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How Did Tara Grinstead Die? Who Killed Her?

July 6, 2020
4 min read

If you love watching or listening to true-crime stories, then you must know who Tara Grinstead is. The case of her disappearance has been the focus of a successful podcast, and it has also found its way into television as an episode of a TV show that specializes in true crime.  It also came to the limelight for finding a conclusion after a time span of twelve years, which is enough of a period to get something tagged as a cold case. From a confounding mystery to the trial of the ones responsible for it, here is everything you need to know about Tara Grinstead’s disappearance.

Who was Tara Grinstead?

Born in 1974 in Hawkinsville, Georgia, Tara Faye Grinstead was a high-school history teacher and a beauty queen. As a teenager, she developed an interest in pageants and started competing locally. Slowly, she got better at it and competed specifically for scholarships. She used these winnings to pay her way through college. After graduating from Middle Georgia College, she started working as a history teacher at Irwin High School in Ocilla. A good-natured and friendly Tara was loved by all, which is why, when a calamity befell her, the whole town was shaken to its core.

What happened to Tara Grinstead?

Due to her history as the winner of multiple beauty queen pageants, Grinstead had acted as a mentor to the young girls who wanted to pursue the same line. This is what she had been doing the night before she disappeared. On October 21, 2005, she visited the pageant for which she had also coached some young contestants. After that, she attended a barbecue and then headed home.

The next day, when she did not show up for work, her co-workers got suspicious. Because she lived alone and it was quite unlike her to miss work and not call in to explain why, they reached out to the cops to check in on her. When the police arrived at her house, they found her car outside the house. There was no sign of forced entry, only her purse and keys were missing, and a latex glove was found in the front yard. The cops also found a business card wedged in her front door.

Knowing that something was very wrong about the situation, the local police did not take much time to notify the Georgia Bureau of Investigation about it. An extensive search began to find Grinstead, and the cops zeroed in on a couple of suspects. One was Tara’s ex-boyfriend, one was a person who had been stalking her, and the other was the person whose business card was found on the scene. However, all of them had alibis for the night of the crime, and went out of focus just as easily as they had come into the picture.

Who Killed Tara Grinstead?

Progress became incredibly slow for Grinstead’s case and almost nothing happened for twelve years. Then, Payne Lindsey chanced upon the case and made a podcast out of it, called ‘Up and Vanished’, which was also adapted for a TV series by Oxygen. The podcast’s success revived the public interest in Tara’s disappearance and eventually, a breakthrough came in 2017. An anonymous tip led GBI to a man named Bo Dukes who confessed that he had played a part in Grinstead’s disappearance. He said that he had helped bury her body, and it was his friend, Ryan Duke, who had murdered her.

The tip had come from Bo’s girlfriend, who alerted the authorities after he confessed to her in the throes of a panic attack. Soon after, Ryan Duke and Bo Dukes were arrested. One was charged with the murder, while the other received a sentence for helping the killer in burying the crime.

Read More: Where is Ryan Duke Now?

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