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NANCY GRACE

Missing Pennsylvania District Attorney

Aired March 25, 2011 - 21:00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NANCY GRACE, HOST: Vanished into thin air.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Look for her.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We just need to kind her.

GRACE: So many cases --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`re still looking.

GRACE: -- so few leads.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Missing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Missing.

GRACE: Missing person.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s our duty to find her.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Missing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The witness had seen the suspect on NANCY GRACE.

GRACE: There is a God.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The NANCY GRACE show was out there for us.

GRACE: Found alive.

Fifty people, 50 days, 50 nights.

Let`s don`t give up.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PATTY FORNICOLA, GIRLFRIEND OF MISSING DAD, RAY GRICAR: There are many things about Ray that make him special, and there`s not one favorite thing. He`s just an incredibly wonderful, caring and giving person.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): After 20 years on the job as district attorney of Centre County, Ray Gricar was easing into his last months before retirement. He set out on a day off from work to head for a drive along Route 192 in Pennsylvania. He told his live-in girlfriend he would not be home in time to take out the dog.

But to this day, Gricar still has not come home.

FORNICOLA: When I woke him on Friday morning, it was a typical wake- up call. You know, I woke him, and did our usual routine, and he had indicated that he thought he was going to -- he was planning to take the day off.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The next day, his MINI Cooper is found abandoned at a mall parking lot in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. No sign of forced entry.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got a missing persons report. So I`ve got to look at everything from foul play to he left by himself. Everything`s being looked at. Everything`s being taken account of. We cannot rule out anything at this point.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Months into the search, a new lead. Gricar`s work laptop, missing its hard drive, is found in a Lewisburg river.

FORNICOLA: Just because we found the laptop, that`s good, but it doesn`t tell us anything.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The hard drive is eventually recovered along the riverbanks, the only solid clues in the search for district attorney Ray Gricar.

LARA GRICAR, DAUGHTER: I want to make this statement to my father: Hi, dad. I want you to know that I love you so much and my heart aches deeply -- very deeply -- for your presence. And I want you to know that I will wait for as long as it takes.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GRACE: Every day 2,300 people go missing in America, disappear, vanish. Their families left waiting, wondering, hoping but never forgetting. And neither have we.

Fifty people, 50 days. Fifty nights we go live, spotlighting America`s missing children, girls, boys, mothers, fathers, grandparents. They`re gone, but where?

Tonight, a local prosecutor who puts the bad guys away for a living sets out on a day off, then disappears into thin air. The next day, his car found abandoned in a mall parking lot, his cell phone left behind. No forced entry, no break-in, nothing stolen.

Two people report they see him in the shopping mall the day he disappears. Months later, his laptop, minus the hard drive, found flung in a Pennsylvania river. Not long after, that hard drive washes up on the river`s muddy banks.

Remember, people he puts behind bars years ago just now getting out of prison. What happened to Ray Gricar?

Straight out to Jean Casarez.

Jean, what`s the latest?

JEAN CASAREZ, "IN SESSION": Nancy, the latest is that there have been numerous suspected sightings of Ray Gricar since he vanished, since he went missing, but the minute people think they see him, he`s gone. So the question is, could this man, this elected district attorney, still be alive around the country somewhere, taken on a new identity, or is he the victim of a homicide or even a suicide?

I want to go out to Natisha Lance, NANCY GRACE producer.

Natisha, it all started on April 15, 2005. Start from the beginning. What happened that day?

NATISHA LANCE, NANCY GRACE PRODUCER: Well, on this day, Jean, Ray Gricar wanted to take the day off from work to take a drive and unwind. He called his live-in girlfriend about 11:00 in the morning, and he told her, "I`m going to go take a drive down to the antique mall. I won`t be home in time to let the dog out at noon." She said, OK, fine.

Well, 12 hours went by, Jean, and still no Ray. He hadn`t returned home. He hadn`t made a phone call. No communication.

At 11:30 p.m. that afternoon, that evening, his girlfriend then reported him missing to police. After that point, police came to that scene, and a day later is when they found Ray`s MINI Cooper, red and white MINI Cooper, in the parking lot of that antique mall.

CASAREZ: All right.

