The Unsolved Disappearance Of Ray Gricar

On April 19, 2005, wrote down Lara Gricar's plea to her father: "Hi, Dad. I want you to know I love you so much. My heart aches deeply for your presence." Her father, Ray Gricar, went missing on the Friday previous, April 15, after telling his girlfriend, Patty Fornicola, that instead of going to work that day, he was driving along Route 192 in his red Mini Cooper. He was eight months from retirement as Centre County's District Attorney, overseeing a tenure that, while successful, will ultimately be remembered as one in which he decided against prosecuting Jerry Sandusky, as HuffPost explains, the man at the heart of the Penn State child sex abuse scandal of 2011, in 1998.

That was the last Fornicola had heard from him. According to True Crime Files, she reported he went missing by 11:30 p.m. and by 5:00 p.m. the next day, the police had found his car fifty miles out from their hometown Bellafonte parked across an antique mall in Lewisburg called the "Street of Shops." His laptop and hard drive, however, remained missing until June when two men found the former while fishing in the Susquehanna River, and a woman stumbled upon the later on its banks. Nothing could be gleaned from the water-damaged device. 

Following this, nothing unusual occurred with regards to Gricar's bank accounts, bank cards, or emails. On July 25, 2011, reported that Centre County President Judge David Grine approved a petition to declare Gricar dead.

The theories

Early signs suggested that Ray Gricar's disappearance was due to suicde. In the Reading Eagle, the police stated that there were no signs of foul play, nor did there seem to be any connection to Gricar's previous cases. More importantly, they said they were aware of the similarities between this case and the one that concerned his brother Roy J. Gricar in 1996: "The 53-year-old West Chester, Ohio resident told his wife he was going to buy some mulch and never returned ... His car was found two days later abandoned at a Dayton park near a river and a bridge. His body was pulled from the water three weeks later." The abandoned car and the river both lean towards the idea that Ray Gricar died by suicide as well.

The former Montour County District Attorney Bob Buehner disagrees however, believing it to be murder instead. He explained his reasoning to Penn Live: "If Ray intentionally wanted to commit suicide, all he had to do was drive down Route 192, pull over to the side of the road, stick socks in the exhaust pipe, turn on the radio and let the carbon monoxide take its toll." He also cites a prison tip he got that Gricar had been abducted and killed for prosecuting a member of the Hells Angels. Another pet theory Penn Live uncovered was that Gricar was disappeared for threatening to expose the Sandusky scandal. 

Either way, his body and his fate remain undiscovered.