Wednesday, September 17, 2008

John Morganelli: The Case of the Missing DA

I am here today in Centre County to speak about the disappearance of longtime district attorney Ray Gricar. Ray served the people of Centre County as their elected district attorney for almost 20 years. Ray devoted his career to upholding the laws of our Commonwealth and protecting the public from crime and violence. The people of Centre County knew Ray both as a friend and as a dedicated public servant Ray was a colleague of mine, and I considered him a friend. He was a likable and effective district attorney, and his disappearance troubles not only this county, but also many people across this state. And, of course his family, who not only miss Ray, but who are left with a sense of helplessness with respect to trying to find out what happened to him.

Ray disappeared on April 15, 2005. On the day he disappeared, Ray was last seen in Lewisburg, in Union County. After that sighting no one knows what happened to Ray. For more than three years, Ray’s family and friends have been seeking answers about his disappearance. They are justifiably frustrated by an investigation that has made agonizingly little progress and now appears to have stalled. I know that Bellefonte police, the Centre County District Attorney's office and 20 other law enforcement personnel have worked tirelessly on this case and have done their best to solve this mystery.

As a district attorney for 16 years, I know how difficult it can be to solve cases without any apparent leads. But this is no ordinary case. It involves the unexplained disappearance of an elected state district attorney. District attorneys are charged with the responsibility of prosecuting thousands of criminal cases each year and are the chief law enforcement officers in their respective counties. The unexplained disappearance of a state DA strikes at the heart of our security because it may represent retaliation by some criminal against the criminal justice system as well as a personal attack on a specific prosecutor. But local prosecutors and police have limited resources and can only do so much with any single case.

The circumstances surrounding this case cry out for leadership from the Attorney General’s office. Concerned citizens, including Montour County District Attorney Bob Buehner and former Clinton County DA Ted McKnight, have called on Attorney General Corbett to mobilize the superior resources of the Attorney General’s office to uncover the truth of Ray’s disappearance. The Attorney General is best-equipped to lead and coordinate a multi-county investigation. Unfortunately, however, Mr. Corbett shows no interest in this matter and has failed to involve his office in any meaningful way. Mr. Corbett’s spokesman has been quoted as asking, “What could we do that isn’t being done?” Centre Daily article by Pete Bosak. January 1, 2006 The Attorney General is not even involved in this case, yet he seems to be throwing up his hands. How can he suggest that nothing can be done when he hasn’t even tried? It is time that the people of Centre County and Pennsylvania have an Attorney General who believes that it his duty to take an active role in a case of this magnitude.

Therefore, today, I am announcing that if elected Attorney General, I will also establish a Cold Case Homicide Unit within the Attorney General’s office.. The Ray Gricar case will be the very first case for this unit. The unit will be comprised of experienced homicide investigators. The unit will utilize the resources of the state to attempt to solve these difficult cases. This unit will furnish local authorities with the extra resources, funds, manpower, and technical assistance needed to solve long-outstanding cases of murder or suspected murder. I promise to exhaust every possible lead in this investigation. Of course there’s no way to know for certain if greater interest and involvement from the Attorney General in Ray’s case would have helped uncover the truth of what happened on April 15, 2005. But it couldn’t have hurt. As things stand, the truth goes undiscovered and a possible crime goes unpunished. I believe that with additional attention and resources we will be able to deliver the closure that Ray, his friends and family, and others like him most certainly deserve.

Blogger's Note: Ray Gricar's family has set up a web page with more information.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

The muppet will say anything for a vote.

not so casual observer said...

maybe he is in hiding for some reason unknown to the public....this is cheap campaign tactic to get his name in the news outside the Lehigh Valley.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the "not so casual Observer". It would seem that Mr. Morganelli would have better things to offer the people of Pennsylvania. A state funded "cold case" is simply a stupid idea. Think how much time would be spent by a cold case officer learning details about a disapperance from local authorities.
I think Mr. Morganelli is watching to much television, Sundays.
Bob

Anonymous said...

Morganelli could not even
win the Melosky case with eye witnesses. And he's going to find a guy who may very well have skipped on his own?

Anonymous said...

Why does Morgy start to publicize his concerns now? Because most Pennsylvanians have never heard of him and have no idea he's running for something. I'll bet John's boy Scissorhands (or is it John who is Scissorhand's boy?) could track down the guy like an old lady in church - at a funeral.

Strike one; strike two; strike three; strike four! It's over Johnny.

Anonymous said...

The Governor, "Big Eddie", may have already put a damper on John's proposal by announcing today that there will be no new hires in any departments.

If "Big Eddie" doesn't fund new hires under him, I can just imagine the budget will be super tight for the AG. Where will John find the money for this adventure? Much like McClure's child welfare unit.

Unfortunately, I think I just heard a flushing sound.

Anonymous said...

I'm not interested in the AG's race at all. I'm a Republican who gives Morganelli kudos for working to curtail illegal immigration.

My thought when I read this release, with no disrepect to DA Gricar or his family, was couldn't DA Morganelli use the example of a missing child instead of a missing adult law enforcement officer?

Or perhaps, use a murder victim who's killer has not yet been caught?

Otherwise, I think the cold case department sounds like a reasonable idea.

Anonymous said...

DA Ray Gricar is just one of many Centre County residents missing. Plus a couple of murder cases unsolved, once man serving a murder and DNA proves he wasn't the one to rape the woman and others involved. That is only in Centre County. What about the other 66 counties of PA? I would think the cold case unit would be an excellent idea for the state. They could get rid of the men and women who left their jobs to campaign for AG Tom Corbette. Obviously they are not needed if others can handle their work. See what kind of job Kevin Harley can dig up, won't be much use for a guard dog for the AG then.

Anonymous said...

Cold case team in the AG's office is an excellent idea.....and the missing DA Ray Gricar's case SHOULD be first on the list.....Thank you Mr. Morganelli...I am certain the Gricar family will appreciate your efforts...Corbett has done NOTHING!