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Grinstead, Tara - (10/22/2005)

monkalup
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March 13th, 2006, 11:59 am #1



http://www.firstcoastnews.com/news/geor ... ryid=23725

New Investigator in Missing Teacher Case


March 10, 2006 – 6pm

By: Tiffanie Wallace


Nearly five months ago school teacher Tara Grinstead disappeared. Now her family hopes an investigative psychologist will uncover new clues.

No one seems to know what happened to the hawkinsville native even after community searches, interviews and national press coverage.

Dr. Maurice Godwin is a former police office who now specializes in psychological, geographical and environmental profiling.

Friday he spent the day examining Grinstead's home for evidence other investigators overlooked.

Godwin found fingernails, suspicious spots on the floor and an opened window in Grinstead's room.

Godwin says anything out of place can be considered possible evidence until it's tested.

DR. MAURICE GODWIN: PSYCHOLOGICAL INVESTIGATOR
"This is a cold case and it's going toward being ice cold."

Dr. Maurice Godwin says he's given hundreds of cases a year to investigate, but usually only takes on three or four.

Grinstead's sister, Anita Gattis, says the family hopes Godwin will find something that leads them to Tara.

ANITA GATTIS: GRINSTEAD'S SISTER
"It is phenomenal Dr. Godwin has agreed to breath new life into this investigation."

Aside from collecting possible evidence from the home, Godwin wants to examine the roaming signals of Tara Grinstead's cell phone.

He hopes to find out where she went the last night she was seen.

Grinstead was last seen October 22, 2005.
Last edited by monkalup on November 8th, 2008, 4:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
Lauran

"If you have a chance to accomplish something that will make things better for people coming behind you, and you don't do that, you are wasting your time on this earth." The late, great Roberto Clemente.


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ceestar92
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March 23rd, 2006, 8:12 pm #2

http://www.crimelibrary.com/features/fe ... earch.html



2 page article stating a new search for Tara.
Someone who thinks logically provides a nice contrast to the real world
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monkalup
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April 4th, 2006, 3:13 pm #3

http://www.wsbtv.com/news/8415940/detail.html

Cadaver Dogs Search For Missing Teacher

POSTED: 11:30 pm EST April 1, 2006

FITZGERALD, GA -- Authorities continue to search south-central Georgia for Tara Grinstead after cadaver dogs searching Saturday failed to find the popular teacher.

K-9 handler Angela Batten was expected to bring eight cadaver dogs to an area 10 miles west of Fitzgerald to search for Grinstead, a former beauty queen who has been missing for five months.

Last weekend, the dogs "alerted" at two of the ponds that were checked, Batten said. Sheriff Bobby McLemore said he believed the dogs were hitting on decaying vegetation.

Grinstead, a high school history teacher in neighboring Irwin County, was last seen October 22nd.

Copyright 2006 by WSBTV.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



Lauran

"If you have a chance to accomplish something that will make things better for people coming behind you, and you don't do that, you are wasting your time on this earth." The late, great Roberto Clemente.


In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any copyrighted work in this message is distributed under fair use without profit or payment for non-profit research and educational purposes only.
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monkalup
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April 4th, 2006, 3:14 pm #4

Lauran

"If you have a chance to accomplish something that will make things better for people coming behind you, and you don't do that, you are wasting your time on this earth." The late, great Roberto Clemente.


In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any copyrighted work in this message is distributed under fair use without profit or payment for non-profit research and educational purposes only.
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monkalup
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April 11th, 2006, 11:18 pm #5

http://www.crimelibrary.com/news/origin ... _tara.html

School Teacher



by Seamus McGraw

April 11, 2006

OCILLA, Ga. (Crime Library) — Supporters of missing schoolteacher and beauty queen Tara Grinstead say they have some promising leads and plan to rally their volunteers for yet another search later this week.