David Lohr, crime reporter for AOL.com, joining us tonight from Erie, Pennsylvania.

So, on the 15th he takes this drive, never to be heard from again. Reported late in the evening, 11:30, by his girlfriend. This was someone he had been with for four years. They lived together.

The next day, on the 15th, this was the elected district attorney, this was the man that that community saw on television all the time. He was in newspapers all the time. He had held the position for 20 years. So an all-out search began.

David Lohr, explain what that search entailed.

DAVID LOHR, CRIME REPORTER, AOL.COM: Well, after they located his vehicle in Lewisburg, they brought in some tracking dogs. They were unable to pick up on the scent, but what was interesting about the vehicle itself, it was locked. The keys weren`t inside of it. Authorities noticed there were cigarette ashes on the passenger area. Now, that --

CASAREZ: But isn`t it true, David, that the car was locked initially?

LOHR: Yes.

CASAREZ: The keys were gone. So they couldn`t even get in that car right away.

LOHR: Yes, correct. And once they were able to get inside, they observed cigarette ashes in the passenger area, which they thought was very odd. He didn`t smoke. He didn`t like to be around people who smoked cigarettes, so that was something that was out of the ordinary inside the vehicle.

His cell phone was also located in the glove box. It had been turned off.

CASAREZ: Now, how close, David, was this car to the Susquehanna River, a very big river in Pennsylvania? And was there a search at that point in time of the river area?

LOHR: Well, they didn`t immediately search the river. The river was within about half a mile or so of where the car was found. It was not until authorities started looking into his background a little more, and they discovered that back in the mid-1990s, his brother Roy had actually disappeared in Dayton, Ohio, and he had been missing for about three or four days when some joggers running along the river there located his body.

In that case, it was ultimately ruled a suicide. So based upon the history with his brother, authorities decide to conduct a search of that river.

They took boats out there. They walked up and down. They weren`t able to find any sign of him.

CASAREZ: To Natisha Lance, NANCY GRACE producer.

On the 16th of April, the day after he went missing, people in this antique mall area, which was directly across from the dirt area where the car was found, they swore that they saw him at that mall on Saturday. Explain.

LANCE: These are just two of the sightings, Jean, that people have come across thinking that they have seen Ray Gricar. But one of these people was a restaurant owner in that mall area.

He says that he saw Ray Gricar out there. He was there for about five minutes. And then the other owner corroborated that story. He says that he saw Ray Gricar in the same area that this restaurant owner saw him in, and that he was there and they were sure, 100 percent sure, that they had seen him.

CASAREZ: All right. So a search ensues. A search by air, by land, by river. Everything. Nothing. They don`t find anything.

But Natisha Lance, what did fishermen discover months after Ray Gricar went missing?

LANCE: Three months after he went missing, Jean, fishermen unknowingly come up with a laptop computer. Now, this laptop computer is connected to Ray Gricar. This is his county-issued laptop computer that he used for work.

Now, a few months later after that, six months later, to be exact, the hard drive is discovered. Initially, when that laptop was discovered, the hard drive was missing. Six months later, the hard drive is discovered.

However, Jean, nothing is able to be taken off of that hard drive. Everything is missing.

CASAREZ: All right.

To Tom Shamshak, former police chief, private investigator, instructor at Boston University.

OK. Here`s the clincher right here. Listen to this.

Months before, when Ray Gricar was planning his retirement, excited to retire after 20 years in elected office, he had talked to his girlfriend about getting a program to erase a hard drive. He didn`t want the contents, whatever they may be, personal in nature, to go back to the county when he returned the laptop when he retired. It was also found on his computer that somebody had done research of how to fry a hard drive, how to get rid of a hard drive, how to do water damage to a notebook computer.

Tom Shamshak, put that into the mix. Do you think this man could be alive and wanted to get rid of that computer?

TOM SHAMSHAK, FMR. POLICE CHIEF: Jean, good evening.

Yes, I firmly believe that he -- he`s deliberately removed himself from the area. He could very well be alive.

What was -- why would he take the computer with him to get away to relax? That`s a question that has bothered me.

