Former Pennsylvania Centre County district attorney Ray Frank Gricar left his office one day in 2005 and went missing without a trace. 13 years later, there's still very little known about this high-profile disappearance. Was he kidnapped? Murdered? Or did he simply choose to disappear? Scroll down to learn everything we know about this mysterious true crime case.
Who is Ray Gricar?
Ray was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and went on to become a district attorney in Pennsylvania from 1985 until 2005. Interestingly, he announced that he would not run again the same year he went missing, when he was 60 years old. Ray was involved in several high-profile cases, but the most well known was that of Jerry Sandusky. In 1998, Ray declined to press charges against the assistant Penn State coach, who was accused of child sexual abuse. After Jerry was finally prosecuted in 2011, people again questioned why Ray let Jerry off scott-free for thirteen years.
Ray was also the father of an adopted daughter, Lara, with his first wife Barbara Gray. He had a second wife, and eventually a girlfriend named Patty Fornicola, who he was living with when he went missing. She was the last person to ever speak to him.
What happened to Ray Gricar?
On April 15, 2005, Ray left his office in his red Mini Cooper. He called up his girlfriend to let her know that he was driving through the Brush Valley area that's located northeast of Centre Hall. Later that night, Patty called the police to report that Ray never made it home. One day later, his car was found in the parking lot of an antique store in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. His phone was left in the car, but his laptop, keys, and wallet were missing.
Police didn't find any signs of foul play, but they did eventually find his laptop in the nearby Susquehanna River. The hard drive had been yanked out of it, and was found months later completely destroyed. Interestingly, Ray's home computer had recently used the search terms "how to wreck a hard drive," "how to fry a hard drive," and "water damage to a notebook computer." Ray's body was never found.
(Photo Credit: PA Police)
Is Ray Gricar alive?
Ray's daughter Lara petitioned the court to rule him legally dead six years after he went missing, which was granted. However, Ray's dead body was never found, so there's no way to confirm that he is truly dead, and police have not given up on finding him. As a matter of fact, many people think they have spotted him since his disappearance. For example, a John Doe prisoner in Utah in 2011 was thought to be Ray, until they found out the true identity of the unidentified man. People thought they spotted him sitting in the Oprah studio audience. Someone else thought they saw him eating at a Chili's in Nacogdoches, Texas. However, nothing has ever been definitive enough to say if he's alive or dead.
What happened to Roy Gricer?
Ray's brother Roy too his own life in 1996. He, too, drove his car to a nearby river, and his body washed up a week later in Ohio's Great Miami River. Roy's death was ruled a suicide, and many speculate that Ray may have done the same. Others think that he was killed in connection with one of the cases he worked, while some think he may have just snuck off to live under a different identity. We can't help but hope that one day we'll know for sure!