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Grinstead, Tara - (10/22/2005); Irwin County, Georgia
Topic Started: Mar 13 2006, 06:59 AM (6,142 Views)
monkalup
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The Old Heifer! An oxymoron, of course.
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http://www.tiftongazette.com/homepage/loca...eyword=topstory

Published January 17, 2006 09:32 pm - OCILLA — Officials from the high-tech reconnaissance group Texas Equusearch and the Irwin County Sheriff’s Office will conduct another search for missing teacher Tara Grinstead this weekend, 89 days after the former beauty queen went missing.

Authorities plan another search for missing schoolteacher


By JD Sumner

OCILLA —
Officials from the high-tech reconnaissance group Texas Equusearch and the Irwin County Sheriff’s Office will conduct another search for missing teacher Tara Grinstead this weekend, 89 days after the former beauty queen went missing.


Grinstead’s disappearance has been one of the most publicized in Georgia history, yet with all the attention authorities still remain baffled about what happened.

Georgia Bureau of Investigation spokesperson John Bankhead said Tuesday that there was an ongoing investigation but that there wasn’t much else he could release.

Command Center Director Linda Fletcher said what they need now are volunteers to help search the area.

“We need people to call in and register so we’ll know how many people to expect,” Fletcher said.

When asked where the search would focus this time around, Fletcher wouldn’t say, instead saying that too much information about the investigation has been released already.

Volunteers will assemble early Saturday morning for a briefing before being given assigned search areas.

Fletcher said volunteers have traveled from as far away as Canada to aid in the search for Grinstead.

“Some of them have had lost loved ones and can relate to the family’s situation,” Fletcher said. “Others just care that much.”

Officially, GBI and Irwin County Law Enforcement finished searching grids in Irwin County two weeks after the teacher’s disappearance. But since that time, volunteer organizations have searched Irwin and Ben Hill counties for the teacher.

The volunteer organization “Teens for Tara” is organizing a pageant to raise more money for the reward for her return. The “Miss Spirit of Tara” pageant is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. March 4 at the Tift Theatre for Performing Arts.

For more information, go to www.findtara.com or call the command center at (229) 468-0667.


Lauran

"If you have a chance to accomplish something that will make things better for people coming behind you, and you don't do that, you are wasting your time on this earth." The late, great Roberto Clemente.


In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any copyrighted work in this message is distributed under fair use without profit or payment for non-profit research and educational purposes only.
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monkalup
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The Old Heifer! An oxymoron, of course.
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http://www.accessnorthga.com/news/ap_newfu...ry.asp?ID=70429

Searchers complete third major search for missing teacher

The Associated Press - OCILLA, Ga.

Searchers have completed a third search for missing Irwin County High School teacher Tara Grinstead, with no major discoveries reported.

Linda Fletcher, director of the volunteer Tara Command Center, said Monday that about 150 searchers, some volunteers from as far away as Tampa, Fla., and Beaumont, Texas, took part in the weekend search in Irwin County, coordinated by Texas Equusearch, which uses aerial images and other technology to locate missing persons.

Fletcher declined to disclose what may have been found, but said searchers were able to exclude certain areas of the 360,000 acre county from future searches.

"We shall continue to search until we find her," Fletcher said. "We're not going to be stopped."

Grinstead, 30, was last seen Oct. 22 at her home in Ocilla. The former beauty queen who was pursuing an advanced degree, disappeared after attending a cookout with friends.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is investigating her disappearance.
Lauran

"If you have a chance to accomplish something that will make things better for people coming behind you, and you don't do that, you are wasting your time on this earth." The late, great Roberto Clemente.


In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any copyrighted work in this message is distributed under fair use without profit or payment for non-profit research and educational purposes only.
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monkalup
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The Old Heifer! An oxymoron, of course.
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Mystery still shrouds disappearance of beauty queen, popular teacher in south Georgia[/size]

Posted on Sat, Feb. 04, 2006

ELLIOTT MINOR
Associated Press


OCILLA, Ga. - An orange jack-o-lantern, illuminated by an electric bulb, still grins mockingly from Tara Grinstead's porch - a Halloween adornment the beauty queen and promising young teacher put out just before she vanished more than three months ago.

Grinstead's disappearance on Oct. 22 has fueled lots of speculation and rumors on Web blogs and has been the fodder for national talk shows. Despite massive searches involving hundreds of volunteers and countless hours of investigative work by various agencies, no one can find her.

Authorities have never said they suspect the 30-year-old woman was a victim of foul play. A cell phone that she was known to always carry was found in her house, her unlocked car was in the driveway, but her purse and keys were gone.

A latex glove - the type worn by police officers and medical workers - was found in her front yard.

"There's a lot of speculation," Police Chief Billy Hancock said. "We certainly are still considering it a missing persons case and the possibility of abduction is not being ruled out. We don't have any evidence of that."

While Grinstead is just one of 2,300 missing adults and children in Georgia, she is easily the most well-known.

Her disappearance has led to the posting of $200,000 in rewards and a huge outpouring of support in Ocilla, a south Georgia farm town of 3,300. Volunteers have set up a Tara Command Center in the town's senior center with a telephone tip line and a Web page, http://www.findtara.com. Students have formed a group called "Teens for Tara" and co-workers have formed "Teachers for Tara."

"This is a teacher who significantly affected her students, not just in the classroom," said Wendy McFarland, a fellow teacher at Irwin County High School. "She was willing to help kids no matter what problems they had. If it was academic or personal, she was there for them."

Supporters plan to honor her in March with a "Miss Spirit of Tara" pageant in nearby Tifton, where Grinstead won the title of Miss Tifton in 1999. Money raised from the $75 entry fees will be used to increase the reward money.

Two rewards are being offered: $100,000 for Grinstead's safe return and $100,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone responsible for her disappearance. Half of the reward for her safe return is funded by Liberty National Insurance Co., where Grinstead's father is a vice president, while the other half is from donors in Ocilla and surrounding communities. An anonymous individual is funding the second reward.

Grinstead's sister, Anita Gattis, has made frequent appearances on nationally televised crime shows to appeal for information leading to her. People who before October had never heard of Ocilla, about 165 miles southeast of Atlanta, now ask about the Grinstead case when meet people from the town on their travels.

"It's put Ocilla on the map," said Linda Fletcher, command center director. "We've gotten thousands of e-mails from all over the world."

Gattis, who lives with her physician husband in nearby Hawkinsville, says Grinstead was too considerate and dedicated to simply leave town.

"She would not have done that to my mother," Gattis said. "She and my mom were very close. She would have never left her students without a teacher. She had too much respect of her students to leave them."

In addition, Grinstead was devoted to her dog, Dolly Madison, and her cat, Herman Talmadge, and wouldn't have abandoned them, Gattis said.

The sister believes Grinstead was abducted or worse. "I think someone she knew is involved," Gattis said. "I think something bad happened."

Before her disappearance, Grinstead was despondent over the end of a six-year relationship with a former Ocilla police officer, friends say. He joined the Army after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and now works as a civilian security consultant in Iraq, with occasional visits to Ocilla.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has questioned him and several of Grinstead's other male friends, but has made no arrests.

Grinstead lived in a small brick-and-frame house that is still surrounded by yellow crime-scene tape. The decorations she put out for Halloween remain on the front steps. Supporters have wrapped her mail box and several pine trees with yellow, black and red ribbons.

Yellow expresses their desire for her safe return, while red and black are the colors of Irwin County High.

A "Happy Birthday" banner hangs beneath a front window, commemorating the 31st birthday she would have celebrated on Nov. 14.

Friends say Grinstead competed in pageants to win scholarships, and she encouraged other young women to do the same.

She paid for most of her college education at Valdosta State University with beauty pageant scholarships, friends say. After receiving a master's degree, she continued her studies and was preparing to to enter a doctoral program, Gattis said.

On Oct. 22, the last day she was seen, Grinstead had helped contestants in a beauty pageant Miss Sweet Potato Festival in Fitzgerald and then attended a cookout with friends in Ocilla. She was reported missing two days later when she failed to report to work.

The GBI has assumed responsibility for the investigation, with help from the local police and sheriff's departments.

"There's nothing new. It's still under investigation and the search for Tara continues," said GBI spokeswoman Vicki Metz.

The case has frustrated the police chief and Irwin County Sheriff Donnie Youghn.
"I just wish there was some way ... we could come up with closure on this for the family and for us," the sheriff said.


http://www.ledger-enquirer.com/mld/ledgere...al/13792892.htm[/b]
Lauran

"If you have a chance to accomplish something that will make things better for people coming behind you, and you don't do that, you are wasting your time on this earth." The late, great Roberto Clemente.


In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any copyrighted work in this message is distributed under fair use without profit or payment for non-profit research and educational purposes only.
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monkalup
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http://www.walb.com/Global/story.asp?S=4538336&nav=5kZQ

February 22, 2006

Irwin Co - For four months, family, friends and law enforcers have searched for any signs of missing Irwin County teacher Tara Grinstead. Those searches have been fruitless, but they're not giving up hope. They're looking into another method to find the former beauty queen.

It was fall when Tara Grinstead disappeared. Halloween was just a few days away, but the dark holiday passed without any sign of Tara, casting a shadow over her 31st birthday, Thanksgiving, and even Christmas.

The only flowers sent to Tara's house for Valentine's day, arrived with the signs of Spring, but still there are no signs of Tara.

Brett Walker says, "We're really anxious because we want to know something, and see if she's okay, or if something's happened to her."

Almost every method known to man has been used to locate Tara: by foot, with dogs, from the air, and in the water, all without success.

Irwin Co. High School Principal Bobby Conner says, "I certainly would exhaust all efforts in trying to come up with some answers and the family and for us."

And they hope renowned psychic Carla Baron will bring those answers. She's coming to Ocilla to lend her help to the search, and tape segments for her show "Haunting Evidence" that will air on Court TV in June.

Walker says, "It's like there's a big hole in all our hearts here. It's an emptiness. I don't really believe in psychics and all that, but if she can help us get her back, then, that'll be great."

Conner says, "I can see their motivation in doing anything to try to get some answers to try and get some closure."

At Irwin County High School, the administration is trying to move on without forgetting Tara. Her classroom has been reassigned, another History teacher hired to fill her spot.

The Tara Search command post has moved from the Senior Center in Ocilla, to a portable building at the alternative school, but the number is still the same. If you have a tip, you can call it in at 229-468-0667. Two separate $100,000 rewards are offered in the case.

feedback: news@walb.com?subject=Psychic2HelpFindTara

Lauran

"If you have a chance to accomplish something that will make things better for people coming behind you, and you don't do that, you are wasting your time on this earth." The late, great Roberto Clemente.


