career and destination, which could have been fairly fluid in nature.. Would a DA near retirement who was unmarried, had no close relatives nearby, had only a casual type girlfriend situation, take on a new exciting covert position in an area we don't have knowledge of, but do know how skilled he was in multiple areas? Would we be a modern " James Bond" if we could and it was offered us? :)
    It's just a variation on the " He left to live on a tropical island" theory, but it uses what we know of his considerable knowledge base, his personality trait of helping others in trouble, and of seeking justice for criminals.




     
  12. SeekingJana

    SeekingJana May I be the person my dogs think I am! :)

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    I loved the photos so much! The history of the words used is fascinating. I was wondering why streets would be named " Saint" if for siblings, but as someone who is very familiar with Rue de and Strasse being used in Europe, it's charming and so quaint.
    I love charming and quaint. :)

    When I am feeling better, for surely the day will come, I want to read the Wiki article. :)
    Going to try to sleep now. It's 5 AM here.
    Thank you so much for sharing part of your history with us, Tracker.
    I appreciate it so very much, and thank you for extending yourself to someone who considers you my friend. :)
     
  13. J. J. in Phila

    J. J. in Phila Verified Insider

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    A radio interview is at least scheduled to take place on WFBG in Altoona regarding the Gricar case. It will be at 11:00 AM in Friday, 4/13/18 and rebroadcast on 4/14/18, at 9:00 AM. The station does stream live and its URL is:

    http://www.foreveraltoona.com/wfbg/

    I don't really expect anything earthshaking, especially for people extremely familiar with the case, but it still might be interesting.
     
  14. Trackergd

    Trackergd SAR Search Manager

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    I am going to make every effort to listen to this (at work). Great to see after all this time we are starting to get a consensus on some of what we know and are asking the right questions about what we don't know.

    In the Jacob Wetterling case, a WS member wrote a book which brought attention to the case and in the end, the author discovered overlooked information which broke the case. I wonder if it is possible to do the same here since JJ has a wealth of information at hand. "The Strange Case of Ray Gricar" would be a nice working title. I'm willing to help with it and do more boots on the ground snooping and photographing in Lewisburg.
     
  15. J. J. in Phila

    J. J. in Phila Verified Insider

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    They are suppose to have a podcast.
     
  16. Trackergd

    Trackergd SAR Search Manager

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    "They" being WS or the Radio Station?
     
  17. J. J. in Phila

    J. J. in Phila Verified Insider

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    The radio station.
     
  18. margol29

    margol29 Member

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    Thank you Jana for such a well thought out post.
    I too have had my life turned upside down in the past two years in a way that I would never have imagined. For someone who has never had this happen to them, they would not think how earth shattering this could be to someone. Perhaps this also happened to RG. I could understand his wanting to just leave everything behind and start over fresh somewhere new. If I had the money and the resources, I would be tempted to do the same.

    I have waffled between a voluntary walk away verses kidnapping and murder for RG. I do not believe that he committed suicide. I am sure that some part of his remains would have been found by now. I don't think that we will ever know the truth about this case.

    I know that I usually don't post in these forums but I do read every bit that I can. I just wanted to tell Jana that this post meant a lot to me.
     
  19. SeekingJana

    SeekingJana May I be the person my dogs think I am! :)

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    Thanks, Margo.
    I'm sorry for your hurts and turmoil as well, more than I can say. I don't wish this kind of betrayal on anyone, but we will get through it. One day at a time. I have faith that you and I both will be in a much happier and stable situation in just a few years. Maybe sooner. You can always message me if you wish, OK?

    I tend to think that Ray would have been pro-active and advocated for his best interests, whatever he decided they were, if someone had betrayed him, and only him, in a huge way that's either hard to repair, or so painful that it would just not ever be worth one person trying to effect " fixing".. Like you, I've wanted to leave where I am because of the pain. At this point, I'm dedicated to staying, and doing the best I can to keep things on an even keel and on the right path because of responsibilities to others. I can't say there's joy in it, but it's the most responsible and mature thing I can do for the greater good for family members who did try very hard to rectify the situations as they kept coming to light. We simply could not stop the falling dominoes when the scope of the issues finally were uncovered. I'm sure you have some understanding of this as well.

    When we at WS started discussing this case, 2 of us ( J.J. and I) had this outlook that maybe Ray had some sort of severe depression related to his age.. It was 13 years ago, and I think our impressions regarding age were similar. My impression is that we thought Ray Gricar was old.

    Now, as we both are looking at age 59 on the calendar ( or in the mirror, for me, as I am a few months older than J,J,) I've really come to see that 59 isn't really "old" to most of the adult population. It's not young, it's just not " Golden Girls 1980's TV show type " aged ". It's pretty much still middle age in appearance, activity levels for most people who are able, and with lots of life goals ahead. :)
     
  20. Trackergd

    Trackergd SAR Search Manager

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    59 is not old, it qualifies as "Classic". I'm 63 and qualify as "Antique". I used to be "Hot Rod"....:(

    I was badly betrayed about 15 years ago, then she burned down the house with everything in it.

    I have survived by keeping two things in mind: "Someone else has it worse than you do" and "Worry is interest paid on a debt that never comes due".
     
    brainstorm2018 likes this.
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