Tara Grinstead: School Teacher and Georgia beauty pageant winner and judge went missing in 2005

Tara Grinstead

UPDATE 6/22/17 –  The Ben Hill County grand jury  indicted Dukes on charges of concealing a death, tampering with evidence and hindering the apprehension of a criminal in 30-year-old Tara Grinstead’s death.


UPDATE 4/12/17 – A grand jury has indicted Ryan Duke on six charges.


UPDATE 3/5/17 – Ryan Alexander Duke, 30, has been charged with murder in the case of Tara Grinstead.  Also, a second man, Bo Dukes, 32, was arrested on Friday in connection with her murder, reports ABC News.  The warrant states that Dukes helped dispose of Tara’s body.  Duke and Dukes were classmates at the time Tara taught at their school.

Bo Dukes

The GBI investigators have searched a pedal farm in Fitzgerald for Tara’s remains but so far nothing has been found.  Dukes’ uncle, Randy Hudson, owns the pecan farm where authorities are searching.  It is called Fitzgerald Farms off Bowen Mill Highway 129 in Ben Hill County.

Original story:  Tara Grinstead, 31, a Ocilla school teacher and past beauty pageant winner has been missing since October 2005.  On Tuesday, investigators drained a pond in Ben Hill County for her remains, after received a tip, credible enough to get a search warrant, but nothing was found. 
Bo Dukes
Bo Dukes

Tara’s disappearance has stumped the Ocilla Police Dept. in Georgia for years, but they have never given up on finding her.  On Oct. 24, Tara did not show up for work and coworkers were not able to contact her so the police were called. Her car was found in the driveway with her keys and purse missing.  It was known she had returned home from the Sweet Potato Pageant as her clothes that she wore were found at her hours along with her cell phone.  All her doors were locked from the inside. Her sister told Nancy Grace that her alarm clock was found under her bed still plugged in but the time was 6 hours off.  A lamp that sat beside her bed was cracked although it was still on her night stand.  Neighbors stated that Tara regularly would put her lamp on in her bedroom, but they didn’t see it go on Friday night.  There was also information about an ex-student that was caught trying to break into Tara’s home four months earlier, that was witness by a neighbor who called the police. Also, the family talked about fights between Tara and her boyfriend, Fletcher  before they broke up after six years.  Then after they separated he would see her in her car and yell names at her.

A surgical latex glove was found that the police were able to obtain DNA from.  They did analyze the DNA but will only state it belongs to a man.  They did say they compared the DNA to around a dozen other men who knew Grinstead and none of them matched. Also, her car driver’s seat was found to be pushed back farther than normal.

An extensive search done by authorities led to no clues as to what happened to Tara. In 2009, videos found on the internet that claimed to be from a serial killer who called himself, “Catch Me Killer.”  In the videos where the man’s face and voice can not be identified, he talks about 16 female victims and one of the victims was thought to be Tara by authorities.  Later the videos were determined to be a hoax done by Andrew Haley, 27, and the lead was eliminated.

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Jerrie Dean, who is retired from Federal Law Enforcement, is the Founder of Missing Persons of America.

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