And more importantly, that you couple that with this research months earlier about how to destroy the laptop, it doesn`t bode well for, you know, authorities here. He could be anywhere in the country.

And then again, you know, we heard about the -- there were some medical issues that appeared to be emerging. His girlfriend wanted him to go and see a doctor, Jean.

CASAREZ: That`s right, because he had been tired. He was taking so many naps.

To Ben Levitan, telecommunications expert from Raleigh, North Carolina.

You are the computer expert. I`ve got so many questions for you.

But the first one is, when you`ve got a computer and you`ve got a hard drive -- remember, the computer was finally found in the river; the hard drive out of it and found in the banks, embedded in the dirt, on the side of the river.

Does a hard drive just sort of fall out of a computer?

BEN LEVITAN, TELECOMMUNICATIONS EXPERT: Absolutely not. This -- you know, we`re talking 2005. It takes a little bit of sophistication to know how to take out a hard disk.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GRICAR: I was asked how often I spoke with my dad and communicated with him. We spoke on average three times a week. We were very close, and we had vacation time with each other probably four weeks out of the year. He would normally come and visit me twice in Seattle, or in California, when I was there previously.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Former district attorney Ray Gricar called his girlfriend on the morning of April 15, 2005, telling her he was going for a drive. Nobody has had contact with Ray since that morning.

FORNICOLA: Given the fact that I had spoken with him approximately 11:30 in the morning, I was -- I expected him to be home at 5:00 when I arrived home from work.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Investigators began searching for Ray when his girlfriend reported him missing that night. His car, a red MINI Cooper, was found abandoned at a nearby antique mall parking lot. His cell phone was still in the car, and there was no sign of forced entry.

DUANE DIXON, BELLEFONTE POLICE CHIEF: The car was locked up in a dirt parking lot and the cell phone was left in the car. And there was I believe a pack of Eclipse gum in the car. And through the processing of the car, they also found some cigarette ashes on the passenger floor.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Investigators continued to sift through files, conduct new interviews, and looking through tips from the public, but have found no more clues that could lead them to Ray.

GRACE: Take a look, everybody. This prosecutor has been missing now.

What do you think happened?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CASAREZ: This man was not only the elected district attorney of Centre County, Pennsylvania, he was a father. He had so much to live for. He was on the verge of retirement -- getting a very good pension, I should say, when he did retire -- and he was planning with his girlfriend that they would travel and they would just enjoy life.

I want to go out to Pat Brown, criminal profiler, joining us tonight out of Washington, D.C.

Pat, listen to this, because you look at patterns of people. That`s what you focus on in part in your career.

This man, Ray Gricar, at one point, when he was the district attorney, he took off. Nobody knew where he was from work.

He had driven from Pennsylvania to Cleveland, Ohio, where he originally was, from to watch a Cleveland Indians game. And he came back. Everyone was so worried. And he said, you know, I just needed to get away for a little while, I`m fine.

What do you make of that and now what has happened, just totally gone off the face of this earth?

PAT BROWN, CRIMINAL PROFILER: Well, I take a look at all the behaviors going way back. I believe this man was living a life he did not want to live.

He had expressed interest in changing his life, one of those people who did drop off the face of the earth. Then he wants to get rid of his hard drive, absolutely obliterate it, which means to me there`s something on that hard drive he doesn`t want people to know.

CASAREZ: You know, Pat Brown and Marc Klaas, we begged the family to come on this show because we want to find this man.

Everybody, look at his picture. Ray Gricar, look at him. See if you have seen him.

We want to go into the sightings, but Marc Klaas, president and founder of KlaasKids Foundation, the family said they don`t want to do any more media in the search of their father, their relative, their boyfriend.

What does that say to you, when the family will not participate in this national effort to try to find him?

MARC KLAAS, KLAASKIDS FOUNDATION: Well, obviously, everybody reacts differently to loss. And as I understand it, his daughter has had an extremely difficult time coping with the fact that her father is missing. And I can`t imagine that she wouldn`t want to bring him back.

I think two other questions that need to be asked, though, are, number one, why would anybody else besides Ray, who had researched removing his hard drive, take his hard drive out of his laptop, obliterate it, and obliterate it separately from the laptop itself? And we also have to remember, Jean, that he disappeared from a public location, yet absolutely nobody saw a crime occur.

