The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

April 15, 2008

DA missing, but not forgotten

3 years ago, Ray Gricar vanished

By Damian Gessel

It’s been three years to the day since Centre County District Attorney Ray Gricar disappeared, but investigators haven’t given up searching for him.

Bellefonte Police Chief Shawn Weaver said his force still devotes as many as two days a week tracking down leads in the case.

“This will be an active case until this situation is solved,” Weaver said on Monday. “I’m very optimistic that something or someone will come forward.”

But Weaver openly admits the leads have dwindled since the April, 2005 morning Gricar vanished. There have been no more sightings of the former DA, no more potential case-crackers.

Almost every break in the case — Gricar’s recovered laptop, the woman witnesses reportedly saw with him in Lewisburg before he went missing, the cigarette ashes found in his car — simply clouded things. Did he commit suicide like his brother? Were police dealing with a murder investigation? Did Gricar disappear on purpose?

Investigators aren’t talking about which they think is more likely.

“You can’t guess in our line of work — you have to go on facts and evidence,” Weaver said.

Gricar had a family history of depression, so suicide is a possibility. As a district attorney, there were no shortage of people who may have had reason to dislike him. And according to Weaver, Gricar was certainly smart enough to make himself vanish.

“You can’t rule any of the three out,” he said.

CBS’ “Without A Trace” and Court TV’s “Haunting Evidence” have both aired episodes dealing with his disappearance. Gricar has his own Web site, Wikipedia page and FBI.gov “Missing Person” link. As recently as two months ago, Internet bloggers exchanged conspiracy theories and thoughts about the case.

His girlfriend, Patty Fornicola — the last person ever known to have spoken with Gricar — still holds out some hope for his return.

“I haven’t given up,” she said Monday. Fornicola declined any further comment, however.

Three years later, the only thing anyone seems to be able to say for sure about Gricar’s disappearance is that it’s still very much a mystery.

-- E-mail comments to dgessel@dailyitem.com.