In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any copyrighted work in this message is distributed under fair use without profit or payment for non-profit research and educational purposes only.
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monkalup
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Months go by, and Ocilla wonders: Where is Tara Grinstead?

By JACK WILKINSON
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Published on: 02/05/06


Ocilla ? Tara Grinstead is still missing, and yet it seems she's everywhere.

In the Irwin County Senior Citizens Center on Fourth Street, a large banner over the entrance reads: "Missing: Tara Grinstead." Inside, as two elderly women play ring toss while others eat lunch, Linda Fletcher answers the phone in a tiny room that serves as the volunteer Tara Command Center, taking tips or dispelling the latest, wildest rumor.

On the corner of West Park and Alder, the porch and front yard of Grinstead's small white rental house are still festooned with Halloween decorations ("Beware! Creepy Hollow!"), and a "Happy Birthday" streamer that was strung below the living room window Nov. 14, Tara's 31st birthday.

A teddy bear donning a "Teachers for Tara" T-shirt sits in a white folding chair. All this, cordoned off by yellow police crime scene tape stretched from pine tree to pine tree.

And, at Irwin County High School, where some students and faculty wear "FindTara.com" buttons, an enormous yellow banner hangs in the cafeteria. It's covered with handwritten wishes from students, including this from one of the many kids whose lives were touched by the popular, charismatic and vivacious American history teacher and former beauty queen:

"Come Home Soon, Chris P. ? a/k/a 'Changed Man.' "

It's been more than three months since Grinstead disappeared, yet her presence is almost palpable in this small South Georgia town.

Last seen leaving a friend's cookout the night of Oct. 22, Grinstead was reported missing Oct. 24 when she didn't show up at school Monday morning.

"That day, nobody talked in the halls; nobody did anything," said Whitney Royal, a senior who took Grinstead's U.S. history class. "It was like the school was dead, because she wasn't here."

Despite several extensive searches by law enforcement and volunteers and smaller expeditions by family and friends, despite reward money that has now reached $200,000, the whereabouts of Grinstead remains a mystery.

Her disappearance has brought national attention to Ocilla, a town of 3,270.

CNN's Nancy Grace and Fox's Greta Van Susteren each have broadcast live from here, interviewing family members who have criticized the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and local law enforcement. That attention helped fuel rumors.

It's also left Wendy McFarland, Grinstead's teaching colleague, emotionally conflicted during each search for her friend.

"On one hand, you pray to God to find her," McFarland said. "On the other hand, you pray to God you don't find her. It's very conflicting. We have to find her, for the family, the school, the community, her friends. Good, bad or ugly, we need a resolution."

For Anita Gattis, Grinstead's older sister who's become the family spokeswoman, it's all "indescribable.''

"Sometimes, it's like this is a little snow globe at Christmas, with people and a little village, and it's like it's someone else's life. It's not. It's my family," she said.

The family ? including Gattis' husband, Larry, a doctor whose practice is a little more than an hour away in Hawkinsville, their son Gabe, 13, and her mother, Connie ? insist that Tara didn't simply leave town or disappear on her own.

"She was six weeks away from getting her third post-graduate degree, which would've upped her pay by about $10,000," said Anita Gattis. "And, she'd never do that to our mother."

Asked if she thinks her sister is still alive, Gattis nodded. "I've always been very adamant about that," she said. "Tara's a survivor and a fighter. She's one of God's good angels, and he wants her to still be on this earth."

Gattis feels her sister left with someone she knew on the night she disappeared. Her house was locked but her car, a pearl white Mitsubishi 3000 GT, was unlocked and in the carport, with $100 in the console and clay on the tires.

"Tara never left her car unlocked, and never drove on dirt roads," Gattis said.

"There was no struggle in the house. Tara was a singer; that was her talent in pageants," Gattis said of her sister, thrice crowned Miss Tifton and a contestant in several Miss Georgia pageants. "If someone was removing her, she'd project her voice. And she took self-defense. She'd go out kicking and screaming and fighting."

Myrtle and Joe Portier, the elderly couple who live next door to Grinstead, never heard any noise that October night.

Grinstead had spent the day at home, helping several of her students primp and prepare for the Miss Georgia Sweet Potato pageant that evening in nearby Fitzgerald.

"We thought she was home the whole time, with her car in the carport," said Myrtle Portier, who is very close to Grinstead. "We didn't realize until Monday morning, when she had no lights on."

Grinstead was taking graduate courses three nights a week at Valdosta State University and would turn on a lamp in the front corner room of her house, a signal to the Portiers that she was safely home.

"It does seem to be kind of an overwhelming and baffling case," said Ocilla police Chief Billy Hancock. "We've had missing persons before but usually those turn up in a few days ? usually juveniles who come back to their homes."

More than three months later, Grinstead is still missing.

"I'm very pleased with the search, but not so pleased with the investigation," said Gattis.

She said her family, which has hired a private investigator and consulted psychics, wants more information from the GBI.

"It is still a very active investigation," GBI spokesman John Bankhead said. "We work on it daily. We've got leads we're pursuing. In a case like this, the family members get upset because it's not resolved. We want it resolved.

"There have been allegations by the family that we've mistreated them or dropped the ball," Bankhead said. "We understand their issues. We're doing everything we can to find out where she is."

Among the people investigators first interviewed were an ex-boyfriend of Grinstead and a former student.

Some friends and colleagues of Grinstead said they believed she'd unsuccessfully tried to reconcile with the boyfriend.

Lately, more rumors have taken hold. According to Gattis, "Last weekend, it was that the GBI surrounded my husband's office and took him out in handcuffs. Last Monday's was that I was arrested because I had murdered Tara and Larry had covered it up."

In a story on the CourtTV Crime Library Web site, Larry Gattis said he was questioned by investigators about rumors of a possible affair with Grinstead. If that were true, Gattis was quoted, "I wouldn't be alive right now. If you know my wife, I'd be pushing up daisies somewhere."

Instead, Gattis and his wife say they continue to push the investigation whenever possible.

On Park Street, Myrtle Portier cares for her neighbor's historically named pets: Dolly Madison, a year-old German shepherd, and a cat named Herman Talmadge. At Irwin County High, they're all trying to carry on as best as possible.

"She was ? she is, I don't want to use the past tense ? a very dear friend," Sandy McClurd said, her eyes quickly welling up.

McClurd, 57, a public relations specialist for the school system, said she and Grinstead quickly bonded despite their age difference.

"It was almost like we'd known each other a long time," said McClurd, who has purposely avoided walking by room 622 ? Grinstead's old classroom ? since her disappearance.

McClurd said Grinstead ? who gave her phone number out to many students ? felt every senior girl should attend the senior prom and bought some their prom dresses. Some paid her back $5 a week; others, $5 a month. It didn't matter.

"And I can't tell you how many yearbooks she's purchased for seniors," McClurd said.

Kaysie Harper, a junior in Grinstead's U.S. history class last fall, described her as "a spontaneous teacher.''

"She's been just about everywhere, knew just about everything about history. She made it exciting. She's done my makeup for pageants and did my hair for homecoming. She's the only one I trust to do my hair."

"It's really quiet now," junior Abby Boazman said of history class with a new teacher in Grinstead's old classroom. "She's the reason I want to be a history teacher."

Grinstead was the force behind the Miss Red and Black Pageant, which the high school will hold for the sixth year on March 11 at the Grand Theater in Fitzgerald.

This year's theme: "Motown From The O'Town!" On March 4, contestants from 12 months old to age 23 will pay $75 each to compete in the Miss Spirit of Tara pageant at the Tift Historical Theatre, all proceeds benefiting the reward fund for Grinstead.

"So much has been made of Tara being the beauty queen," McFarland said.

"But for her, it was never about being beautiful or the beauty queen. Tara totally funded her undergraduate education from beauty pageants. That's why she did it. And she said it helped improve her self-esteem, too. That's why she's done it here, taken girls under her wing, given them confidence."


http://www.ajc.com/news/content/metro/stor...metteacher.html[/b]
Lauran

"If you have a chance to accomplish something that will make things better for people coming behind you, and you don't do that, you are wasting your time on this earth." The late, great Roberto Clemente.


In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any copyrighted work in this message is distributed under fair use without profit or payment for non-profit research and educational purposes only.
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monkalup
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The Old Heifer! An oxymoron, of course.
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http://z13.invisionfree.com/PorchlightUSA/...pic=1292&st=40&
Lauran

"If you have a chance to accomplish something that will make things better for people coming behind you, and you don't do that, you are wasting your time on this earth." The late, great Roberto Clemente.


In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any copyrighted work in this message is distributed under fair use without profit or payment for non-profit research and educational purposes only.
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Ell
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Disappearance of Tara Grinstead got attention, few clues

By BILL MONTGOMERY
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 06/18/07
The photograph of the vanished brunette beauty queen and high school history teacher graces the Web and has been grist for TV crime show mavens Nancy Grace and Greta Van Susteren. Her face smiled from a "missing person" billboard on a main street in Tifton.

As more time elapses since her students in Ocilla last saw her 21 months ago, authorities suspect that whatever happened to Tara Grinstead was nothing good.

"Nobody's ready to make a public call, but we go into these missing person cases assuming there is foul play, that the worst has occurred, though we hope for the best," said Special Agent Gary Rothwell, head of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation's office in Perry. "We cover both alternatives, so we treat the scene where she was last believed to be — in this case, her house — as if a crime had occurred."

A $200,000 reward — $100,000 for her safe return and $100,000 for information leading to an arrest — is posted for Grinstead, who was 30 years old when she was last seen about 11 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 22, 2005, at a neighborhood cookout about six blocks from her house in Ocilla, a town of about 3,300 in south-central Georgia's Irwin County.

A popular teacher at Irwin County High School in Ocilla and a Hawkinsville native, Grinstead was an experienced pageant contestant and a three-time Miss Tifton; she spent the last day she was seen helping other contestants do their hair and makeup for the Miss Sweet Potato Pageant in nearby Fitzgerald. That night, at the cookout, she received a call on her cellphone, "the last contact we're aware of," Rothwell said.

Known for her punctuality, her fellow teachers knew something was seriously amiss when Grinstead did not appear at school the following Monday.

In her eighth year of teaching high school, she was pursuing a doctoral degree in U.S. History at Valdosta State University and, according to her older sister Anita Gattis, had ambitions of becoming of school principal or perhaps teaching at the college level.

