Bellefonte PD Gives Lead in Gricar Investigation to State Police Due to Lack of Manpower
Local authorities decided late last year it was time to hand the cold-case of Centre County's missing district attorney over to the Pennsylvania State Police.
Bellefonte Police Chief Shawn Weaver told StateCollege.com that he met with Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller toward the end of 2013 to discuss the nearly 9-year-old case.
"Basically, I felt that we could not give the case the attention that it deserved any longer. Our resources are very minimal compared to that of the state police and the state police has been involved from the start of the investigation," says Weaver. "We are still a part of the investigation, however the state police has more manpower to run down the leads that we get day to day, or the leads that we get that require us to travel outside our area, so it makes sense, because they have statewide jurisdiction and more resources to pull from."
State police announced Monday it will take the lead in the investigation. That means state police will receive any new tips related to the case as well as oversee the investigative task force formed by the Centre County District Attorney's office.
As part of the transition, state police investigators intend to review the status of the investigation and "thoroughly look at what can be done to further this investigation," state police said in a prepared statement Monday.
In 2005, then-District Attorney Ray Gricar disappeared after leaving his home to go for a drive. Later, authorities would locate his vehicle parked outside of an antique mall in Lewisburg, a place he frequented. Police also located his laptop and hard drive in the Susquehanna River. In 2011, the court declared Gricar legally dead at the request of his family.
At the start of the New Year, Weaver says he met with the state police to review the case file as well as transfer all related documents and evidence.
The Bellefonte Police Department has only one full-time criminal investigator. Weaver says it was difficult for his department to handle day-to-day investigations as well as chase down leads in the Gricar case.
"We're very busy for the size of department that we are. The caseload for the detective is pretty heavy and I don't have the manpower, the resources to send a guy out to chase these leads down that are out of our area," says Weaver. "It just makes sense to me that a much larger agency that has a bigger pool of resources in house do this."
Weaver says the case has been at a stalemate, but with a new set of investigators on the case, that could change.
"We ran it out. We did everything that we could," he says. "It's a different set of eyes on the case. I think the more eyes in law enforcement that look at it, the better off the case will be. ... The department has expended a lot of resources in the last eight years and I'm happy with the effort that we put forth and I'm sure the state police will continue it."
Weaver says he's still optimistic the mystery will one day be solved.
"I have always felt that one piece of information will break the case open. Someone out there, other than Ray Gricar, has information. They might not even know they have the information. There's something out there. ... It's just a matter of time," Weaver says. "I hope for his friends and family members that this piece of information will come forward. And that's why it's so important that every piece of information is followed up on."
Many theories have developed over the years related to the disappearance of Gricar. For example, some wonder if the case is connected to Gricar's decision not to file criminal charges against former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky.
Several years later, and after Gricar went missing, authorities once again investigated Sandusky abuse claims. Ultimately, Sandusky was sentenced to 30-60 years in prison for 45 counts of sexually abusing 10 boys over a 15-year period.
Anyone with information regarding the disappearance of Gricar can contact the state police tip-line at 1-800-472-8477.