BELLWOOD, BLAIR COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — It’s been 42 years since a high school football player went missing after a big Friday night game. The community was shocked when his body was discovered and his death ruled a homicide. The killer or killers of Nicholas Grassmyer have never been caught.
“I still come down. I still plant flowers every year,” says Nick’s father Bob, as he stands at the gravestone at Logan Valley Cemetery in Bellwood.
Looking at the marker Bob says, “We picked it out because he liked sports. He played football. In fact, he played football the last night he lived, and he played baseball.”
Nick was only 16, a junior at the Bellwood Antis Area High School . That night he played halfback in a victorious game against Tyrone, Then, he went to visit his girlfriend, calling his parents a little after midnight, saying he’d walk a short distance to their home..
But the next morning, Bob says, “I woke up about 5 o’clock and the wife was sitting at the table and I asked her what was the matter and she said Nick hadn’t come home yet. “
After learning Nick wasn’t at his girlfriend’s house they headed down route 865, out of Bellwood and toward route 220, the path Nick would have walked. They found no sign of him and called police who joined their search.
“We couldn’t find him and I called some of my relatives, nieces, nephews, and brothers, and we all started looking for him. He wasn’t the type that would run away or go away without telling,” Bob remembers.
The football team, the fire company and the entire community came to help, but they still couldn’t find nick.
“I think it was Sunday, there was some joggers jogging up Janesville Pike up near the reservoir above Tyrone and they saw him laying down over the bank and they called police,” Bob says.
Nick’s body was found off route 859 out of Bellwood, about six miles from his home. His cousin identified him, but that wasn’t good enough for Bob who insisted on going to the scene.
Bob’s son, Bob, Nick’s half-brother was there when his dad returned home.
“I remember when he came back he told my stepmother in the house and I was outside and all I could hear was her screaming and I can still hear that,” the younger Bob says.
An autopsy determined that Nick died of a fractured skull and the coroner ruled the death a homicide. Bob 39 at the time, expected the case to be solved quickly. Now he’s 81, and still looking for answers.
“I’m still surprised. It’s been a long time, not knowing who, why, where, what for,” he says.
His wife, Nick’s mother Mary Anne, died of cancer at the age of 54 in 1994.
Bob says, “I had her in the house in a hospital bed and she laid there all day long and looked up at the wall where his picture was.”
Always missing Nick and never knowing what happened to him.
Bob hasn’t given up hope that he’ll find out before he dies, saying, “I think there’s somebody out there, still alive, that might know something, yes.”