As they have on several recent occasions, supporters are keeping the precise location of the search a secret, fearing, they say, that any advance publicity might compromise their efforts. But according to Larry Gattis, the missing woman's brother in law, the new search, scheduled for Thursday, Friday and possibly Saturday, will focus on an area that has already been combed by volunteers. The location — which will be disclosed to volunteers on Thursday when they convene at what has become the command center for the Find Tara effort — was picked because during one of the earlier searches six out of eight trained cadaver dogs responded to something in the immediate area.



Tara Grinstead


That, Gattis said, convinced Grinstead's supporters that the area warranted a closer look.

So far, of course, neither searchers nor police have found any tangible evidence to indicate what happened to Grinstead. The missing woman's family and supporters have long suspected that the now 31-year-old teacher, who vanished on Oct. 22, may have been abducted. In recent weeks they have said they become increasingly convinced that she was killed, in all likelihood, they maintain, by someone who knew her.

Investigators, including members of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the local police and sheriff's department, have been far less definitive in their statements about the case. Officially, it remains a missing person's case, and authorities say they don't have any evidence that indicates conclusively whether she was a victim of a violent crime or a young woman, under immense pressure from her studies and emotionally overwrought by her troubled love life, who simply ran away.

Contact Seamus McGraw at
seamusm@ptd.net

Seamus McGraw


Lauran

"If you have a chance to accomplish something that will make things better for people coming behind you, and you don't do that, you are wasting your time on this earth." The late, great Roberto Clemente.


In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any copyrighted work in this message is distributed under fair use without profit or payment for non-profit research and educational purposes only.
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Ell
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April 12th, 2006, 12:08 am #6

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http://www.crimelibrary.com/news/origin ... _tara.html
Grinstead Supporters Plan New Search for Missing School Teacher


by Seamus McGraw

April 11, 2006

OCILLA, Ga. (Crime Library) — Supporters of missing schoolteacher and beauty queen Tara Grinstead say they have some promising leads and plan to rally their volunteers for yet another search later this week.

As they have on several recent occasions, supporters are keeping the precise location of the search a secret, fearing, they say, that any advance publicity might compromise their efforts. But according to Larry Gattis, the missing woman's brother in law, the new search, scheduled for Thursday, Friday and possibly Saturday, will focus on an area that has already been combed by volunteers. The location — which will be disclosed to volunteers on Thursday when they convene at what has become the command center for the Find Tara effort — was picked because during one of the earlier searches six out of eight trained cadaver dogs responded to something in the immediate area.



Tara Grinstead


That, Gattis said, convinced Grinstead's supporters that the area warranted a closer look.

So far, of course, neither searchers nor police have found any tangible evidence to indicate what happened to Grinstead. The missing woman's family and supporters have long suspected that the now 31-year-old teacher, who vanished on Oct. 22, may have been abducted. In recent weeks they have said they become increasingly convinced that she was killed, in all likelihood, they maintain, by someone who knew her.

Investigators, including members of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the local police and sheriff's department, have been far less definitive in their statements about the case. Officially, it remains a missing person's case, and authorities say they don't have any evidence that indicates conclusively whether she was a victim of a violent crime or a young woman, under immense pressure from her studies and emotionally overwrought by her troubled love life, who simply ran away.

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Contact Seamus McGraw at
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Seamus McGraw


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Last edited by Ell on April 12th, 2006, 12:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
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monkalup
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April 20th, 2006, 8:22 pm #7

http://www.macon.com/mld/macon/14382517.htm

Posted on Thu, Apr. 20, 2006
New witness reported in Grinstead disappearance
By Liz Fabian
TELEGRAPH STAFF WRITER
OCILLA - New tips are coming in after word surfaced of a new witness and suspect vehicle in the disappearance of Tara Grinstead, said the sister of the missing Irwin County High School teacher.

The Tara Command Center - a clearinghouse for tips, searchers and volunteers - received about a half dozen calls this week after a North Carolina criminal psychologist working on the case said he located a new witness, said Anita Gattis, Grinstead's sister.

Maurice Godwin, who, according to his Web site, holds a doctorate in investigative psychology from the University of Liverpool, said he learned of the existence of a witness during a recent trip to Ocilla.