Investigators found her cellphone in her house, along with her dog and cat, both unharmed. Her purse and car keys were gone but her white Mitsubishi was in the driveway, unlocked.

There were no conclusive signs of a struggle inside the house, although a broken lamp was found in her bedroom.

"We believe had there been an altercation, there would be more signs than a broken lamp," said GBI spokesman John Bankhead. "Her credit cards haven't been used since she went missing, but no contact was ever made with any family member.

"It was uncharacteristic of her not to contact anybody. That's why it doesn't look good."

Investigators have looked at the possibility she was forced at gunpoint from her home, but have no evidence to support that theory, Bankhead said. "We don't know what happened to her ... she didn't travel in a crowd that would have made her a high-risk victim. She wasn't involved in the drug culture or the nightclub culture.

"Most of her time was devoted to education, and the risk factors we find in many missing person cases were not there."

The GBI has interviewed "anyone that we could associate with her, including past boyfriends and acquaintances," said Rothwell. The case file, "adding up all the contacts of people who knew her and the research and interviews involved," is more than 5 feet thick, he said.

"We're not just sitting by the phone, waiting for it to ring," said Bankhead. "We're generating our own leads, and the major way to do that is to reassess everything we've done to see what we've overlooked."

Rothwell said Grinstead's relationship with an Army Ranger who had served in Iraq had broken up "some time previously and had left her distraught." The former boyfriend has been questioned by the GBI, as has a former student who once broke into her house. Neither has been linked to her disappearance, he said.

"The key word is 'evidence,' and a lot of people confuse 'suspicion' with evidence," Rothwell said.

Tara's mother, Faye Grinstead of Hawkinsville, said the boy who broke into her daughter's home "had an obsession of some kind about her."

She said her daughter always let her know when she returned home safely from Valdosta and her night graduate classes. "She knew I was a worrier, so she always called that she was OK."

Tara's father, Billy Grinstead, is an executive in Birmingham with Liberty National Insurance, which has put up $50,000 of the reward fund. His wife Connie, Tara's stepmother, said she still gets calls of possible sightings and keeps in frequent contact with the GBI.

"Some feel she just ran away, but I don't think so," Connie Grinstead said. "She was planning a future, and she was the kind to always think ahead. There were too many things going for her."

Tara's stepmother said she had a call once suggesting the young woman had been spotted at a [Birmingham] truck stop. "We talked to people on every shift, who described a very attractive girl with long brown hair ... it turned out not to be her.

"People might think that would be annoying, but I'm grateful that people are willing to call. ... We get very sad and discouraged, but we have not completely shut the door on hope."



"Whatever happened to ..." is a weekly feature catching up with people in the news. Are you wondering about the fate or fortune of former newsmakers? Tell us who and e-mail dgibson@ajc.com. Please put "whatever happened to" in the subject line.








Find this article at:
http://www.ajc.com/metro/content/metro/sto.../0618where.html
Ell

Only after the last tree has been
cut down;
Only after the last fish has been
caught;
Only after the last river has been
poisoned;
Only then will you realize
that money cannot be eaten.
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Ell
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The murder of Meredith Emerson, the disappearance of Cayle Bywater and other, possibly related cases involving missing women have renewed interest in the case of another missing Georgia woman. Tara Grinstead, a beauty pageant winner who earned her Masters degree and was working on her doctorate while she taught history at Irwin County High, went missing from her home in Ocilla the night of Oct. 22, 2005.

Her ex-boyfriend, Iraq War veteran and former Ocilla police officer Marcus Harper, and several other people have been investigated in the disappearance.

After Harper and Grinstead broke up, she apparently found that Harper, then 30, was dating an 18-year-old. Her sister, Anita Gattis, told the nation during a “CBS Early Show” interview days after her sister’s disappearance that she had been told that Harper and Grinstead had a “very heated argument.”

Suspicion around Marcus Harper continued to expand after a tip came in that on the night Grinstead disappeared, a truck had been seen speeding down Green Road, a rural route located south of Ocilla. In and of itself, this information would have hardly been useful, but Marcus Harper’s mother lived on Green Road, and the tip was apparently sound enough to prompt a search party, which began combing a 100 acre area along the road in March of 2006.

Things went a bit awry, however, after Harper’s mother, the sole landowner along the Green Road area who had not given permission to have her land searched, called the sheriff, complaining that she was being harassed by searchers. The sheriff came to the Harper property and reportedly threatened to lock up at least one member of the search party if they didn’t stay away from Mrs. Harper’s land.

Harper has an alibi for his whereabouts around the time Tara Grinstead went missing. But he wasn’t the only person Grinstead knew who was living under a cloud of suspicion down in tiny, close-knit Irwin County following the woman’s disappearance. At least two of her students had tried to create relationships with Grinstead at Irwin County High. Anthony Vickers, a former student of Grinstead’s, had been arrested after he was found at her house one night. He was investigated, and his parents’ property searched, but nothing was found. Another student, who remained unnamed, had been removed from her class after police found he was responsible for a series of threatening phone calls to Grinstead.

The trail appears to have grown cold over the last two years, but Tara Grinstead’s family continues to hope for her safe return. For more information, visit www.findtara.com. If you have any information on the whereabouts of Tara Grinstead, please call the Georgia Bureau of Investigation at 478-987-4545.
Exclusive online-only article By Josh Clark

http://fightforjustice.blogspot.com/2008/0...-grinstead.html
Ell

Only after the last tree has been
cut down;
Only after the last fish has been
caught;
Only after the last river has been
poisoned;
Only then will you realize
that money cannot be eaten.
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Please help find Tara Grinstead - Missing since October 22, 2005 from Ocilla, GA.
$100K REWARD for her safe return OR $100K for info leading to the arrest & conviction of those involved in her disappearance.
Texas EquuSearch Brings Special Technology to Grinstead Case

June 8, 2008 - It is with great sadness in my heart that I am letting you know that Faye Bennett Grinstead has passed away. She went home on Saturday, June 7, 2008. A memorial service will be held Tuesday morning at 11:00 June 10th in the Sanctuary of the First Baptist Church in Hawkinsville. Visitation will be held Monday June 9th from 6 pm until 8 pm in the Social Hall of the First Baptist Church.

On October 22, 2005, Mrs. Grinstead's youngest daughter, Tara Faye Grinstead, age thirty at the time and residing and teaching in Irwin County, disappeared without a trace and has since remained missing. No greater grief could a mother ever have to endure. Faye carried herself throughout this personal tragedy with quiet grace and dignity, just as she had lived her life.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Texas EquuSearch, P.O. Box 395, Dickinson, TX 77539, or by calling their office at 281-309-9500. Tim Miller, director and founder, has been diligently searching for Tara, since November 2005 and they continue to do so now. Faye put much hope, faith and confidence in this organization in finding her precious Tara and her family and friends continue the search with him.
Please remember the family in your prayers and always continue to pray that one day we get to bring Tara back home and lay her to rest with her mother.

Mandy Wells
Co-Director of the Tara Center

www.texasequusearch.org
Lisa

“Thou shalt not be a victim.
Thou shalt not be a perpetrator.
Above all, thou shalt not be a bystander.”

(On a plaque at the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C.)
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wv171
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GBI releases new information in Tara Grinstead case
By Amy Leigh Womack - awomack@macon.com

PERRY --The Georgia Bureau of Investigation wants to know whose DNA and fingerprint are on a glove found near the home of an Ocilla woman missing for nearly three years.

The GBI released the new evidence today in the Tara Grinstead case, hoping it could lead to an answer of where the young teacher has been since her disappearance sometime after 11 p.m. Oct. 22, 2005.

The new evidence was aired tonight on CBS's "48 Hours" news magazine TV show.

Although it has previously been reported that police found the glove outside Grinstead's house, Gary Rothwell, special agent at the GBI's Perry office, said today investigators withheld information about the DNA for investigative purposes. But when the GBI was contacted by "48 Hours" about producing a TV segment about Grinstead's disappearance, agents saw an opportunity to generate phone calls from people with new information about the case.

At the time of her disappearance, the 30-year-old former beauty queen, a Hawkinsville native, had moved to Ocilla as a student teacher. After falling in love with the town, Grinstead accepted a full-time job teaching high school history.

When she didn't show up for work on a Monday morning in October 2005, co-workers called police. They found her cell phone inside the house where she lived alone. Her car was outside, unlocked. Her purse and keys were gone.

Police officers found the latex glove in Grinstead's yard, just a stone's throw from her front stoop, Rothwell said.

But Grinstead was never found.

Rothwell did not identify as a suspect the person whose DNA was found in the glove, but he said that person could help lead to a break in the case.

"We believe it is a critical element to solving the case," Rothwell said.

Rothwell said the DNA has been analyzed and agents know it's a man's DNA. But they haven't identified the man.

Over the course of the investigation, he said, agents have compared the DNA to dozens of men who knew Grinstead or who were associated with her.

"None of them matched," Rothwell said.

The DNA also has been entered into Georgia and national databases, but still no matches.

Agents also recovered a fingerprint from the glove, but Rothwell said it isn't of sufficient quality to enter into a database for comparison.

The "48 Hours" show also examined the similar disappearance of an Orlando, Fla., woman three months after Grinstead vanished.

Like Grinstead, Jennifer Kesse disappeared with no sign of forced entry into her home or a struggle. Only Kesse's keys and purse were missing.

Orlando investigators have uncovered grainy surveillance footage showing an unidentified person existing Kesse's car. Authorities say that person could be Kesse's abductor.

Rothwell said early in the investigation, GBI agents spoke with Orlando officers and shared information, but there's no obvious connection between the two cases.

"There's nothing concrete," he said. "But it was worth looking at."

Even though it's been nearly three years since Grinstead disappeared, Rothwell said the case is being actively investigated on a daily basis as agents reinterview witnesses and reassess evidence in hopes of finding a breakthrough.

Anyone with information about Grinstead's disappearance is asked to call the GBI at (478) 987-4545, (229) 468-8477 or (800) 567-8477.

There is a $100,000 reward for her safe return. There is another $100,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whomever is responsible for her disappearance..

"If there's somebody with information, we want that information," Rothwell said. "We don't want them to assume we know something. We might not know."

Information from The Telegraph's archives was used in this report.

COMMENT ON THIS STORY AT MACON.COM.

