Real Name: Tara Faye Grinstead
Nicknames: No known nicknames
Location: Ocilla, Georgia
Date: October 22, 2005
Date of Birth: November 14, 1974
Marital Status: Single
Characteristics: Brown hair, brown eyes
Details: Tara Grinstead was involved in several beauty pageants, winning "Miss Tifton" in 1999 when she was twenty-five. She used her winnings to pay her way through Middle Georgia College and Valdosta State University. After receiving her master's degree, she began teaching at Irwin County High School in Ocilla, Georgia. She was a beloved teacher and well-liked by many of her students.
On Saturday, October 22, 2005, Tara visited a beauty pageant and then attended a barbecue. She left her friend's house at 11PM. When Tara failed to appear at school the following Monday, October 24, students and coworkers became very concerned. Tara was reported missing and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation was called in to assist by 11AM that same morning. The clothes she was wearing two nights earlier were found in her home. Her car, cell phone, and pets were also at her home. The only items missing were her purse, keys, and earrings. Numerous searches were conducted without success.
Evidence inside Tara's home suggested that foul play may have occurred. Her bedside alarm clock had fallen on the floor and was broken. Some beads were scattered across the floor. One of her bedposts was damaged and her bedroom lampshade was askew. However, no other evidence was found to suggest what had happened to her.
Suspects: None known; a single latex glove was found on her front lawn with an unknown male DNA profile inside. Evidence found in her car suggested that someone taller than her had last driven it. Dirt on the tires suggested that it had been driven on a dirt road.
Tara and her boyfriend of six years had broken up a few weeks before she vanished. He was questioned but not considered a suspect. A former student who was arrested for harassing her was questioned, along with a married police officer whose business card was found wedged in her front door.
Extra Notes: This case has been profiled on Dateline, Haunting Evidence, Disappeared, Vanished with Beth Holloway during the and documented on Hometown Homicide after it was resolved. some references however still erroneously mention Unsolved Mysteries as having included the case.
Results: Unresolved. In February of 2017, Ryan Alexander Duke was arrested and charged with Tara's murder. His family friend, Bo Dukes, was arrested and charged with concealing her death. The two both attended the school where she worked. However, they had graduated several years before her disappearance. A tip to the police as a result of the "Up and Vanished" podcast led them to the suspects.
Police believe that Ryan broke into Tara's home looking for money. When she found him, he attacked and killed her. He and Bo then took her body to a pecan farm and disposed of it. During separate interviews with police, both men confessed to their involvement in the murder. Ryan specifically noted that he had called her home from a payphone hours after the attack; this detail had never been released to the public. Also, his DNA was found in the glove from her front lawn.
In 2018, Bo was released pending trial. On December 31, he raped two women in his home. He was arrested a few days later. He was later convicted of concealment of a homicide and sentenced to twenty-five years in prison. Ryan is awaiting trial on murder charges. Tara's remains have not yet been recovered.
- Tara Grinstead on Wikipedia
- Find Tara Grinstead Website
- Tara Grinstead Facebook Page
- Tara Grinstead on the Charley Project
- What Happened to Tara Grinstead?
- Former student charged with killing Tara Grinstead
- The Shocking True Story of Up and Vanished: How an Arm-Chair Detective Solved a 12-Year Old Cold Case
- Tara Grinstead case: Leaked confession reveals motive behind killing, investigators say
- Confession, DNA evidence revealed in Tara Grinstead murder
- Bo Dukes sentenced to 25 years in Tara Grinstead case
- Man accused of murdering Tara Grinstead to appear before Georgia Supreme Court