Godwin said the witness saw a man near a black Chevrolet pickup truck parked on the grass at Grinstead's house the night she was last seen, Oct. 22.

"The person standing by the truck said something very rude to the witness," Godwin said Wednesday.

The man threatened the witness, Godwin said, which might be the reason that person hasn't come forward.

Godwin said he has talked to the best friend of the witness and plans to contact the witness today.

"This person is legitimate. I can tell you that," Godwin said.

Godwin said he was triple-checking his information before turning over the witness's name to investigators, he said.

He expects to notify GBI Special Agent Gary Rothwell before the week is out, he said.

"When I get my ducks in a row ... I'm going to shoot them some information," Godwin said.

Rothwell would not comment Wednesday on the specifics of the investigation or any witnesses.

"It's a very complex investigation," Rothwell said. "We still have a lot of resources devoted to this investigation, and we still believe it's a solvable case."

As the investigation nears the six-month mark, Gattis said Godwin's new development "gives me hope that at some point justice would be served."

Godwin agreed to take the case without pay about six weeks ago, when he first traveled to Ocilla and gathered evidence at Grinstead's home, he said.

There have been two other witnesses who reported seeing a dark-colored pickup at Grinstead's house, including one man who called the tip line Wednesday, Gattis said.

"It really sounds like somebody she knew," Gattis said. "It's just kind of a bizarre thing, but then again, this whole thing has been bizarre. We're just waiting to see what comes of it."

In the meantime, Gattis said she spends every weekend looking for her sister.

Over the Easter weekend, searchers drained a pond looking for evidence, she said.

Two psychics, Carla Baron and John Oliver, also have taken an interest in the case, Gattis said.

Baron and Oliver filmed an episode about the Grinstead site for "Haunting Evidence," a television series scheduled to begin airing on Court TV in June, according to Baron's Web site.

In the meantime, anyone with information is asked to call the tip line at (229) 468-0667 or visit the Tara Command Center at its new location at 121 North Cherry St. in Ocilla, Gattis said.

"We feel like we're really moving in a positive direction right now," Gattis said.

Lauran

"If you have a chance to accomplish something that will make things better for people coming behind you, and you don't do that, you are wasting your time on this earth." The late, great Roberto Clemente.


In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any copyrighted work in this message is distributed under fair use without profit or payment for non-profit research and educational purposes only.
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monkalup
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May 16th, 2006, 6:55 pm #8

http://www.crimelibrary.com/news/origin ... d_dna.html

Could DNA Hold A Clue To Tara Grinsteads Fate?



by Seamus McGraw

May 16, 2006


OCILLA, Ga. (Crime Library) — It is, perhaps, a tantalizing clue an orphan speck of DNA recovered during the search for missing schoolteacher and beauty queen Tara Grinstead.

But despite a massive effort by state and local law enforcement officials, authorities still don't know whom it came from, says criminologist Dr. Maurice Godwin, or whether it might hold the key to solving the mystery of Grinstead's disappearance.

Officially, authorities will not even confirm the existence of the DNA evidence, or any of the other leads Godwin has claimed to uncovered in the months since he launched his own probe into the schoolteacher's disappearance. "The issuesare not something we're going to comment on," said John Bankhead, a spokesman for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. The case, officials say, remains a missing persons investigation, and authorities have uncovered no evidence to suggest that the young teacher was the victim of foul play. In the past, authorities have been circumspect in their comments on Godwin's assertions about the case.

But Godwin, who says he has been working "fourteen or 15 hours a day on the case" at the behest of Tara's family, contends that GBI officials not only have the DNA evidence but have taken it seriously enough that they have collected DNA samples from a number of men in Tara's life. "They're swabbing people right and left," Godwin said. "You don't swab people without having something to compare it to."
With no matches, cops are still in the dark

So far, Godwin says, the GBI has not come up with a match, not from Tara's former boyfriend, not from a police captain in a nearby community with whom she enjoyed a close friendship, not from any of the other men in her life, though, he says there is at least one man, also a friend of Tara's with links to law enforcement who has not yet been swabbed.