To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398.


http://www.macon.com/149/story/393675.html
"Hey Beavis, we need a chick that doesn't suck. No, wait a minute, that's not what I mean." -Butthead
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monkalup
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The Old Heifer! An oxymoron, of course.
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http://www.fox24.com/article.asp?pkid=14088
Tara Grinstead Anniversary

As a tragic anniversary approaches the search continues for an Ocilla teacher and friend.

Tara Grinstead went missing three years ago this October 22nd. The GBI says they are still investigating leads in the case.

Grinstead was last seen around 11:00 PM when she left a friend's BBQ. Monday morning authorities were notified after she didn't show up to the high school she taught in. The only sign of struggle was a damaged bed frame and broken lamp at her home. Her car, cell phone and dog Dolly Madison were left at the home.

"At this time we believe that foul play is probably involved, however, we can't rule out any possibilities. We've interviewed hundreds of people to this point but haven't reached any circumstance where we are even considering effecting any kind of arrest," said GBI Special Agent in Charge Gary Rothwell.

The case has gained national attention, and the GBI says the mystery surrounding the beauty queen's disappearance is solvable.

"We did an exclusive story with 48 Hours Mysteries. That generated a lot of leads out of that story. We are constantly everyday getting phone calls, emails, and inquires about the case," said GBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge Craig Rotter.

Rothwell says time has passed since Grinstead disappeared, but not their attention and dedication to the case.

"By no means is this a cold case. We have one agent that is more or less dedicated to it full time. Additionally all other agents in the office are in the pursuit of leads."

The bureau says someone out there knows something, and any tip could solve the case.


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Lauran

"If you have a chance to accomplish something that will make things better for people coming behind you, and you don't do that, you are wasting your time on this earth." The late, great Roberto Clemente.


In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any copyrighted work in this message is distributed under fair use without profit or payment for non-profit research and educational purposes only.
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tatertot
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http://www.cnn.com/2008/CRIME/09/30/grace....sing/index.html

Nancy Grace's Cold Cases
updated 3:57 p.m. EDT, Tue September 30, 2008

Missing beauty queen was mending broken heart

By Rupa Mikkilineni
Nancy Grace Producer

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Tara Grinstead, a 30-year-old schoolteacher and former beauty queen, attended a Saturday night beauty pageant and then left a dinner party, telling friends she was going straight home. She has not been seen since that night -- October 22, 2005.

Tara Grinstead, a former beauty queen who taught at a Georgia high school, was last seen on October 22, 2005.

Friends and family called Grinstead the next day, but couldn't reach her.

The following Monday, when she did not show up for work at Irwin County High School, co-workers called police and reported her missing.

When police arrived at her home in Ocilla, Georgia, they found the clothes she wore Saturday night piled on her bedroom floor. Her cell phone was charging in the wall outlet, and her car was parked in the driveway.

Her purse and keys were missing.

A latex glove found in Grinstead's front lawn was sent to a laboratory for DNA testing. The results were inconclusive.

Grinstead's family says she was a very tidy person and would never leave her clothes on the floor. They said she never went anywhere without her cell phone.

They found it strange that her car doors were unlocked and that her car seat was pushed back way too far for someone her size. She was petite -- 5 feet, 3 inches tall -- and typically kept the seat much closer to the steering wheel.

Also strange: An envelope full of cash was found on her dashboard, and her dog and cat were abandoned. Neither police nor family could say where the money came from or whether it belonged to Grinstead, and her sister and friends say Grinstead was an animal lover who wouldn't leave her pets without making arrangements for them.

The house showed no signs of a break-in or struggle, but Grinstead's bedside clock was found under her bed, and the time it displayed was six hours off. A lamp that was broken into two pieces was propped against the wall on her nightstand.

Co-workers and students at Irwin County High say the 11th-grade teacher was well-liked. She always seemed to be happy and appeared to lead a charmed life. She was beautiful, popular, dedicated and determined.

She was applying for a doctoral program in history and making plans for a very bright future, said her sister Anita Gattis.

But there were hints of trouble in her personal life. Grinstead's boyfriend of six years left her broken-hearted a year before, but had returned to town just a few weeks before she disappeared.

He was dating a much younger woman but continued to call Grinstead. The former couple had argued a week before her disappearance, Grinstead's sister said.

Then there was Grinstead's young former student, who claimed to have had an affair with her. Police records show that she had him arrested for coming to her house and harassing her. Later, those charges were dropped.

And Grinstead had lodged a complaint with the police department against one of its officers. The officer was friendly with her former boyfriend, and on the night Grinstead disappeared, the two men were seen together in his patrol car, on what is known in police circles as a "ride-along."

Police characterize their investigation as a missing-person case. Investigators are not ruling out the possibility of foul play, but without more evidence, they say it is also quite possible that Grinstead may have just walked away from all the drama in her personal life.

Grinstead's family and friends insist she is not the kind of person to go off on her own without being in touch with her family. They emphasize that the circumstances surrounding her disappearance are highly of out of character for her. They are certain she was abducted.

Police have not named any suspects but continue to hope for tips that could help their investigation. The total reward offered is $200,000 -- $100,000 for Grinstead's safe return and $100,000 for tips leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone responsible for abducting her. To report a tip, call 229-468-TIPS.
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monkalup
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The Old Heifer! An oxymoron, of course.
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Montel Williams with Tara's sister Anita giving a interview.
http://tinyurl.com/jr6qc
Lauran

"If you have a chance to accomplish something that will make things better for people coming behind you, and you don't do that, you are wasting your time on this earth." The late, great Roberto Clemente.


In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any copyrighted work in this message is distributed under fair use without profit or payment for non-profit research and educational purposes only.
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monkalup
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The Old Heifer! An oxymoron, of course.
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http://www.walb.com/Global/story.asp?S=9989835&nav=menu37_2
Sick prankster, or serial killer?


Man claiming responsibility for Tara Grinstead disappearance being investigated
2:49


By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - It's been more than three years since Ocilla school teacher Tara Grinstead vanished. Theories about what happened to her abound. And now, a man has posted a video on the Internet claiming responsibility for her disappearance.

In the video, he claimed to be a serial killer; even though he's since said it was a just a game, the GBI is still checking him out.

His face is blurred, his voice distorted, yet his message is clear. "If you want to play the game you'll find everything you want to find. All the clues will be right there you just have to play the game."

"Catchmekiller", as the man in this video calls himself, wants to play a game, giving clues that he says will lead to the bodies of the 16 people he claims to have murdered.

"In the middle of the second wet spot, you'll find your second clue," he said.

"It was just a horrible, horrible thing for him to do and the way that he did it, just so graphic in his details," said Anita Gattis, Tara Grinstead's big sister.

She says "catchmekiller" makes her sick, but some of his clues also intrigue her... like one involving a ring. "He did have some interesting details to me, because there is a ring missing of Tara's and that's not something, I don't think, was public knowledge."

So is "catchmekiller" responsible for Tara Grinstead's disappearance? When asked, "Do you think he killed Tara?" Gattis replied, "No I don't."

Rather, Gattis believes Tara died at the hands of someone she knew. "I don't think he had anything to do with this, but this is someone's family that this guy's screwing around with. This is not just some obscure game as he's wanting to call it."

And the search for Tara isn't over. Gattis says she won't stop looking until she finds Tara. She said, "I don't know that there's ever going to be closure because of the horrendous act that's happened, but we want answers and we definitely need accountability for someone that's done this. We definitely want her found and we want to know who did it and what happened."

And even though she doesn't believe "catchmekiller" is responsible for her sister's death, she wants him held accountable for his actions too, and his game, brought to an end.

After a report of the Catchmekiller aired in Orlando, the man posting videos called that TV station and told them it was a murder mystery clue game and that he's never killed anyone.

That hasn't stopped law enforcement agencies in at least two states from following up on him though. They are investigating to find out if Catchmekiller is a psychopath or if he's just got a twisted sense of humor.


Lauran

"If you have a chance to accomplish something that will make things better for people coming behind you, and you don't do that, you are wasting your time on this earth." The late, great Roberto Clemente.


In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any copyrighted work in this message is distributed under fair use without profit or payment for non-profit research and educational purposes only.
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The Old Heifer! An oxymoron, of course.
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Stolen Beauty
A Young Teacher And A Financial Analyst Vanish. Are Their Cases Linked?
Comments 142 | Page 1 of 6
Jan. 10, 2009

Tara Grinstead, left, and Jennifer Kesse (CBS)


Stolen Beauty
In Full: Two missing women, two investigations - do they have one common link? Peter Van Sant reports. | Share/Embed


Stolen Beauty (42:52)
Tara Grinstead Interview (5:50) » More Videos

Related Information

48 Hours Mystery
Tara Grinstead Case:
If you have any information about Tara's disappearance, contact the Georgia Bureau of Investigation
Tipline: 1-800-597-TIPS

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Jennifer Kesse Case:
If you have any information about Jennifer's disappearance, contact CrimeLine
Tipline: 1-800-423-TIPS



(CBS) This story was originally broadcast on July 1, 2008.


Tara Grinstead, an 11th-grade history teacher in Ocilla, Ga., disappeared without a trace in October 2005. Three months later, another young woman, Jennifer Kesse, also vanished in Orlando, Fla.

There were some similarities in the cases, leading investigators to wonder: are these disappearances somehow linked?


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Student Dana Wilder remembers feeling a sense of dread when she heard an announcement in school that teacher Tara Grinstead should report to the office.

Dana was sitting in class at Irwin County High School on that Monday, Oct. 24, 2005. "I knew something was up then. I knew Tara would just not come to school. I think it got all the student's minds worried," Dana remembers.

Besides being a beloved teacher, 30-year-old Tara was also a mentor and friend to Dana, especially when it came to Tara's passion for beauty pageants.

Just two days earlier, Dana had been at Tara's house with some other girls to get ready for a big local event in this small town, the "Miss Georgia Sweet Potato" pageant. "She was in a great mood. Which of course, whenever she did hair and makeup for any pageant girls she was in a great mood," Dana remembers.

Tara's stepmother, Connie, and father, Billy, say Tara fell in love with pageants as a teenager. Besides winning crowns, the pageant victories also fulfilled another goal for Tara: money for school.

But none of her successes meant more to Tara than winning the title of Miss Tifton in 1999. Best friend Maria Hulett says the title meant Tara could now fulfill her lifelong dream of competing in the Miss Georgia pageant. "It was, for her, more than a dream come true. It was the chance for her to be really proud of herself," Maria remembers.

Tara didn't place in the competition, but was thrilled when her friend Osjha Anderson won. Her friends say after the Miss Georgia pageant, Tara refocused on her career in education. "She wanted to be a principal. She was well on her way," Osjha says.