CASAREZ: That`s right. That`s right. Some really good points, Marc Klaas.

Natisha Lance, there have been numerous suspected sightings of this man. Let`s start with the first one that came a few days after he went missing.

It was in Pennsylvania. It was in the Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, area. What did that person tell police?

LANCE: This person told police that there was a man who was dressed in a suit, he was talking about baseball -- Cleveland baseball, nonetheless -- and he was a fan of the Indians. Now, this is very interesting, because Ray Gricar was a fan of the Cleveland Indians, just like you had mentioned before, that he had taken that trip, gone, driving to go to the Cleveland Indians game.

This man says that he recognized this person to be Ray Gricar the next day after he had seen a show on disappearances. That was the first sighting.

Now, there have been other sightings, too. There was one at a Chili`s back in Texas in 2005.

This woman says that she saw who she believed to be Ray Gricar, he was sitting at a table by himself. She took photos of him with her camera.

Those photos ended up in the hands of the FBI. The FBI said they don`t match the characteristics of Ray Gricar.

However, his girlfriend was so -- she was so determined, and she had felt so strongly that this was him. However, his ex-wife and his daughter disagreed.

CASAREZ: So there was a difference of opinion. The FBI came in saying they believed it was not him.

I want to go to the attorneys, Anne Bremner, defense attorney out of Seattle; Bradford Cohen, defense attorney from Miami, Florida.

Very quickly, Anne Bremner, there was another sighting in the state of Michigan, a former police officer. And on the site -- listen to this -- a composite artist. That`s what he did for a living. And he believed he saw him in Michigan.

ANNE BREMNER, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: That`s amazing. I mean, a case like this is the old saying, curiouser and curiouser. I mean, it`s just bizarre that he could still be out there. But all indications indicate he`s probably still out there.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FORNICOLA: There are so many roads that we can go down, and none of them lead us anywhere.

GRACE: This prosecutor has been missing, vanished into thin air.

What do you think happened?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Former district attorney Ray Gricar called his girlfriend on the morning of April 15, 2005, telling her he was going for a drive. Nobody has had contact with Ray since that morning.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The next day his MINI Cooper is found abandoned, no sign of forced entry.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Authorities still have few clues about his disappearance. They haven`t ruled out foul play.

FORNICOLA: I want for you to come home. We will wait for as long as we need to.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CASAREZ: I`m Jean Casarez.

I want to go out to David Lohr, crime reporter for AOL.com news, joining us out of Pennsylvania.

David, is there any evidence at all that this could have been a homicide? Any cases that he had prosecuted recent to his disappearance or in the last few years that point towards somebody wanting to get him?

LOHR: Well, Jean, I had a chance to speak with his nephew, Tony Gricar, yesterday, and he said at the time of his disappearance, he had been working on a heroin bust that was actually at that time one of the largest busts in that area of Pennsylvania. But according to him, they`ve spoken to authorities about that, and they didn`t think that there was any reason why anybody involved in that case would have offed him.

CASAREZ: What about suicide since his brother had committed suicide? Was there any issue in regard to his mental health?

LOHR: Not really. I mean, according to the nephew, he never exhibited any signs. And the nephew himself, he actually questions his own dad`s death.

He said his father was afraid of the water, didn`t know how to swim, didn`t want anything to do with the water. So, in his mind, you know, if you`re somebody who`s afraid of fire, are you going to burn yourself to death?

So those questions have always been on his mind in regard to his father. And in regard to his uncle, he was there the week after he went missing. He stood on the bridge. He said that it was about a 25-foot drop to the water below.

He said it was shallow. The worst thing that would have happened is you would have broke your leg. He said more concerning at that point would have been hypothermia. So it seems unlikely he would have jumped into the water and drowned.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are continuing our investigation into the disappearance of attorney Ray Gricar, along with the PSP, the Pennsylvania State Police, the FBI, the local authorities, and sheriff`s department. The main purpose of the area for the search continues to be in the Lewisburg area and along the river.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GRACE: Vanished into thin air.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Look for her.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We just need to find her.