Precisely where the evidence was recovered also remains a closely guarded secret. "I know," Godwin told Crime Library. "I can't tell you."


In the meantime, Godwin says, he has turned over to investigators information he obtained last month regarding two witnesses who claim to have spotted a black Chevy pickup near Tara's house on the night nearly eight months ago when she disappeared after attending the local Sweet Potato festival and beauty pageant. One of those witnesses, he says, claimed to have exchanged words with the driver of the pickup. Again, GBI officials declined to comment on Godwin's assertion, other than to say that the probe remains open and investigators are aggressively tracking every lead.



Lauran

"If you have a chance to accomplish something that will make things better for people coming behind you, and you don't do that, you are wasting your time on this earth." The late, great Roberto Clemente.


In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any copyrighted work in this message is distributed under fair use without profit or payment for non-profit research and educational purposes only.
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monkalup
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May 16th, 2006, 7:00 pm #9

http://www.crimelibrary.com/news/origin ... ssing.html

Beauty Queen & Teacher Tara Grinstead Goes Missing




Popular, bubbly young woman vanishes from Ocilla, a tiny South Georgia town, after helping at beauty pageant.

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By Steve Huff

Oscilla, GA, — (Crime Library)

"This lady is a wonderful person and great friend..." ~ a colleague of Tara Grinstead's at Irwin County High School.

According to the daily schedule for Irwin County High School, located in South Georgia, about 180 miles down Interstate 75 from Atlanta, first bell would have rung at 8:05 a.m. the morning of October 24, 2005. Around 8:10, first announcements would have been made over the school intercom.

Sometime that morning, perhaps right away, people noticed that Miss Grinstead was missing.



Tara Grinstead


By lunchtime, at 11:40 that morning, as students and faculty began to dig into their choice of quesadillas or pizza, they were likely quite worried. Teachers just don't fail to show up one day, without securing a substitute, without calling someone. Teachers like Tara Grinstead would doubtless find such a thing unthinkable.

The Hawkinsville, GA native, age 30, was a ninth-grade social studies teacher and administrator. The former Miss Tifton, GA of 1999 and 1998 Miss Charisma in the Georgia Miss Sweet Potato Pageant was noted for her bubbly personality and her dedication to her job. Tara Grinstead was a teacher because she wanted to help people.

The last night anyone saw Tara, Saturday, October 22, 2005, that's just what Tara Grinstead was doing — helping people. She attended the Miss Sweet Potato Pageant held at the Grand, a 1930's-era restored Art Deco Movie Theater in downtown Fitzgerald, GA, 9 miles north of Tara Grinstead's home in tiny Ocilla, and assisted contestants with hair and makeup. An interview Tara gave about the Miss Tifton pageant to the Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College paper, The Stallion, in 2002, might explain why she remained involved in local beauty contests:

"...Miss Tifton symbolizes great achievement for women. Miss Tifton is a role model and it is a job. This is a scholarship pageant, not a beauty pageant. Miss Tifton is a local franchise of the Miss America Pageant. Miss America is the largest provider of scholarships to women in the world..."

After Tara Grinstead was reported missing to local, Ocilla, GA authorities and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, it was discovered that she'd made it home that Saturday from Sweet Potato Pageant. The clothes she was last known to wear were at the house, as were her car and cellphone. All that seemed to be missing at the time was Tara Grinstead, her purse, and keys.

On Thursday, October 27, Tifton Gazette reporter Dusty Vassey published an article about the investigation into Tara Grinstead's disappearance noting that police helicopters and K-9 dog tracking units were already helping in the search, and that a $10,000 reward was being offered for information leading to Tara's returning safely home.