By the fall of 2005, she was teaching by day and taking classes by night; she applied for a doctoral program. Tara was even filling in as an assistant principal from time to time.

Everything seemed to be going so well, until that October morning.

By the time Police Chief Billy Hancock arrived at Tara's house, nobody had seen or heard from Tara for 34 hours. "When I arrived the car was parked in the carport. You could actually see it as you were pulling up," he remembers.

Hancock says the fact she had gone missing but her car was still there was "certainly a red flag."

But maybe most disturbing was a latex glove, found laying in the front yard.

Hancock noticed that inside the house everything appeared to be normal. "I walked through the house. No apparent sign of struggle, no forced entry," he remembers. "Her cell phone was in the charger by the nightstand. Her pocketbook and keys were missing."

Asked what his gut feeling was as he walked through that house, Hancock tells Van Sant, "I did have kind of a gut feeling that something was wrong."

At 11 a.m., Chief Hancock called Gary Rothwell, a special agent at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

Rothwell's initial impression? "It appeared that Tara may have left on her own. However, we had a glove, a latex glove that we couldn't explain. That glove indicates foul play to us."

He was also intrigued by something else found at Tara's house: a business card found wedged in the front door of Tara's home.

Investigators sealed the house, and took Tara’s car and the glove in for processing. Then they started reconstructing her last known movements.

On the last day she was seen, Saturday, Oct. 22, Tara spent the day with Dana and the pageant girls at home, then went to the Miss Georgia Sweet Potato pageant that evening.

At 8 p.m., she stopped by the house of a neighbor and stayed there for a half hour before going to a cookout a few blocks from her home.

According to Rothwell, she remained at the cookout until about 11 p.m., when she left to go home. Rothwell says they found the clothes she wore at the cookout on the floor of her bedroom, leading investigators to believe that she had come home from the cookout.

But from that moment on, he says they "have no idea" what happened to her.

Hours after Tara was reported missing, Irwin County students and teachers sprang into action. "We made flyers and at 11 o’clock at night people wanted to go put these out everywhere. We all wanted Tara back. And we were willing to do whatever we could," Dana remembers.

Volunteers and local authorities joined in a massive search for the missing teacher. But in a place the size of Irwin County, finding Tara was like looking for a needle in a haystack.

So far, GBI investigator Gary Rothwell has had very few clues in the case. "There was no sign of a struggle, no sign of forced entry, there's no windows broken," he explains.

Tara's car was still in the carport, but her purse and keys were missing. It looked to investigators like Tara may have left with someone she knew. "No one in close proximity to her residence heard any screaming that night. So, if you accept the premise that she left in a vehicle. Yes, it would be likely she left in one that was driven by someone she knew," Rothwell says.

Investigators put Tara's life under the microscope and soon discovered it was not as simple as they expected. "One of the things that made this case so complicated is that she did have several romantic relationships that occurred in relative proximity to one another," Rothwell says.

Investigators first focused on her ex-boyfriend, former cop and Army Ranger Marcus Harper. "We learned that Tara and Marcus had had a relationship lasting approximately six years," Rothwell says.

It had been a stormy romance. "Their relationship had been troubled for the last two years. And during that time they both had dated other people. But Tara was absolutely in love with Marcus," Connie says.

But just two weeks before she disappeared, Marcus told Tara their relationship was over for good. Connie says Tara was "absolutely devastated."

Marcus told journalist and TV host Greta Van Susteren the last time he saw Tara was a week before she vanished when she begged him not to leave her. "She approached me crying, she was very irrational, and she told me that if she found out I was dating someone, she would commit suicide," he said.

But Osjha says this doesn't sound like the Tara she knew. "She's never said anything remotely similar to me ever any time."

Rothwell doesn't believe Tara committed suicide either. "The circumstances just don't fit a suicide. And given the search for her, we believe she would have been found by now. It's very difficult to hide your own body," he points out.

On the last night Tara was seen, Marcus says he was at a bar with friends, then rode around town until dawn with a former partner on the local police force. "Mr. Harper provided an alibi and it was essentially substantiated," Rothwell says.

And there was no history of violence in their relationship.

But Tara had been the target of a violent outburst before, ironically by one of her former students. In March 2005, Anthony Vickers, a former student of Tara's, tried to force his way into her house.

Friends say Tara had taken Vickers under her wing. "He was just kind of a troubled kid and that would be her nature," Osjha explains.

But he may have become obsessed with her. "She talked about the fact that he would call and he would rely on her and she knew it was getting too much for her. I just kept telling her, 'You know Tara, something's wrong,'" Maria remembers.

Could Anthony Vickers have been involved in Tara's disappearance? Rothwell says investigators looked into that possibility extensively but that at this point "can't draw a connection."

And remember the business card investigators had found at Tara's front door? "It was certainly a piece of evidence that we’re interested in. I mean it's a business card stuck in the door of a person that’s now missing," Rothwell says.

It turns out the card was left by a police officer from a nearby town, a married man. A neighbor told 48 Hours he was a frequent visitor to Tara's house.

"He had been there apparently Sunday night looking for or trying to get her to the door. And he said he did not get an answer," Connie tells Van Sant.

The man also left almost two dozen messages on Tara's answering machine the weekend she disappeared.

Asked if Tara had put herself in a position in her life where she may have created jealousies or given someone a motive to murder her, Maria says, "I think the fact that she was beautiful and other people paid attention to her would obviously make some people jealous. I think she was afraid of the possibility of someone hurting her from being angry at her, having reactions to her dating people."

None of the men the GBI were most interested in would agree to speak to 48 Hours on camera; all deny any involvement in Tara's disappearance. The GBI says although they all have alibis, nobody's alibi covers the full 34-hour period during which Tara vanished. So for now, no one has been ruled out.

For more than three years, the GBI has continued to investigate anyone and everyone Tara knew. "We've collected DNA samples from every person she might have had a romantic relationship with, interviewed them," Rothwell says.

And Tara's family and friends remain frustrated. "I believe there is a piece of the puzzle that is missing. And when that piece of information comes in, it will lead us to the answers of what happened to Tara," Connie hopes.

Ever since Tara disappeared, the GBI has refused to name any suspects in the case, and has remained tight-lipped about any evidence they have, until now: Rothwell says that latex glove could be a significant piece of evidence.

Just days after Tara went missing, Rothwell sent the glove to the GBI crime lab in Atlanta. Trace evidence specialist Larry Peterson wasn't optimistic. "It's my experience from past cases that latex gloves like this had a relatively low rate of success," he explains.

But in this case, investigators caught a lucky break: against all odds, investigators had recovered DNA-male profile DNA-from the glove.

And besides the DNA, Rothwell says they also got a fingerprint. But when they compared the DNA and fingerprint to the men in Tara's life, there was no match.

There was no match nationally, either. Still, investigators can't eliminate any of the men in Tara's life, since they might have had an accomplice. "We always have to consider the possibility of a third party. Either someone was involved in getting a third party to harm Tara or that Tara was harmed by accident and a third party was used to help cover up the crime," Rothwell says.

For two and a half years the GBI kept the DNA evidence secret, hoping they would find a match. But now they’re hoping someone from the 48 Hours audience can help solve this case.

"We hope there's someone who knows something, has a person that they know was involved in this case and was withholding that information for fear that we were not going to be able to prove it. Well we'll be able to prove it. We want one of those persons, if they have that type of information, to come forward," Rothwell says.
As astonishing as it seems that someone could disappear without a trace, and that a stranger might be involved, shortly after Tara disappeared, the GBI learned of another case of a beautiful young woman who vanished, this one in Orlando, Fla., exactly three months after Tara disappeared. The similarities were eerie.

Asked if there could be a link between the cases, Rothwell says, "Possibly. It’s something we really, really need to consider."

Even as a child, people were drawn to Jennifer Kesse, says her mother Joyce. "She walked into a room and people noticed her. She was just so vibrant and really full of life," Joyce remembers.

By the time she was in her twenties, her father Drew says Jennifer had blossomed into a beautiful young lady, and her career as a financial analyst was taking off.

Her family and friends say she was very practical when it came to safety; she regularly used what she referred to as "safe phone calls." "She would always be on the phone with somebody walking from the store to her car, her car to home," Joyce explains.

By January 2006, 24-year-old Jennifer seemed to have everything going for her: she had bought a brand new condo in Orlando, had been promoted at work, and there was a new man in her life.

Rob Allen, a 32-year-old Englishman, lived two and a half hours away in Fort Lauderdale. The couple had been dating for a year and saw each other every other weekend. "We'd communicate four, five, six, seven times a day, every day. She became my best friend," Rob says.

In January 2006, Rob and Jennifer took a vacation to St. Croix. "It was just perfect," Rob remembers. "A lotta cocktails. A lotta sun. A lotta beach. We had an awesome time. We joked we should just stay there and just not come back to the real world."

But the real world was about to intervene: they flew back from vacation on Sunday, Jan. 22, and Jennifer stayed at Rob's Sunday night. "She'd left my house at six Monday morning and then drove straight to Orlando and had a full day at work," Rob says.

That evening, Jennifer spoke to Rob again. It would be the last time they would talk.

The first clue something was wrong came the next morning when Jennifer failed to show up for a meeting at work. Her co-workers at Westgate Resorts couldn't reach her on her cell phone or at home, so they called her parents.

Joyce called the manager of Jen's apartment complex. He went to her unit - Jennifer wasn't there, and neither was her car.

Jennifer's parents and her brother Logan raced the two hours from their home in Bradenton, Fla., to Jen's condo. Asked what he saw when he went inside, Logan tells Van Sant, "Clean apartment. Shower was wet. Blow dryer out. Clothes on her bed. Other than that, the apartment was completely normal."

Just like in Tara's case, there were no signs of forced entry, and no signs of a struggle. Jen's luggage was still in the front hall, untouched. But her purse, her keys and the cell phone, which she always kept with her, were missing.

Detectives checked for activity on her ATM card and "pinged" her phone to pinpoint its location. There was no response. At 7 p.m., police Sergeant Roger Brennan says they entered her into the system as a missing person and issued an alert for both Jennifer and her car.

"The key thing we were trying to do at this point, starting from 8 on is to find Jennifer's car, Jennifer, her phone, her property. So we started with her car," Brennan recalls.

Police soon learned when Jennifer was on vacation, her brother Logan and some of his buddies from out of town had stayed in her condo. One of his friends left a cell phone there. Could Jen have left her condo after she hung up with Rob at 10 p.m. to try to mail the cell phone?

