Nabil K. Mark  /  AP file
Ray Gricar's brother vanished under similar circumstances in 1996, a newspaper reported.
updated 4/18/2005 2:49:30 PM ET 2005-04-18T18:49:30

A county prosecutor who was reported missing late Friday failed to show up for work Monday, and his daughter pleaded for him to contact her.

Courthouse workers declined to comment except to say Centre County District Attorney Ray F. Gricar usually arrived by 9 a.m.

Gricar’s car was found over the weekend in Lewisburg, a town about 45 miles away, but a search of the vehicle and a nearby stretch of river yielded no sign of anything amiss, authorities said Sunday.

At a news conference Monday, Gricar’s daughter Lara Gricar directed an emotional message to her father, saying, “I want you to know that I will wait as long as it takes. Please call.”

The FBI was contacted for help in analyzing Gricar’s credit card and phone records, Bellefonte Police Chief Duane Dixon said Monday.

Gricar’s red-and-white mini-Cooper automobile, spotted Saturday in a lot across the street from a Lewisburg antiques market, was brought to state police barracks in Milton. Dixon said Sunday that there were no signs that someone may have broken into the car, and no sign of blood.

“The car looks to be in fine shape,” Dixon said. He added that interviews with workers at the Street of Shops antiques market also yielded no clues, and the Susquehanna River near the market was searched but nothing found.

The car was then turned over to Gricar’s longtime girlfriend, Patty Fornicola, a clerk in the DA’s office who filed the missing person’s report Friday night.

A Friday drive
Police said Gricar had taken Friday off and had told Fornicola he was going for a drive on a road that leads to Lewisburg.

Workers at the antiques mall didn’t report seeing anything unusual either Friday or Saturday. “It was business as usual,” said the market’s manager, Susan Sawyer.

Police had initially said they believed the market had a surveillance camera that might have captured images of Gricar, but Dixon said Sunday that was not the case.

“We’re still hoping that it may come to a positive conclusion, because there doesn’t appear to be signs of foul play,” Dixon said.

Gricar’s 53-year-old brother, Roy J. Gricar, vanished under similar circumstances in May 1996, and was later ruled to have drowned himself, The Centre Daily Times reported.

The West Chester, Ohio, resident told his wife he was going out on an errand and never returned, according to an account at the time in the Dayton Daily News. His car was found abandoned near a river, and his body was later pulled from the water.

The Street of Shops antiques market sits near a small wooded area that backs up to the Susquehanna River.

County Sheriff Denny Nau said Monday that nothing seemed out of the ordinary.

“He was quiet. He did his job very well. He kept to himself and he wasn’t flamboyant,” Nau said.

No recent threats had been made against Gricar and none of his cases appeared likely to be involved, officials have said. Gricar had been planning to retire in December at age 60, after two decades as the county’s district attorney.

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