Already online, several weblogs devoted to tracking missing persons cases, such as the Missing & Abducted Blog, were highlighting the mystery of Miss Grinstead's disappearance. At the Myspace.com site kept by South Georgian Michele Bassett, people who knew Tara Grinstead came to get updates on the case from links Bassett posted to both blogs and mainstream media sources. One reader of Bassett's, Erin Womack, left the following comment:

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"I met Tara when she became Miss Tifton 1999 - I really hadn't seen much of her since until about a month ago (...) Tara looked the same as I remembered her. We spoke briefly, and she said she was doing very well teaching in Irwin County. My heart goes out to her family, friends, and all the people in her community looking for her. I pray that she is safe and returns home soon. I think we are all doing the right things like spreading the word. It is amazing how much support there is in south Georgia..."

The population of Ocilla, GA barely tops 3,300, and small southern towns are legendary for gossip — mostly due to literature written by native southerners, like Eudora Welty and William Faulkner. Naturally, as the days paced away from the Saturday night when Tara Grinstead was last seen, speculation ran rampant. The Tifton Gazette reported that a man had once been arrested for disorderly conduct for pounding on Grinstead's door, and even though local authorities said there was no reason to suspect the incident was related to Tara's disappearance, still, tongues wagged.

Yet none of the early speculation seemed to include the possibility that Tara Grinstead had intentionally disappeared. That just didn't seem to fit. As the one-week mark since Tara's vanishing neared, the search continued in and around Ocilla, GA, and students and faculty at Irwin County High, along with Tara's family and friends, continued to worry, wonder, and pray.

Tara Grinstead is 5'3" and weighs around 125 lbs. She has brown hair and brown eyes. If you have information about her disappearance, please call GBI agent Dominic Turner or Detective Bill Barrs at (229) 468-7494. A .pdf document about this missing person can be found at www.ocillapolice.com, the website for the Ocilla, GA Police Department.


Lauran

"If you have a chance to accomplish something that will make things better for people coming behind you, and you don't do that, you are wasting your time on this earth." The late, great Roberto Clemente.


In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any copyrighted work in this message is distributed under fair use without profit or payment for non-profit research and educational purposes only.
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monkalup
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May 16th, 2006, 7:04 pm #10

http://www.crimelibrary.com/news/origin ... unity.html

Search for Tara Grinstead Involves Entire Community



Former Beauty Queen and Ocilla, GA High School Teacher Tara Grinstead Still Missing.

By Steve Huff

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Ocilla, GA, — (Crime Library)

October, 2005 in Ocilla, Georgia, ended with celebrations, for some. The weekend starting October 29, 2005, saw the beginning of the 45th annual Georgia Sweet Potato Festival. It started with a parade Saturday morning at the Ocilla Community House on Irwin Avenue, and at 1:30 that afternoon, entertainment began in the old elementary school auditorium.

The Miss Georgia Sweet Potato Queen, Kari Pujadas, had been elected the weekend before at the Miss Sweet Potato Queen Pageant held in Fitzgerald, GA, about 9 miles north of Ocilla.

The Saturday of the pageant, some of the hopefuls gathered at a home on West Park Street in Ocilla, the residence of the woman who was elected Miss Charisma in the same competition in 1998, 30-year-old Tara Grinstead. Tara helped them with their hair and makeup, and sometimes she provided encouragement afterwards, sending a kind note to someone disappointed in their first time out. Tara Grinstead seemed to take a more modern view of pageants. For her, they provided scholarship money for women who might not otherwise necessarily have a chance at such money.



Tara Grinstead


When the newest Sweet Potato Queen rode down Irwin Avenue on Saturday the 29th, Tara Grinstead had been gone for a week, and no one knew where she was. If someone did know, they weren't talking.

Sunday the 23rd, Tara didn't show up at her church in her hometown of Hawkinsville, GA, but everyone has a Sunday off now and then, even the preachers. It was when Tara Grinstead wasn't greeting students with her welcoming smile on Monday morning, October 24, that co-workers and friends of the former cheerleader and Miss Tifton, GA of 1999 realized something was wrong. By 8:50 that morning, Ocilla Police had been notified about the missing teacher. By Wednesday, October 26, Tara Grinstead's photogenic smile was beginning to be seen in newscasts and pulled up by internet searches for "Ocilla" and "Tara"+"Irwin County."