Less than an hour after Jennifer was declared "missing," Sgt. Brennan started searching the streets of Orlando, looking for Jen and her car.
Once police learned of Jennifer's concern for safety, they realized she wouldn't have gone out at night alone to mail that cell phone. They now believed she must have been abducted the next morning.

"Her condo was just as if she'd gotten ready for work and took off out the door for work," says Orlando homicide Detective Joel Wright. "And since her door was locked and there were no signs of forced entry, a good deduction would be that she did make it at least out the door."

The next day, detectives interviewed family members and boyfriend Rob. "They started asking me if you'd had an argument with her, or if you'd had disagreements or you'd done something to her. I mean, it was kinda nerve-wracking," he remembers.

But nothing raised suspicions, and Rob's alibi checked out. He was at work two and a half hours away in Fort Lauderdale that day and his cell phone was pinging down there.

"I would consider Rob not a suspect," Wright says.

Meanwhile, huge numbers of volunteers and police were looking everywhere for Jennifer.

Two days after Jennifer’s disappearance, investigators got a major break in the case when her car was spotted at a housing complex just a mile from her condo.

Luckily, there were security cameras nearby. When police checked the tape, they watched as someone pulled her Chevy Malibu into the lot. Then, a ghostly figure emerges (video) from Jennifer’s car and calmly strolls away as if on an afternoon walk.

This person is the main suspect in Jennifer's abduction, and should be easy to identify. But because the security cameras only take a photo every three seconds, his face is obscured on the surveillance footage.

Investigators can't even say for sure if the person is a man or a woman - all they know is it's someone 5'3" to 5'5" tall.

"Now the clothing looks to be maybe someone who is a painter or some type of worker," Wright remarks, commenting on the clothing.

The inside of Jennifer's car provided more frustration for investigators and her family: there was no sign of a struggle, no blood, no identifiable fingerprints except for Jennifer's.

But there was one item found that bothered detectives: a DVD player.

That DVD player hadn't been stolen. Asked what that tells him, Sgt. Brennan says, "It didn’t appear that it was a robbery. Didn’t appear that it was a car theft. It didn't appear that it was a carjacking."

Bloodhounds were called in to track any scent from Jennifer’s car. Brennan says one of those dogs essentially tracked back to her complex.

Could Jennifer's abductor be someone who lived in her own complex? Detectives discovered there was extensive remodeling going on, including some work in Jennifer’s own unit, and Jennifer had complained to her family that some of the workers were making her feel uncomfortable.

Asked what she said, Joyce says, "They would stop and stare. …Leering stares is what she would say."

"Were these guys mostly day workers?" Van Sant asks.

"It was large groups of crews that had traveled together. And many of them were staying right there in several of the units in the complex itself," Wright says.

In fact, of the 447 units in Jennifer’s complex, only 250 were occupied at the time, and workers were allowed to live in the empty units. But Brennan says tracing these people is "extremely difficult."

Police could not search all of the units in Jennifer's complex because many were privately owned. They also couldn't count on getting any reliable forensic evidence from Jennifer's condo. "Anywhere from a half dozen to two dozen people were in the condo over the course of the first 24 hours," Brennan says, explaining that that contaminates the crime scene.

At this point, the best clue in Jennifer’s disappearance remained that grainy video.
Almost three years after Jennifer's disappearance, her family and friends are still looking for her, and Orlando police are still looking for the person in that surveillance video. "We were hoping that somebody would come forward and say 'Oh yeah, that’s my boyfriend' or 'That’s my cousin.' But that didn’t happen," Brennan says.

Detectives have followed up on more than 1,000 tips in all 50 states, but so far nothing.

For Jennifer’s best friend Lauren and her boyfriend Rob, it’s like living in a constant state of limbo. "You don’t know if you can grieve because you haven’t truly lost them and you can’t heal because you haven’t found them. You wake up every day hoping that’s going to be the day you’ll get an answer," Lauren says.

"My life’s on pause right now. It’s like as the time progresses, it doesn’t get any easier," Rob says.

Losing Jen has left Rob wondering about a life they could have had, and wrestling with things left unsaid. Asked if he had fallen in love with her, Rob says, "I never admitted that to her but that’s something that I struggle with. Just the fact that those three simple words, that I never got to the chance to say that before this horrific event happened."

In Ocilla, Ga., the unsolved case of Tara's disappearance now hinges on finding a DNA match to that glove found outside her home.

"The one thing this case is not is cold," says GBI investigator Gary Rothwell, who says the Grinstead case file has grown to become the agency's biggest active investigation.

Rothwell - who believes this case will be solved - and his team are hoping for a breakthrough. They are in Orlando, Fla., meeting for the first time with detectives in the Jennifer Kesse case.

"We’re comparing notes, looking to see if anyone in their investigation pops up in our investigation," Roger Brennan comments.

But after three hours behind closed doors, it's clear they aren't getting the answers they were hoping for. "Their case appears much more likely to involve a stranger abduction, whereas we can't make that conclusion," Rothwell explains.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Two beautiful, beloved women - for everyone touched by the disappearance of Tara and Jennifer, hope now rests on a DNA match, or someone, somewhere, who will have the courage to share what they know with police.

"Someone has to do the right thing?" Van Sant asks Jennifer's father Drew.

"Yes, and it’s time. It’s been time. And it’s time right now," he says.

"I really want to see justice take place for Tara. I want the person who's responsible he held accountable for it," Tara's stepmother Connie says.

"We'll never give up," Jennifer's mother Joyce vows. "We will never give up the hope of finding her and bringing her home."


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

In Georgia, investigators have compared the DNA of 150 men to the DNA on the glove outside Tara Grinstead’s home. There was no match.

In Florida, a task force of 12 top investigators is pursuing new leads in the disappearance of Jennifer Kesse.

Tara Grinstead Case: If you have any information about Tara's disappearance, please contact the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

Tipline: 1-800-597-TIPS.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Jennifer Kesse Case: If you have any information about Jennifer's disappearance, please contact CrimeLine.

Tipline: 1-800-423-TIPS.
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/06/30/...in4219397.shtml

Lauran

"If you have a chance to accomplish something that will make things better for people coming behind you, and you don't do that, you are wasting your time on this earth." The late, great Roberto Clemente.


In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any copyrighted work in this message is distributed under fair use without profit or payment for non-profit research and educational purposes only.
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monkalup
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The Old Heifer! An oxymoron, of course.
[ *  *  * ]
http://www.examiner.com/x-26017-Charlotte-...n-Still-Missing
Tara Grinstead, School Teacher and Former Beauty Queen, Still Missing
December 29, 4:40 PMCharlotte True Crime ExaminerErin OxendinePrevious


Tara Grinstead
Courtesy of FindTara.comFriends and family members of Tara Grinstead still have hope that someone knows what happened to Tara Grinstead, missing since October 22, 2005. At the time of her disappearance, Tara was just a few weeks shy of her 31st birthday.

Tara Grinstead taught 11th and 9th grade in Ocilla, Georgia, at Irwin County High School. On the day Tara vanished, October 22, 2005, she had attended a pageant where she had helped several of the students. Family and friends say Tara was always helping someone in the community and at the school. She had previously won the Miss Tifton pageant in 1999 and enjoyed assisting with the local pageants. Later that evening after the pagaent was over, Tara went to a cookout with friends and then went home.

Local authorities were contacted when Tara did not show up for her job on October 24, 2005. The police searched Tara's residence and found her personal items were still there including her cell phone. Tara's car was still in her yard and her dog had also been left outside. In 2008, the Georgia Bureau of Investigations revealed they had found a latex glove outside of Tara's house but were unable to find a match to DNA left on the glove.

If anyone has any information or wants to help get the word out about Tara Grinstead, you can get more information at Find Tara Grinstead or at America's Most Wanted,
Lauran

"If you have a chance to accomplish something that will make things better for people coming behind you, and you don't do that, you are wasting your time on this earth." The late, great Roberto Clemente.


In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any copyrighted work in this message is distributed under fair use without profit or payment for non-profit research and educational purposes only.
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monkalup
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The Old Heifer! An oxymoron, of course.
[ *  *  * ]
Endangered Missing Adult



If you believe you have any information regarding this case that will be helpful in this investigation please contact:
Ocilla Police Department at (229) 468-7494

Name: Tara Faye Grinstead

Classification: Endangered Missing Adult
Date of Birth: 1974-11-14
Date Missing: 2005-10-22
From City/State: Ocilla, GA
Missing From (Country): USA
Age at Time of Disappearance: 30
Gender: Female
Race: White
Height: 63 inches
Weight: 100 pounds
Hair Color: Brown
Eye Color: Brown
Complexion: Light
Identifying Characteristics: Pierced ears, pierced navel, small tan colored birthmark on front of shoulder.
Circumstances of Disappearance: Unknown. Tara was last seen at approximately 11:00pm at an acquaintance's residence in the vicinity of the 700 block of W. 3rd St. in Ocilla, GA. She left the residence and arrived at her home in the vicinity of S. Alder St. and W. Park St. in Ocilla, GA. It is unknown at what time she arrived. Her vehicle, the clothes she wore, and cell phone were found at her residence which was locked.
Investigative Agency: Ocilla Police Department
Phone: (229) 468-7494
Alternate Phone: (229) 468-8477
Investigative Case #: 2005-10-24-065
NCIC #: M-355211015
Phone: (912) 386-2564
http://www.theyaremissed.org/ncma/gallery/...php?A200503663S
Lauran

"If you have a chance to accomplish something that will make things better for people coming behind you, and you don't do that, you are wasting your time on this earth." The late, great Roberto Clemente.


In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any copyrighted work in this message is distributed under fair use without profit or payment for non-profit research and educational purposes only.
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Ell
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Heart of Gold
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FITZGERALD, GA (WALB) - Investigators used the help of an underwater vehicle as they reinstated a search of a pond in Ben Hill County for the remains of a teacher who mysteriously vanished nearly a decade ago.


They are searching for Tara Grinstead, who disappeared after attending a Georgia sweet potato pageant in October 2005. She was 31 years old at the time.

Officials including a Georgia Bureau of Investigation dive team were dispatched to a pond near Satilla Drive, near Fitzgerald.

They placed a submarine into the pond, which was able to detect evidence on the bottom of it.

Crews have been draining the pond since Monday night after obtaining a search warrant.

Over the years, the case of the missing Irwin County teacher and beauty queen has never been declared solved.

