Born: November 14, 1974 in Hawkinsville, Georgia
Disappeared: October 22, 2005 (aged 30)
Status: Missing for 12 Years (as of 2017)
Known for: Missing person
Height: 5 ft 3 in (1.60 m)
Parent(s): Bill and Faye Bennett Grinstead
A Little About The Tara Grinstead Case
Tara Grinstead (born November 14, 1974) is a beauty queen and high school history teacher who lived in Ocilla, Georgia, USA, and has been missing since October 22, 2005. Neither police nor the Georgia Bureau of Investigation have identified any suspects in the disappearance.
A native of Hawkinsville, Georgia, Grinstead loved beauty pageants. In 1999 she won the title of Miss Tifton and competed in the Miss Georgia pageant. Money from this pageant and many others she had entered had winnings that helped her to attend college. She graduated from Middle Georgia College in Georgia. She earned a master's degree in education at Valdosta State University in 2003. In 1998 she began teaching history at Irwin County High School in Ocilla.
The night before her disappearance, Tara Grinstead visited a beauty pageant (she was active as a coach to young beauty contestants) and attended a barbecue. On October 24, 2005, a Monday morning, Grinstead did not show up for work. Co-workers called police who went to the home where she lived alone. They found her cell phone inside the house. Her car was outside, unlocked. Her purse and keys were gone.
Local police immediately called in the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, feeling that "something was wrong" and the case was beyond the resources of the small town police department. The GBI found no signs of forced entry and no sign of a struggle.
Irwin County High School principal Bobby Conner was quoted by the Atlanta Journal and Constitution as saying, "We're a small community and this has really touched home because it is something you read about happening elsewhere. This is someone with a tremendous, magnetic personality, and the kids just love her."
In February 2009, videos surfaced on the internet featuring a self-proclaimed serial killer. Dubbing himself the "Catch Me Killer," the man in the videos details what he claims are his 16 female victims, and one of these described women is determined by authorities to be Tara Grinstead. Though the man's face and voice are digitally obscured, police eventually determined the videos' source to be 27-year-old Andrew Haley. A police investigation ultimately revealed the videos to be part of a bizarre, elaborate hoax, and Haley was ultimately eliminated as a substantial lead in Grinstead's disappearance.
In 2008 the case received renewed attention with a report on the CBS News show 48 Hours Mystery, which noted the similarity of this case to the disappearance of another young woman in Orlando, Florida, three months later.
In connection with that news story, police revealed that they had found DNA on a latex glove which was found in Grinstead's yard, "just a stone's throw from her front stoop," according to a 2008 interview with Gary Rothwell of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation:
Rothwell did not identify as a suspect the person whose DNA was found in the glove, but he said that person could help lead to a break in the case. "We believe it is a critical element to solving the case," Rothwell said.
Rothwell said the DNA has been analyzed and agents know it's a man's DNA. But they haven't identified the man. Over the course of the investigation, he said, agents have compared the DNA to dozens of men who knew Grinstead or who were associated with her. "None of them matched," Rothwell said. The DNA also has been entered into Georgia and national databases, but still no matches."
In 2011 the chief GBI investigator said "this case has never gone cold," adding that leads still come in on a weekly basis.
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