Centre County District Attorney Ray Gricar never got the opportunity to prosecute Jerry Sandusky on child-rape charges 13 years ago. Not because he was afraid to go after the renowned Penn State assistant coach. Ray Gricar never exposed Sandusky because he vanished without a trace.
Gricar went missing in April of 2005. The details of Gricar’s disappearance are very muddled. The only evidence is his abandoned car, a laptop recovered by divers who searched the Susquehanna River in Lewisburg, Pa., however it was without a hard drive, but his body was never found. It’s been six years since Gricar went missing, yet police are no closer to a resolution to this mystery.
It’s been so long that Gricar’s daughter, Lara, successfully petitioned in July to have her father declared legally dead so the family could have closure and begin dividing his estate.
Gricar was investigating Jerry Sandusky on accusations that he raped a 11-year-old boy in a shower. Some believe that Gricar was hesitant against prosecuting a hometown icon. However others say he was a tough-minded prosecutor who would not bow down to pressure from a Pennsylvania institution like Penn State.
The New York Times gives the details of his disappearance:
On April 15, 2005, Gricar, then 59, took the day off. At about 11:30 a.m., he called his girlfriend, Patricia Fornicola, to say he was taking a drive on Route 192. About 12 hours later, she reported him missing.
The next day, Gricar’s Mini Cooper was found in a parking lot in Lewisburg, about 50 miles from his home in Bellefonte. Gricar’s cellphone was in the car, but not his laptop, wallet or keys, which were never recovered. Months later, the laptop was found in the Susquehanna River without its hard drive, which was discovered later. It was too damaged to yield any information. On the fourth anniversary of his disappearance, investigators revealed that a search of his home computer yielded a history of Internet searches for phrases like “how to wreck a hard drive,” according to a report at the time in The Centre Daily Times.
When Gricar disappeared helicopters, dive teams and patrol cars were deployed, and the F.B.I. was brought in. Reports of Gricar turning up in Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, Maryland and other states proved to be dead ends.
Gricar’s bank accounts were untouched. He had no other sources of income and he had no major debts. Despite being divorced twice, he was apparently happy with his girlfriend and close with his daughter. Gricar had an early retirement to look forward to and had already announced that he was retiring at the end of his term.
Conspiracy theorists will point out that college boosters at big time schools such as Penn State University have fat wallets and can pull strings to get most anything done. Even make a district attorney vanish.