A probate judge officially declared Grinstead dead in December 2010.

Georgia law states that a person can be presumed dead if they are missing for four years. Her father Billy Grinstead petitioned for the presumption of her death in September 2010.

In March 2011, a dive team was dispatched to an Irwin County creek to search for Grinstead's remains. At the time, a neighbor claimed that two men were acting suspiciously near the water.

Investigators sent an eight person dive team into the creek for hours, but did not retrieve any evidence.

No one has ever been arrested in the Tara Grinstead case
http://www.wtvm.com/…/investigators-renew-search-for-missin…
Ell

Only after the last tree has been
cut down;
Only after the last fish has been
caught;
Only after the last river has been
poisoned;
Only then will you realize
that money cannot be eaten.
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tatertot
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http://www.macon.com/news/local/crime/article39641307.html

October 17, 2015
Ten years later, Tara Grinstead's disappearance still baffles
By JOE KOVAC JR.

Tara Grinstead was a country girl, a beauty queen, a high school history teacher with dreams of becoming a principal.

Instead, to many who otherwise would never have heard of her, she became "that missing woman," "that teacher who disappeared."

She was a 30-year-old brunette with an easy smile and a Georgia-farm-town drawl. A Hawkinsville native, she'd been Miss Tifton in 1999 and, soon after, a contestant in the Miss Georgia pageant. She wore a yellowish suit as one of her outfits at the Miss Georgia contest, telling an interviewer at the time, "It shows I'm a happy person."

She lived by herself in south Georgia -- in a place that a national TV-news personality referred to after her disappearance as "the sleepy town of Ocilla."

She knew her neighbors well enough that when she went home at night, she switched on a light to signal that all was well.

Though she hadn't married, she had dated a local cop for the better part of five years. She collected Barbie dolls and was a fan of the TV show "The Dukes of Hazzard."

Grinstead's vanishing in late October 2005 has remained a mystery for a decade now. Hers is perhaps the region's most widely publicized missing-persons case in history. Her story has been told and retold on network television crime programs and been the subject of cable news talk shows.

Hers was the rare local case that rose to some degree of national prominence despite the remoteness of its geography.

Ocilla sits about 100 miles south of Macon. If you take U.S. 129, which more or less parallels the Ocmulgee River down through Hawkinsville and Abbeville, you swing down to Fitzgerald and into Irwin County. It's faster, though, to take Interstate 75 to just below Ashburn and Sycamore, then make the 25-mile easterly jog to town.

Some say Ocilla, a 120-year-old railroad town that today is home to about 3,400 people, was named for Seminole Chief Osceola. But theories vary.

Grinstead, who taught at Irwin County High for about eight years, had gone to work there out of college. Her folks moved to town later.

Oct. 22, 2005, the last night anyone is known to have seen her, was a Saturday. That afternoon she had helped out at the Miss Georgia Sweet Potato pageant in Fitzgerald.

She'd later gone to a cookout at the home of a former county school superintendent's family. When she was reported missing after not showing up at school on Monday, the clothes she'd worn to the Saturday cookout were found at her house. Her cellphone was charging in her bedroom. But she was gone.

Her purse and keys were missing. Her cat, Herman Talmadge, and her dog, Dolley Madison, were in the house. There were no certain signs of a struggle. A bedroom lamp was broken. Her car, a white Mitsubishi, was parked outside, unlocked.

Investigators spoke to dozens of people who knew Grinstead, including men she'd had relationships with. They also interviewed a former student who was arrested in March 2005 for apparently trying to break into her house while she was home.

Her longtime boyfriend, a man named Marcus Harper, told Fox News commentator Greta Van Susteren that Grinstead had ended their relationship well before she went missing. He said he felt "a little rejected at first" but that "we continued to be friends."

Harper, in the televised interview with Fox, described his relationship with Grinstead as "a commitment."

"We did not date other people," he said. "But I was honest with her when I said I had no intentions of marriage."

After they broke up, Harper said in the interview that Grinstead "approached me crying. She was very irrational and she told me that if she found out I was dating someone she would commit suicide."

Harper was not the only man she had been close to.

In a 2009 feature about the case on the CBS show "48 Hours," the lead GBI investigator said, "One of the things that made this case so complicated is that she did have several romantic relationships that occurred in relative proximity to one another."

The investigator, Gary Rothwell, who has since retired, told The Telegraph recently that he regrets that some people who have not been cleared as possible suspects "are twisting in the wind."

Small-town gossip and speculation have prompted finger-pointing over the years.

"What really bothers me about this is how unfair this case is," Rothwell said. "To everyone involved. Obviously to Tara and her family, but also unfair to many other people whose lives have been scrutinized. ... Irresponsible public accusations have been made about them, and they have no way to respond or defend themselves. And it's frustrating that we don't have evidence to rule anyone in or out."

There is one piece of evidence that is now considered a significant clue: a latex glove.

Investigators found it in Grinstead's yard. The glove contained what authorities have said contained "male-profiled" DNA and a fingerprint. But so far no match has turned up.

Meanwhile, Rothwell said there is "information we have never released that we can't explain."

"It's astounding to me," he said, "as many resources as we have devoted to this case, we really don't know any more about what happened to her than we did in the first week. ... It's just baffling."

J.T. Ricketson, the GBI agent in charge of the Perry field office, which is overseeing the Grinstead probe, said last week that Grinstead's disappearance and other unsolved cases are reviewed every few months.

"With this particular case, as leads come in we follow them," he said.

Earlier this year, in February, authorities acting on a tip drained a pond in Fitzgerald. Ricketson said the information was credible enough, but "it ended up not materializing into anything."

Potential evidence that was collected in 2005, apparently from Grinstead's house, may in the end prove vital to finding out what became of her.

Though Ricketson declined to go into specifics, he mentioned the scientific "leaps and bounds" that have been made regarding DNA in the past decade.

Labs, he said, are "able to separate DNA that had maybe been meshed."

Ricketson said, "We've had them revisit our evidence with this new technology, and they have come up with a couple of things that are hopeful or promising to us that may be able to head us in the right direction."
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Nut44x4
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[ *  *  * ]
http://www.13wmaz.com/news/local/gbi-plans...stead/413366904

The GBI has scheduled a news conference for 3 p.m. Thursday on the 2005 disappearance of Tara Grinstead.
and Justice for all ....
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tatertot
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[ *  *  * ]
http://nypost.com/2017/02/23/police-make-a...g-beauty-queen/

Police make arrest in cold case of missing beauty queen
By Associated Press February 23, 2017 | 6:18pm
Modal Trigger Police make arrest in cold case of missing beauty queen

OCILLA, Ga. — Authorities announced Thursday they arrested a man on murder charges in the disappearance of a high school teacher in rural south Georgia more than 11 years ago.

Ryan Alexander Duke was being held in the Irwin County jail days after investigators received a tip linking him to Tara Grinstead, a teacher and former beauty queen missing since October 2005.

“We did find the person that was responsible for Tara’s death,” J.T. Ricketson, an agent with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, said at a courthouse news conference in Ocilla, about 165 miles south of Atlanta.

Duke had attended Irwin County High School, where Grinstead taught history, about three years before she vanished, Ricketson said. He declined to comment on how they knew each other and would not say if authorities know what became of Grinstead’s body.

Connie Grinstead, the missing woman’s stepmother, told reporters she thanked God “for answered prayers.”

“We always believed that it would be solved,” she said, reading a statement at the courthouse news conference. “We just did not know when.”

It was not immediately known if Duke, 33, had a defense attorney.

Grinstead was 30 when she was last seen Oct. 22, 2005. The former Miss Tifton 1999 had spent the day helping contestants in a Miss Sweet Potato pageant in nearby Fitzgerald and then attended a cookout with friends in Ocilla. She was reported missing two days later when she failed to report to work.

Her house was found locked, with her cellphone inside. Her dog and cat were home and her car sat parked in the driveway. But Grinstead’s purse and keys were gone. A latex glove — the type worn by police officers and medical workers — was found in her front yard.

Police classified Grinstead as a missing person, saying there was no evidence she had been abducted. Still, authorities said they also couldn’t rule out foul play.

An outpouring of support followed in the farm community of Ocilla. Volunteers searched the area and set up a Tara Command Center with a telephone tip line and a website,http://www.findtara.com. Rewards of $100,000 were offered for Grinstead’s safe return or for information leading to an arrest and conviction if she was harmed.

Family members appeared on nationally televised crime shows to plead for information. Still, the case stumped investigators for more than a decade as years passed with no sign of Grinstead’s whereabouts and no arrests.

Ricketson gave no details Thursday as to how investigators linked Duke to Grinstead. He said a person, whom he declined to name, approached authorities with a tip days earlier.

“This gentleman (Duke) never came up on our radar through the investigation,” Ricketson said. Asked if more arrests were possible, he said, “That’s a very good question. Again, we have several more interviews to do.”

A probate judge in Grinstead’s home county declared her dead at her father’s request in 2010, more than five years after she vanished.

Police chased numerous leads that went nowhere. A Georgia man posted a YouTube video in 2009 claiming to have killed 16 people, including a “beauty queen” whose description matched Grinstead’s. But the video turned out to be a hoax.

The Irwin County sheriff in 2011 searched the area of a bridge crossing a creek after receiving a tip, but found nothing. In 2015, investigators acting on another tip drained a pond in Ben Hill County but later said they found nothing useful to the case.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation launched an investigation with help from the local police and sheriff’s departments. The GBI interviewed an ex-boyfriend who had dated Grinstead for six years, as well as other male friends she had, but no one was charged.

“So many people have been hurt by this,” Grinstead’s stepmother said. “We hope with time this community can have closure and start to heal from this.”
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Begood
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CBS/AP February 24, 2017, 1:41 PM
Tara Grinstead missing: Ex-student used hands to kill teacher in home, warrant says


OCILLA, Ga. -- Teacher and former beauty queen Tara Grinstead vanished from her south Georgia home in 2005, leaving a mystery that had stumped investigators for nearly 12 years - until a tip led to an unexpected arrest.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation announced Thursday that a former student at Irwin County High School, where Grinstead taught history, has been charged with her murder.

image1010374x.jpg
TARA GRINSTEAD FINDTARA.COM
The suspect, 33-year-old Ryan Alexander Duke, was being held at the Irwin County jail in Ocilla, about 165 miles southeast of Atlanta.

“We always believed that it would be solved,” Connie Grinstead, the missing woman’s stepmother, told reporters at a courthouse news conference Thursday in which the GBI announced the arrest. “We just did not know when.”

