Missing Person: Tara Grinstead
Age at the time of disappearance: age 30
Date Last Seen: October 22, 2005
Location Last Seen: At home 300 W Park Street in Ocilla, Georgia
Date Located: STILL MISSING
October 22, 2005 Tara was known to be at a young pageant girls event which she mentored at her residence. About 8:00 P.M. Tara stopped at her neighbors house for an hour and a half then headed to a cookout a few blocks away from her home. She was headed home at about 10:30 P.M. Tara was never seen again.
Tara had not been heard from in several hours. Her vehicle was parked at her residence where she lived alone. When police got there they noticed a single latex glove in her front yard, and a business card that was wedged in her front door. Inside the house, her cell phone was plugged in and charging. The clothes she had worn the day prior were on the bedroom floor. There were no signs of forced entry at the residence. Her dog was inside the residence and no one was home. The bedroom clock was found under the bed and switched off for six hours. There was a lamp that was broken on the bedside table. Inside the car the driver’s seat was pushed further back than someone her size, as if someone taller than her drove her vehicle. Tara was missing along with her purse and keys. There was an envelope of cash on the dashboard of her car.
Because the clothes she wore to the cookout were on her bedroom floor it was believed that she did make it home at least for a short amount of time. None of the neighbors seen or heard anything coming from her home.
A massive search began immediately with law enforcement and the community. Nothing was found.
Looking in to Tara’s life was the only way to peel the layers of who could have been involved in her disappearance.
She had an ex-boyfriend Marcus Harper who were together for six years though it seemed to be an open relationship. That relationship ended two weeks before her disappearance. Harper hadn’t seen her for a week before she went missing. On this night, however, he was at a bar with an officer friend.
There was a man named Anthony Vickers who was one of her former students. Tara had taken to care for him as he was a troubled kid. He became obsessed with her and in 2005 he attempted to enter her residence. She filed a police report and he got out of control, yelling at her to come out of the house. There was no link to him with her disappearance.
There was an unnamed law enforcement officer who had gone to her residence leaving his business card wedged in her front door. He was married and lived nearby, leaving over 20 messages for her on her answering machine the night she disappeared.
February 2017, twelve long years after Tara was last seen, The Georgia Bureau of Investigation announced an arrest to her death. Ryan Duke, never known as a suspect, was charged with her murder. Another man, Bo Dukes was the man said to have assisted Ryan by helping to dispose of her body, charged about a month later.
Searches suddenly started up again looking for Tara’s remains.
Ryan Alexander Duke attended the high school where Tara was teaching. At one point he broke in to her home where he was caught in the act. He was charged with one count of Malice Murder, two counts of Felony Murder, Aggravated Assault, Burglary and Concealment of a Homicide. He pleaded not guilty. His DNA was found on the glove in Tara’s yard. His trial still awaits.
Bo Dukes was charged with concealing a death, Hindering apprehension or punishment of criminal making false statements and tampering with evidence. In 2019 he was found guilty and sentenced to 25 years in prison. As of 2021 he resides at Central State Prison in Macon, Georgia and his maximum possible release date is March 20, 2044 which would make him 60 years of age if he is released in 2044.
It was later shown that these two men were at a party and bragged about her murder years before they were arrested. The man that came forward was friends with these two men and struggled with making the right decision. He did in fact go to the police after he heard this information and left a message with law enforcement, which was ignored for more years.
The story is that Ryan strangled her and accidentally killed her, then recruited Bo to help him move her body and burn it. Ryan drove with Bo in Bo’s pickup truck and drove out of town on a highway, and pulled off on to a dirt road that lead to the pecan orchard owned by Bo’s family. They drove about 200 yards up the road where Tara’s body was located. Bo said it took two days for her body to burn. There was nothing left.
The explanation in this statement was that Ryan wanted to rob her to get money for drugs.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigations considers Tara’s disappearance solved. Tara however has never been found. If you have information on Tara’s location please contact the GBI at (404) 244-2600