Soon enough a reward was being offered. It started at $10,000 for information leading to Tara's safe return. As Sunday, October 30 rang in with churchbells and murmured prayers for Tara and her family in Ocilla and the surrounding municipalities of Douglas, Tifton, the smaller towns of Alapaha, Ambrose, and Enigma, the reward doubled to $20,000. In the afternoon on the 30th the din undoubtedly stirred up by the previous day's festivities was replaced with barking K-9 dogs trolling through fields, helicopters overhead, and all-terrain-vehicles motoring beneath the trees. Everyone was looking for Tara.

A website was created to assist in organizing information about the search for the young woman, www.findtara.com. Webmaster Jannis Paulk worked until 4 in the morning setting it up, concentrating on making the pages easy to navigate for young people, in particular

Many who found themselves upset by the continuing mystery of Tara Grinstead's whereabouts were students from Irwin County High past and present, and young women Tara had encouraged as part of her involvement in local pageants through the years. A steady stream of visitors found their way to the online guestbook at www.findtara.com. Leaving messages of concern and support. A websurfer signing in as Betsy Soles from Florida was eloquent:

(...)I have not seen Tara in a few years, but a smile like hers, one can never forget. I now live in Navarre, Florida and randomly received an email last week with the subject line saying: Please Pray for Tara Grinstead. I found this to be odd, but only assuming that maybe something minor had happened. The thought of her being missing never once came to mind. Nevertheless, she and the family are in my thoughts and prayers.

More poignant were the messages left by students. Writing from Ilsan, South Korea, a former Irwin County High Exchange Student named Christine Kang gave an idea of the kind of impact a caring teacher can have on the life of a student:

I'm so sorry to hear about what happened to Miss Grinstead. I still can't believe what I heard. I went to Irwin County High for 1 year as an exchange student and she was one of the sweetest people there. She is so caring and giving to her students. I am sure she will come home soon safely. I will pray for her everynight.

The police and Georgia Bureau of Investigation were not sure what to make of Tara's vanishing, at first. Local press, like the NBC affiliate in Albany, GA, WALB, initially assumed Tara might be a "runaway," a la Jennifer Wilbanks, bride-to-be from Duluth, GA, near Atlanta, whose pre-wedding jitters had made her national news in late February of 2005. Even as late as October 30, WALB-TV told volunteers working from the command center to find Tara news in the Irwin County Senior Center on West 4th Street in Ocilla. WALB-TV's coverage for that day was to be too sports-heavy to allow for an extended piece about Tara.


National Cable News outlets began to realize there was a story unfolding in South Georgia. Sunday night Tara's sister, Anita Gattis, traveled to Atlanta to make appearances on Fox News, and on Monday, October 31, Nancy Grace featured Tara's disappearance on her one-hour program on CNN Headline News.

Authorities, by Halloween, 2005, still had not named any persons-of-interest related to the vanishing of Tara Grinstead. Rumors flew, as they will do. A young man from just east of Ocilla, age 20, who had once been arrested for disorderly conduct for pounding on Grinstead's door, was mentioned, and people may have wondered about a former beau of Tara's who had recently returned from military duty. But police and GBI Agents were still talking to a number of people as the community collectively began to realize Tara Grinstead might be more than just a woman wanting to check out of her life for a while.

As the second week of questions began in Irwin County, GA, the community that had celebrated Sweet Potato Pageants with the turning of the leaves for 45 years came together for a new cause. Elsewhere, in Florida, in Missouri, Atlanta, in Ilsan, South Korea, others remembered the Tara Grinstead they knew, felt the worry, the mystery, the absence, and began to pray.

Lauran

"If you have a chance to accomplish something that will make things better for people coming behind you, and you don't do that, you are wasting your time on this earth." The late, great Roberto Clemente.


In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any copyrighted work in this message is distributed under fair use without profit or payment for non-profit research and educational purposes only.
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