GRACE: So many cases.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re still looking.

GRACE: So few leads.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Missing.

GRACE: Missing person.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s our duty to find her.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Missing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The witness seen the suspect on Nancy Grace.

GRACE: There is a God.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nancy Grace show was out there for us.

GRACE: Found. Alive. 50 people, 50 days, 50 nights. Let`s don`t give up.

PATTY FORNICOLA, GIRLFRIEND OF MISSING DAD: There are many things about Ray that make him special, and there`s not one favorite thing. He`s just an incredibly wonderful, caring, and giving person.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: After 20 years on the job as district attorney of Centre County, Ray Gricar was easing into his last months before retirement. He set out on a day off from work to head for a drive along route 192 in Pennsylvania. He told his live-in girlfriend he would not be home in time to take out the dog. But to this day, Gricar still has not come home.

FORNICOLA: When I woke him on Friday morning, it was a typical wake- up call. I woke him. We did our usual routine. And he had indicated that he thought he was going to -- he was planning to take the day off.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The next day, his Mini Cooper is found abandoned in a mall parking lot in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. No sign of forced entry.

DUANE DIXON, BELLEFONTE POLICE CHIEF: I got a missing persons report. So, I got a look at everything from foul play to he left by himself. Everything`s being looked at. Everything`s being taken an account of. We cannot rule out anything at this point.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Months into the search, a new lead. Gricar`s work laptop, missing its hard drive, is found in a Lewisburg River.

FORNICOLA: Just because we found the laptop, that`s good, but it doesn`t tell us anything.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The hard drive is eventually recovered along the river banks. The only solid clues in the search for district attorney, Ray Gricar.

LARA GRICAR, DAUGHTER OF RAY GRICAR: I want to make the statement to my father. Hi, dad. I want you to know that I love you so much and my heart aches deeply, very deeply for your presence. And I want you to know that I will wait for as long as it takes.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GRACE: Every day 2,300 people go missing in America, disappear, vanish. Their families left waiting, wondering, hoping, but never forgetting. And neither have we. Fifty people, 50 days, 50 nights. We go live, spotlighting America`s missing children, girls, boys, mothers, fathers, grandparents. They`re gone, but where?

Tonight, a local prosecutor who puts the bad guys away for a living sets out on a day off, then disappears into thin air. Next day, his car found abandoned in a mall parking lot, his cell phone left behind. No forced entry, no break-in, nothing stolen. Two people report they see him in the shopping mall the day he disappears. Months later, his laptop, minus the hard drive, found flung in a Pennsylvania River. Not long after, that hard drive washes up on the river`s muddy banks.

Remember, people he puts behind bars years ago just now getting out of prison. What happened to Ray Gricar? Straight out to Jean Casarez. Jean, what`s the latest?

JEAN CASAREZ, LEGAL CORRESPONDENT, "IN SESSION": The district attorney`s office in Centre County, Pennsylvania, which was the district attorney`s office that this man was their elected official for 20 years and a father also, they have now taken what is called facial recognition photography of what he would look like today, and they are distributing it all over the country to see if anyone by this look, someone that looks like him, has tried to get a driver`s license.

But let`s start at the beginning. Natisha Lance, back on April 15th of 2005, it appears as though Ray Gricar only made one phone call that day. Who was that phone call to?

NATISHA LANCE, NANCY GRACE PRODUCER: He made one phone call and that was to his girlfriend of four years. He called her to let her know that he wouldn`t be home in time to let the dog out because he was going for a ride down route 192 to an antique mall. Well, hours went by, 12 hours to be exact. At 11:30, he still had not returned home. She had been expecting him at 5:00 p.m. That is when she called police. The next day, Jean, is when they located his red and white Mini Cooper in the parking lot of that antique mall, and Ray Gricar has not been seen since then.

CASAREZ: But Natisha Lance, isn`t it true that in Centre County, one of the female assistant district attorneys believed that she saw him that afternoon, on Friday?

