Missing Pa. Prosecutor Not at Work

A county prosecutor who was reported missing late Friday failed to show up for work Monday, colleagues said.

Courthouse workers declined to comment except to say Centre County (search) District Attorney Ray F. Gricar (search), 59, 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.

The red-and-white Mini Cooper (search), spotted Saturday in a lot across the street from a Lewisburg antiques market, was brought to state police barracks in Milton. But after traveling to Milton, Bellefonte Police Chief Duane Dixon said there were no sign 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 (search) near the shop was searched but nothing found, Dixon said.

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.

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.

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.