Update: Arrest made in the disappearance of Tara Grinstead


Ryan Alexander Duke, 33, charged with murder in connection with the 2005 disappearance of Tara Grinstead. Photo courtesy of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has announced that an arrest has been made in the disappearance of Tara Grinstead who went missing from Ocilla, Ga. in October 2005. Ryan Alexander Duke, 33, has been charged with murder in connection with the disappearance of the the 31-year-old teacher and beauty queen. Duke would have been about 22 at the time that Grinstead disappeared.

“On Saturday, October 22, 2005, Tara Grinstead disappeared from her home in Ocilla, Georgia.  Immediately, foul play was suspected and a massive search was started by the Ocilla Police Department, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, and the Irwin County Sheriff’s Office.  The search conducted at Grinstead’s home produced very little evidence making the search for her very difficult.  Many volunteers from the local community came out and assisted law enforcement with the search efforts,” GBI communication director  Nelly Miles said in a press release. “Since the disappearance of Grinstead, several hundred interviews have been conducted, hundreds of leads have been investigated, and multiple search warrants have been executed.  All these efforts did not produce any credible information as to the whereabouts of Grinstead.”

However, that appears to have changed recently when, according to Miles, the GBI received a tip that led agents to conduct interviews with subjects who had not been interviewed previously.

“The information gained from these interviews led agents to develop enough probable cause to secure an arrest warrant for Duke, charging him with the murder of Tara Grinstead,” Miles said, adding that this is still an active investigation with more interviews and “investigative acts” expected. Grinstead’s remains have not been located, but the search for them continues.

Click or tap on this lead for the full story and updates by former Monroe Area High School student Jobie Peeples who is now a news anchor with WMAZ13 in south Georgia. 

Initial Story

Although Ocilla, Ga. is not local to Walton or Gwinnett counties, it is local to all Georgians. The disappearance in 2005 of Tara Grinstead from Ocilla has been covered by many local and national news channels as well as in Unsolved Mysteries.

The 30-year-old school teacher and beauty queen disappeared without a trace in late October 2005 and despite intensive searches and a lot of publicity, nobody appeared to know what could have happened, possibly until now.

The Georgia Bureau of Information has announced that it will be holding a press conference at 3 p.m. today, Feb. 23, 2017, at the Irwin County Courthouse in Ocilla, Ga.

“Updates will be provided in the investigation into the disappearance of Tara Grinstead,” said Nelly Miles, director of communications for the GBI.

Since it appears that there are people from the local area who were either born Ocilla, had family in the area or who had followed the case with interest because of all the media publicity, we will update it with the information given by the GBI.


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