LANCE: She did. She believed that she saw him in the back of the courthouse at 3:00 p.m. She said that he wasn`t in his car nor was he in his girlfriend`s car, because she also worked at the courthouse, but he was in some other vehicle. And she remembers being relieved because she was leaving work early, and she felt, well, the district attorney`s leaving work early, so I don`t feel so badly about it. However, police have now said that they looked over surveillance video, and they did not see him at the courthouse. However, she still remains convinced that she saw him that day.

CASAREZ: Pat Brown, criminal profiler, author of "The Profiler," coming to us from Washington, D.C. tonight. Here`s where I`m confused, OK? Because this was an assistant district attorney that worked with him day in and day out. Facts are her profession. She said she saw him behind the courthouse that afternoon, but law enforcement seemed to discount it at the time because he had called the girlfriend saying he was on his way to take a drive.

PAT BROWN, CRIMINAL PROFILER: Well, that`s true. But you know, first of all, I think what he was telling his girlfriend was where she could find the car. He told her exactly where he was going and where the car would basically be found out. I believe he met somebody up there and that person was the one who brought him whatever documentation he needed, maybe a second passport, which you can buy if you prepare well enough. The things you need to leave the country and probably gave him a ride someplace where he could then sneak away.

And is it possible that that -- during that process, they returned to the courthouse because he forgot something and wanted to get it and so that person brought him there and -- I don`t know. But, I mean, they have to look at every one of those leads. But I think they need to also look outside the country as well because if he did get the second passport, he could easily be living down in the Caribbean for part of the year or all of the year, could have just restarted some place else, maybe even in Europe.

CASAREZ: Yes. And that was a question I had. David Lohr, crime reporter for AOLNews.com, joining us from Pennsylvania. Did he have a valid passport? And have authorities looked in that vein? We know they looked at transportation all over the country, buses, taxis, anything he could have taken at the time, but what about a passport?

DAVID LOHR, CRIME REPORTER: My understanding is that he did have a passport. That`s something that they`ve looked into. They haven`t found anything, you know, to indicate he`d even left the country or gone anywhere.

CASAREZ: To Dr. Doug Bremner, professor of Psychiatry and Radiology, author of "Before You Take That Pill," joining us from Atlanta. How common is it for someone to just leave their life to take on a brand new identity somewhere else?

DR. DOUG BREMNER, M.D. PROFESSOR OF PSYCHIATRY & RADIOLOGY: Well, it`s not very common, Jean, but we can`t discount that fact. I mean, if you look at everything involved in this case, we`re sort of left with that possibility. I mean, why would he go do an internet search on how to get rid of your hard drive? Most of us are trying to not destroy our hard drive and to preserve it. So, why did he want to destroy what is in essence county property? It just doesn`t make any sense.

CASAREZ: Right. To Bradford Cohen, defense attorney, out of Miami. What would be the explanation to want to get rid of the contents on your hard drive before you turn your computer in, and then low and behold, the computer and the hard drive are found on the river and on the banks of the Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania?

BRADFORD COHEN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I mean, it`s very obvious that he wanted to get rid of whatever was on that hard drive that was either incriminating or something he didn`t want anyone to see or something he was embarrassed about. I mean, obviously, the way that this went down, though, the thing that troubles me is there`s not a lot of planning.

If you are going to get a passport and start a whole new life, which is very difficult to do, it`s not something you can do very easily, then why would you then leave your car somewhere, dump your computer within a half mile of there? Why wouldn`t you dump the computer someplace else? Why wouldn`t you burn the computer? I mean, there`s a million ways to get rid of it, but why would you specifically think of that?

CASAREZ: And it wasn`t found for a while. Tonight, please help us find a missing young woman named Kimberly Ann Riley. She`s 19 years old. She vanished on December 23rd, 1998 from Lorain, Ohio. She is a white female, 5`1", 120 pounds, with blond hair and blue eyes. If you have any information, please call 440-204-2105.

