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In 2005, previous pageant winner and current background teacher Tara Grinstead failed to show up for work-related at the regional high institution in Ocilla, Georgia. The took over 10 years for there to it is in a major break in her disappearance. Front of the Dateline NBC episode around Grinstead’s murder, here’s what you must know around whether she was ever found and also what is currently going on v the investigation.

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Grinstead’s continues to be Were Burned and also Only pieces Recovered


On October 22, 2005, Grinstead, a 30-year-old previous Miss Georgia contestant, to be last watched helping some regional contestants in the miss Sweet Potato pageant. She attend a barbecue later on that day. Two days later, after failing to present up for work, Grinstead was reported missing.

Grinstead’s residence was locked, her car was there, and her pets to be inside. At the time, Grinstead’s sister, Anita Gattis, told WMAZ 13 the it didn’t look favor anything was also amiss other than for the truth that nobody might find Grinstead.

“There to be no sign of a scuffle in the house, in the yard. The looks prefer she left v somebody that she knew,” stated Gattis.

The investigation stretched on because that over 10 years before there was a rest in the case. In February 2017, Georgia office of investigation agents arrested Ryan Alexander Duke and charged him with Grinstead’s murder in enhancement to aggravated assault and also burglary. According to WXIA 11, duke entered Grinstead’s residence to burglarize it, then climbed into bed v her and strangled her to death. That then eliminated the human body from the home.

It would certainly later concerned light that fight it out took his friend Bo Dukes’ (no relation) pickup van to carry Grinstead’s body to the Dukes’ family pecan orchard. Duke then proved Dukes the body and also they invested two days burn Grinstead’s remains, i m sorry is why she to be never discovered — despite she was declared legally dead in 2010 at she father’s request.

According come Atlanta’s 11 Alive, forensic anthropologist Dr. Alice Gooding testified at Dukes’ attempt that melted fragments of human being bones were uncovered at the orchard in February 2017. The bones included fragments from the hand, skull, and also spine, to add a this was likewise found. Gooding testified the she could tell the bones had actually been burned because of their weight and also bluish-grey color.

The Trial against Duke is Ongoing


Duke was arrested in 2017 and also his attempt was ultimately slated to begin April 1, 2019. But in march 2019, the Georgia can be fried Court granted a hold-up in the trial over the defense’s very nice to have actually the state pay for professional witnesses and investigators.

According come WMAZ 13, Duke’s attorney Ashleigh vendor argued the the state should provide funds because that an investigator also if she and also her husband room representing battle each other pro bono.

“Just due to the fact that he has actually pro bono lawyers go not mean that that isn’t licensed has been granted to accumulation for professional witnesses. The state has experts and we’re licensed has been granted to those together well. And so the concern has been, that pays for that,” claimed Merchant.

But in June 2019, the Georgia supreme Court refused to listen the arguments about whether the state have to pay for skilled witnesses and also investigators until trial Judge invoice Reinhardt agreed to it. Reinhardt had actually twice denied Merchant’s requests since Duke had actually private defense attorneys rather of court-appointed public defenders representing him.

But eventually, Reinhardt agreed to let the appeal go to the Georgia supreme Court, follow to WMAZ 13. As of February 2020, no hearing day had to be set. In recent months, many courts nationwide have actually been delayed and backed up because of the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown.

While Duke’s attempt is ongoing, the trial against Bo Dukes reached its conclusion in in march 2019. At the time, Dukes was convicted of 2 counts of make false statements, hindering the apprehension or punishment of a criminal, and concealing a death. He got the preferably sentence the 25 years.

During the sentencing, Dukes check out a prepared statement apologizing come Grinstead’s family, follow to WTOC.

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“To the Tara Grinstead family, I’m truly sorry. Your long suffering has actually been unimaginable. Ns failed Tara Grinstead, ns failed her family, i failed the regional community. And also I expect these proceedings have given some closure come the many world hurt by my actions.”

Dateline commonly airs Fridays and Saturdays top top NBC, v special episodes airing during the week occasionally.