CBS News’ “48 Hours” investigated the case in the episode “Stolen Beauty.”

The arrest provides some answers for a small farming community that has long grappled with Grinstead’s strange disappearance.

“When I heard, I just broke down in tears of relief, of anger, of sadness and frustration,” said Wendy McFarland, a fellow teacher and friend of Grinstead’s. “Everything that had been carried for the last 11 years and four months just bubbled to the surface.”

Duke burglarized the teacher’s home, and used his hands to kill her inside the residence, according to warrants that were read at a late Thursday court hearing, area news outlets reported. He then removed her body from the home with the intent of concealing her death, the warrants state.

During an arraignment soon after the announcement, Duke was charged with murder, aggravated assault and burglary, reports CBS affiliate WGCL. He was appointed an attorney by the court and waived his right to a preliminary hearing.

Connie Grinstead held her husband’s hand during the court hearing.

“Our wounds are deep, and our hearts are broken,” she later told reporters.

As he was led out of the courthouse, Duke said nothing as reporters peppered him with questions about whether he killed the woman, and if so, why. Police have so far not released a motive.

duke2.jpg
Ryan Duke in an Ocilla, Ga. courtroom Feb. 23, 2017 WGCL
GBI agent J.T. Ricketson, the lead investigator, declined to discuss Grinstead’s relationship to the suspect and left open the possibility that others were involved. He wouldn’t comment on what happened to the body and later released a statement saying “the search for Grinstead’s remains continues.”

Ricketson told reporters a tip days ago led investigators to make the arrest.

Duke had been a student at Irwin County High School, where Grinstead taught history, about three years before the teacher vanished, Ricketson added.

He didn’t elaborate but noted that after hundreds of leads in the case that included interviewing numerous people, Duke had never been among them.

“This gentleman never came up on our radar,” Ricketson said.

McFarland said she was shocked authorities were accusing Duke, saying she remembered him as a polite high school athlete who played on the tennis team.

“My recollection of him is that he was a very bright young man,” McFarland said. “He was very nice.”

McFarland said she did not know whether Grinstead had taught Duke.

It wasn’t immediately known if Duke had an attorney.

Grinstead was 30 when she was last seen Oct. 22, 2005. The former Miss Georgia contestant, who in 1999 won the title Miss Tifton in a nearby city, spent the day helping contestants in a Miss Sweet Potato pageant and then attended a cookout. She was reported missing two days later after failing to report to work.

Her house was found locked, her car parked in the driveway. Her dog and cat were home, but Grinstead’s purse and keys were gone. A latex glove - the type worn by police officers and medical workers - was found in her yard.

“I did have kind of a gut feeling that something was wrong,” Ocilla police chief Billy Hancock told “48 Hours” in 2008.

Ricketson said police suspected foul play from the beginning, but found little physical evidence. Technically she remained classified as a missing person.

Grinstead’s 2005 disappearance sparked an outpouring of support in Ocilla, a farm community of about 3,300 people, and surrounding Irwin County.

duke.png
Ryan Duke GBI VIA WGCL
Volunteers helped search on foot, while a Tara Command Center was set up with a telephone tip line and a website,http://www.findtara.com. Rewards of $100,000 were offered for Grinstead’s safe return or for information leading to an arrest and conviction if she was harmed.

“Right after it happened, there were people on everything from ATVs to horses looking for her over the whole entire county,” said the Rev. Joey Whitley, a Baptist minister and the elected chairman of Irwin County.

The GBI interviewed an ex-boyfriend who had dated Grinstead for six years as well as other male friends she had, but no one was charged. Her family appeared on “48 Hours” begging anyone with information to come forward.

“I believe there is a piece of the puzzle that is missing,” Connie Grinstead told “48 Hours” in 2008. “And when that piece of information comes in, it will lead us to the answers of what happened to Tara.”

For 11 years and four months, the search for answers never stopped entirely. As the GBI announced Duke’s arrest, a sign asking “Where’s Tara?” still hung outside the sheriff’s office.

A local probate judge declared Grinstead dead at her father’s request in 2010. But some Irwin County residents kept hope alive. Whitely said one of them was a woman in his office.

He said she told him: “You know I was still hoping. I still had that hope that they would find her alive somewhere.”
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/tara-grinstead...e-warrant-says/
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Begood
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BEN HILL COUNTY, Ga. – Bo Dukes was arrested, charged and released on bond, for concealing death, hindering apprehension or punishment of a criminal, tampering with evidence in connection with Georgia beauty queen, Tara Grinstead's murder case.

Another suspect was arrested in Grinstead’s disappearance, just one week after suspected killer, Ryan Alexander Duke, was charged with the beauty queen’s murder.

Break in the case: What happened to the Georgia beauty queen?

The Savannah, Ga., native waived his first court appearance in front of the Hon. Lisa McCard Friday at Ben Hill County Magistrate Court Friday. The 32-year-old was released on a $16,700 bond and left the Ben Hill Sheriff’s Department around 12:30 p.m.



Here's what we know about Dukes.

Dukes was classmates with Duke at Irwin County High School, where Grinstead was a teacher.
He was arrested and convicted of theft in 2013, when he stole $150,000 in goods from the Army with his wife, Emily.
Bo was sentenced to 27 months in prison and was released in 2015, after serving just over two years in federal prison. He was required to attend AA meetings once a week for the first 12 months after his release.
Dukes' uncle, Randy Hudson, owns Fitzgerald Farms off Bowen Mill Highway 129 in Ben Hill County, the pecan orchard where officials have been searching for Grinstead's remains.
He was charged with concealing her death at his uncle's pecan farm. http://www.11alive.com/news/crime/bo-dukes...-case/419546239
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Nut44x4
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http://www.walb.com/story/35133551/ryan-du...-tara-grinstead

Ryan Duke indicted for the murder of Tara Grinstead
Wednesday, April 12th 2017, 12:44 pm EDT

OCILLA, GA (WALB) -
Ryan Duke has been indicted by an Irwin County grand jury.

Duke is charged with five counts, including: burglary, aggravated assault, malice murder, felony murder, and concealing a death

Court documents from his previous court appearance say he broke into Grinstead's Ocilla home and used his hands to kill her, then disposed of the body.

The Tift Circuit Court has not set a trial date at this time. ::snipping3:: ::justice2nj2::
and Justice for all ....
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tatertot
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http://amarillo.com/news/crime-and-courts/...her-s-cold-case

Posted June 3, 2017 07:30 pm - Updated June 3, 2017 08:24 pm
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Podcast helps solve missing teacher’s cold case

Editor’s note: The disappearance of Tara Grinstead has many parallels with the story of missing Canadian teenager Thomas Brown. Both were well-liked and showed no signs of preparing to leave, and extensive searches for them left friends and family without answers.

Teacher and former beauty queen Tara Grinstead vanished from her south Georgia home in 2005, leaving a mystery that had stumped investigators for nearly 12 years — until a tip led to an unexpected arrest.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation announced Feb. 23 that a former student at Irwin County High School, where Grinstead taught history, has been charged with her murder.

The suspect, 33-year-old Ryan Alexander Duke, was taken to the Irwin County jail in Ocilla, about 165 miles southeast of Atlanta.

The break in the case came after popular true crime podcast “Up and Vanished” spent its first season investigating the cold case.

Creator Payne Lindsey did extensive research into the case, uncovering new evidence and sharing up-to-the-minute updates on the case as they developed through the season.

“We always believed that it would be solved,” Connie Grinstead, the missing woman’s stepmother, told reporters. “We just did not know when.”

The arrest provides some answers for a small farming community that has long grappled with Grinstead’s strange disappearance.

“When I heard, I just broke down in tears of relief, of anger, of sadness and frustration,” said Wendy McFarland, a fellow teacher and friend of Grinstead’s. “Everything that had been carried for the last 11 years and four months just bubbled to the surface.”

Duke burglarized the teacher’s home, and used his hands to kill her inside the residence, according to warrants that were read at a Feb. 23 court hearing. He then removed her body from the home, the warrants state.

Many questions remain about why she was killed.

GBI agent J.T. Ricketson, the lead investigator, declined to discuss Grinstead’s relationship to the suspect and left open the possibility that others were involved. He wouldn’t comment on what happened to the body, later released a statement saying “the search for Grinstead’s remains continues.”

Ricketson told reporters a tip days ago led investigators to make the arrest.

Duke had been a student at Irwin County High School, where Grinstead taught history, about three years before the teacher vanished, Ricketson added.

He didn’t elaborate but noted that after hundreds of leads in the case that included interviewing numerous people, Duke had never been among them.

“This gentleman never came up on our radar,” Ricketson said.

McFarland said she was shocked authorities were accusing Duke, saying she remembered him as a polite high school athlete who played on the tennis team.

“My recollection of him is that he was a very bright young man,” McFarland said. “He was very nice.”

McFarland said she did not know whether Grinstead had taught Duke.

It wasn’t immediately known if Duke had an attorney.

Grinstead was 30 when she was last seen Oct. 22, 2005. The former Miss Georgia contestant, who in 1999 won the title Miss Tifton in a nearby city, spent the day helping contestants in a Miss Sweet Potato pageant and then attended a cookout. She was reported missing two days later after failing to report to work.

Her house was found locked, her car parked in the driveway. Her dog and cat were home, but Grinstead’s purse and keys were gone. A latex glove — the type worn by police officers and medical workers — was found in her yard.

Ricketson said police suspected foul play from the beginning, but found little physical evidence. Technically she remained classified as a missing person.

Grinstead’s 2005 disappearance sparked an outpouring of support in Ocilla, a farm community of about 3,300 people, and surrounding Irwin County.

Volunteers helped search on foot, while a Tara Command Center was set up with a telephone tip line and a website,http://www.findtara.com. Rewards of $100,000 were offered for Grinstead’s safe return or for information leading to an arrest and conviction if she was harmed.

“Right after it happened, there were people on everything from ATVs to horses looking for her over the whole entire county,” said the Rev. Joey Whitley, a Baptist minister and the elected chairman of Irwin County.

For 11 years and four months, the search for answers never stopped entirely. As the GBI announced Duke’s arrest, a sign asking “Where’s Tara?” still hung outside the sheriff’s office.

A local probate judge declared Grinstead dead at her father’s request in 2010. But some Irwin County residents kept hope alive. Whitely said one of them was a woman in his office.

He said she told him: “You know I was still hoping. I still had that hope that they would find her alive somewhere.”
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