If your loved one`s missing and you need help, go to CNN.com/nancygrace and send us your story. We want to help you find your loved ones.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GRACE: Tonight, a local prosecutor who puts the bad guys away for a living sets out on a day off, then disappears into thin air. Next day, his car found abandoned in a mall parking lot, his cell phone left behind. No forced entry, no break-in, nothing stolen. Two people report they see him in the shopping mall the day he disappears. Months later, his laptop minus the hard drive found flung in a Pennsylvania River. Not long after, that hard drive washes up on the river`s muddy banks. Remember people, he puts behind bars years ago just now getting out of prison. What happened to Ray Gricar?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are actively investigating the missing person report of District Attorney Ray Gricar.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re told Gricar was driving this car, a red and white Mini Cooper. Police say he was driving north on Route 192 towards Union County.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just a nice country-type road to go for a drive, for relaxation, and that`s what we understand was taking place.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gricar`s family says he didn`t return home and hasn`t been in touch. Police have been driving stretches of Route 192. So far, they`ve seen no signs of an accident. And state police are involved using a helicopter to search for Gricar and his vehicle.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right now, we have no word on any type of foul play. Right now, it`s just a missing persons report.

GRACE: But your friend was a felony prosecutor. What do you think happened to him? Foul play? Has he just gone on a walkabout? What?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He would have definitely told his family, particularly, his daughter if he was just going for a trip or vacation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CASAREZ: Ray Gricar alive? Has he assumed another identity and is living in this country? There have been a lot of suspected sightings of him, but as soon as he`s seen, he`s gone. In his locked car was found his cell phone, but his keys, his sunglasses, and his wallet never recovered. Never found. Natisha Lance, NANCY GRACE producer, there were a number of polygraphs that were taken in this case. Who took them and what were the results?

LANCE: Ray Gricar`s girlfriend took the polygraph as well as his daughter, and they both passed those polygraphs, Jean.

CASAREZ: All right. To David Lohr, crime reporter, AOLNews.com, joining us out of Pennsylvania. Here`s one thing I`m confused about because there was a massive search in the Susquehanna River and divers went in, there were aerials. People really searched that river. And months later, the laptop was found in that exact river. Who found it and where was it?

LOHR: It was two fishermen that found it. They were fishing under the bridge, and it was kind of wedged in between these pillars down there. According to police, they feel it had probably been down there for as long as the district attorney had been missing. So, it`s probably discarded that day or thereabouts.

CASAREZ: I just wonder why it wasn`t found at the time. And the hard drive was found a few months after that, right? On the banks of the river?

LOHR: Yes, that`s correct. It was found near a railroad bridge about a mile or so further down the river. A woman who was walking along the banks stumbled upon it.

CASAREZ: Natisha Lance --

LOHR: Now, when I --

CASAREZ: Yes, go ahead, David.

LOHR: When I spoke with the nephew, he did say that the river changes a lot. It goes up, it goes down, the currents and things of that nature. So, that could be the reason why those items weren`t located right away.

CASAREZ: Yes, that is an explanation. Natisha Lance, that hard drive possibly contained a very big key for investigators. They tried to find the contents of that hard drive. What did they try to do?

LOHR: They did. They went through great lengths to try to find the contents of that hard drive. They took it to the secret service, and they also took it to the most premier people who they could take it to crawl on track, which is a company who is able to get documents and data from the "Challenger" space shuttle when it exploded back in 2003. So, these are the people who would know what they were doing, but they were not able to get anything from this hard drive.

CASAREZ: To telecommunications expert, Ben Levitan, joining us tonight out of Raleigh, North Carolina. So, they took that hard drive to the premier institutes in this country for deciphering information. Can technology progress so at some point they could get information on that hard drive or is it a null and void issue?

VOICE OF BEN LEVITAN, TELECOMMUNICATIONS EXPERT: Well, it has progressed. In 2005, you`re looking at something that looks exactly like a DVD drive and is about as fragile as a mirror. And if you can get all the pieces together and glue it back together, you can get the files back off it, but we`re talking six months later. And these are the best people in the business. They couldn`t have gotten anything off of it.

CASAREZ: And what --

LEVITAN: That wouldn`t happen today because most of our hard drives don`t move anymore. They`re solid state.

CASAREZ: And what does it take to get in this vintage computer, 2005, a hard drive out of the computer? What does it take?

LEVITAN: Well, in 2005, you`d just have to basically read your manual. And they`re made to be removed and changed and swapped. But an average user would have to have a little bit of sophistication to know how to take their hard drive out. And this seems like it was deliberate.

