(Gainesville, GA) In 2005, school teacher and beauty queen Tara Grinstead of Ocilla, GA went missing from her home and has not been seen since.
For the past 11 years, her family, friends and many people in South Georgia have not given up their search for Grinstead. The case of this missing woman is the largest case file in the state of Georgia. Hundreds upon hundreds of suspects have been interviewed, swabbed for DNA, and determined to have no connections to the disappearance of Grinstead.
The last time that Grinstead was seen was on Oct. 23, 2005. That day, she helped girls with their hair and makeup in her home for the Miss Sweet Potato Festival Pageant that she also attended later that evening, after the pageant Grinstead went to a party at the Irwin County School Superintendent’s house, and as she pulled out of the driveway, that was the last time she was ever seen.
Once Grinstead did not show up on Monday morning to Irwin County High School, family and friends knew that something was wrong. No one had heard from her and no one had seen her. Her car was found at home and her cell phone was plugged into the charger beside her bed, but her purse and keys were missing.
On Feb. 23, 2017, the GBI announced that they would be holding a press conference at the Irwin County Courthouse later that day. During the press conference, it was announced that Ryan Alexander Duke had been arrested and charged with the murder of Grinstead. In the arrest warrants, it was stated that Duke had burglarized Grinstead’s home and used his hands to cause her harm.
Days later, the GBI began investigating Hudson Pecan Orchard which is where Duke supposedly disposed of Grinstead’s body. The GBI is no longer investigating in this location, but due to a gag order that has been issued on this case, there has not been a report on if a body was found.
After the gag order was in place, Bo Dukes was arrested for concealing the death of Grinstead and for helping hide the body. Dukes was out on bail less than 12 hours of being charged, many speculate he made a deal with the GBI for information in exchange for a lighter sentence and bail. Hudson Pecan Orchard is owned by the uncle of Dukes.
Both Duke and Dukes attended the high school where Grinstead was a teacher and graduated prior to her disappearance. Duke and Dukes were roommates for a while, around the time when Grinstead disappeared.
Atlanta filmmaker Payne Lindsey created a podcast this past year titled Up and Vanished in which he, along with Dr. Maurice Godwin, investigate the Grinstead case. Lindsey and Godwin have received praise for getting the Grinstead case back in the National spotlight, and many believe that they can be credited with helping with the arrests.
For more information on the Grinstead case and to listen to the Up and Vanished podcasts, visit http://www.upandvanished.com. If anyone has information on the disappearance of Tara Grinstead, they are urged to contact the GBI immediately.