CASAREZ: Right. And everybody, remember, Ray Gricar had voiced to some of his close friends that he wanted to erase the information, at least, some of it on the hard drive before he turned it back in that following December when he retired. Also, somebody had looked up on the computer, it was found later, at the office how to fry a hard drive, how to do water damage to a notebook computer. Let`s go out to the phone lines. Janet in Florida. Hi, Janet.

JANET, FLORIDA: Hi, Jean. How are you?

CASAREZ: I`m fine. Thank you for calling.

JANET: Sure. I have a question. If Ray left willingly and he`s out somewhere living, alive, could he be charged with abandonment or face any criminal charges?

CASAREZ: Good question. Anne Bremner, defense attorney out of the state of Washington, joining us from Seattle. Any criminal charges?

ANNE BREMNER, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: That`s a really tough one. I mean, it`s not a crime to disappear. But criminal impersonation, things like that that are affirmative, it could be. There could also be financial issues. We just don`t know. But somebody who would want to disappear, maybe he did, not criminal.

CASAREZ: Right. Right. I don`t see any either unless you`re talking about bank accounts and different things --

ANNE BREMNER: Exactly.

CASAREZ: Assuming someone else`s identity. Bradford Cohen, defense attorney, disagree? Agree?

COHEN: I agree wholeheartedly. I mean, anyone can just walk away from whatever they`re walking away from. The only charges that could possibly stem from this are if he possibly says I`m Bob Smith instead of who he really is, and he takes on someone else`s identity. Other than that, anyone can walk away from their job and never return and not tell anyone and not do anything. That`s not criminal at all.

CASAREZ: But Dr. Doug Bremner, professor of Psychiatry and Radiology, joining us out of Atlanta, here`s -- I don`t understand, why do that? Why just not tell the person you`re with that this isn`t the life I want, retire, retire early if you need to? Why just leave?

DR. DOUG BREMNER: Well, you know, a lot of people have difficulty telling the truth. That`s not at all unusual. Maybe, you know, we could speculate on a number of things. Maybe he wasn`t happy in his relationship. Maybe there was something from his past he didn`t want to talk about. It`s not -- I`m not all that surprised that someone would deal with something that was difficult by just walking away and trying to start a new life. It seems a little bit cold in terms of his family, but --

CASAREZ: Natisha Lance, tell us about the person of Ray Gricar, because he was highly respected.

LANCE: He was so highly respected, Jean. He had been the prosecutor in this county for 20 years. He had worked on several different cases, all very high-profile cases. His colleagues all respected him. Even the defense attorneys had a huge amount of respect for him. So, he is somebody who will be greatly missed from this community.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GRACE: These are the faces of America`s missing. Every 30 seconds, another child, sister, brother, father, mother disappears. Their families wondering, waiting, hoping. We have not forgotten.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kayla Berg disappeared in Wisconsin in August, 2009 when she was 15 years old. Police say she was dropped off by a friend at an abandoned home. Kevin Kielcheski was charged with recklessly endangering safety in the second degree. He`s awaiting trial and has a court date in April. Her mother says her daughter would not choose to leave home.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She had called me earlier that day. She was staying with her dad and told me that she might possibly be going over by some friends, hanging out. If she did, she would give me a call back later. She told me that she loved me, and I told her I loved her too, and that we would chat later. And that was the last time that we heard from her.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kayla was active, her mom says and was on the gymnastics team in both junior high and high school.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Bright, energetic, fun-loving, very caring, would do anything for anybody that she could. Not an excellent student, but she got decent grades in school. Looked forward to possibly going on to college into arts for dance choreography.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At the time of her disappearance, Kayla was 5`2" and 108 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes. Her ears and naval were pierced, and she has a scar on the right side of her nose, and one on her shin.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just the way she was, I know her. She would never do this. Ever. And she would never go this long without contacting either me, her dad, her brother, her friends. It`s not in her nature.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Police say they are following leads, but Kayla`s fate remains a mystery. If you have any information, call 1-800-the-lost.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GRACE: I`m Nancy Grace. See you tomorrow night, nine o`clock sharp eastern. And until then, we will be looking. Keep the faith, friend.

END