INVESTIGATE

THE PEOPLE

  • tara grinstead
    Teacher and cheerleading coach at Ocilla's Irwin County High School. She was last seen alive on Saturday, October 22, 2005.
    Tara Grinstead

    Victim

  • Atlanta filmmaker who decided to create and host a true-crime podcast about a missing persons case in Ocilla, Georgia.
    Payne Lindsey

    Host + Executive Producer

  • Private forensic detective who investigated Tara’s disappearance, beginning in 2006. He investigated her home and firmly believed there were signs of foul play.
    Dr. Maurice Godwin

    Private Forensic Detective

  • A year before Tara’s disappearance, Marcus broke off their six-year relationship, which left Tara broken-hearted. A week before her disappearance, Marcus and Tara became entangled in an argument, leaving police and detectives convinced that Marcus was a prime suspect before his alibi cleared him.
    Marcus Harper

    Ex-Boyfriend + Former Police Officer

  • A captain at the Perry Police Department, Dykes was thought to be romantically involved with Tara. Dykes was the last known person at Tara’s residence, where he wedged his business card in the front door after a "wellness check."
    Heath Dykes

    Chief - Perry Police Department

  • Reporter for the Ocilla Star who started covering Tara’s case a week after her disappearance. He was a strong ally and supporter of the podcast. Dusty passed away on September 8, 2017, after a battle with cancer.
    Dusty Vassey

    Journalist - Ocilla Star

  • He claimed to have an intimate, romantic relationship with Tara. Six months before her disappearance, she called the police, citing that Anthony had become aggressive and was trying to force his way into her house. He was also a person of interest, but was cleared after providing a tight alibi.
    Anthony Vickers

    Former Student

  • Ocilla Police Chief who arrived on the scene the Monday after Tara’s disappearance. He called the GBI to take over the case almost immediately.
    Billy Hancock

    Chief - Ocilla Police Department

  • Tara’s older sister. She works in the lab of her husband’s medical practice. She felt certain from the beginning that Tara was the victim of foul play. She and other media outlets filed objections against the trial’s gag order.
    Anita Gattis

    Older Sister

  • A physician and the husband of Tara’s sister, Anita.
    Larry Gattis

    Brother-In-Law

  • Friend of Tara for more than 15 years. That Monday morning she went to Tara’s house and felt something was wrong when her house was not in its usual pristine shape.
    Maria Hulett

    Tara's best friend

  • Irwin County’s former school superintendent hosted the barbecue that Tara attended on the night of her disappearance.
    Troy Davis

    Friend - hosted BBQ

  • A next-door neighbor to whom Tara was very close. He and his wife became worried after never seeing her bedroom lamp turn on the night of her disappearance. They entered her house the next day to find it in disarray.
    Joe Portier

    Next Door Neighbor

  • Salesman from Atlanta who took Tara on a casual date in October of 2005. On the night of her disappearance, Tara texted Hickey, "I’m cold," out of the blue.
    Jim Hickey

    Casual Date

  • The son of Tara’s landlord, who also dated Tara at one point.
    Rhett Roberts

    Son of the Landlord

  • He was the special agent in charge of the GBI office in Perry, Georgia, when Tara went missing. From the beginning of her disappearance, he treated the investigation as an abduction.
    Gary Rothwell

    GBI Special Agent in Charge

  • Tifton Judicial Circuit District Attorney and prosecutor who is in favor of the gag order.
    Paul Bowden

    District Attorney

  • A friend of Bo Dukes who allegedly knew what happened to Tara. He was listed on the suicide note, and was also in a picture with Bo Dukes and several other boys in the back of a truck.
    Jim Deal (alias)

    Bo Dukes' friend - on Suicide List

  • A former friend of Bo Dukes. Regarding Tara’s disappearance, Bo shared a version of the story, including his involvement, with Darren.
    Darren (alias)

    Bo Dukes' friend

  • Former student who committed suicide. He wrote a letter saying he couldn't live with himself any longer, because he knew what happened to Tara Grinstead. The letter also listed twelve other names.
    Anonymous

    Former Student - Committed Suicide

  • Son of Paul Bowden. He was in the same friend group as Ryan Duke and Bo Dukes.
    Josh Bowden

    Bo Dukes' friend - District Attorney's Son

  • Charged with the alleged murder, burglary, and aggravated assault of Tara Grinstead. Duke graduated from Irwin County High School, the same high school where Tara taught. He was never considered a suspect by the police.
    Ryan Alexander Duke

    Arrested Suspect

  • Eight days after the arrest of Ryan Alexander Duke, Bo Dukes pleaded guilty to concealing the death of another, tampering with evidence, and hindering the punishment of a criminal. Dukes was in the same class as Ryan Duke at Irwin County High School.
    Bo Dukes

    Arrested Accomplice

  • Bo Dukes’ girlfriend. She claims that she was the tipster to the GBI. Her boyfriend confessed to her that he and Ryan Duke were involved in Tara’s disappearance.
    Brooke Sheridan

    Bo's Girlfriend + Tipster

  • A deputy and also a relative of Ryan Duke. He searched the pecan orchard, and interviewed Ryan about two months after Tara disappeared.
    Nelson Polk

    Irwin County Sheriff Deputy

THE EVIDENCE

  • On the night of Tara’s disappearance, Marcus Harper and his friend Sean Fletcher, an on-duty Ocilla police officer, supposedly responded to numerous calls about a man named Bennie Merritt. These calls would have been recorded in the 911 dispatch Logs. Payne tracked down the dispatch logs in an effort to check Marcus Harper’s alibi.
    911 Dispatch Logs

  • Found underneath Tara’s bed after she went missing, the digital alarm clock was off by 6 hours. Friends and family have said that the clock was previously broken.
    Alarm Clock

  • The fire that burned down the house on Snapdragon Road extended into the driveway, also burning up a black SUV. The SUV belonged to Ocilla police officer Michael Langford.
    Black SUV

  • A black truck was seen in Tara’s driveway on the night of her disappearance, and on the surrounding streets on the weekend of her disappearance. Five witnesses saw the black truck that weekend, and Dr. Godwin found four of those witnesses. Someone inside the truck yelled a nasty comment at a kid walking by, and when the kid reported the car to the police, the police ended up searching the kid’s house and his mom’s car.
    Black Truck

  • When Payne searched under the house where the barbecue was hosted, he found a suspicious mound of dirt and collected soil samples. The Irwin County Sheriff’s department conducted their own search days after and later reported they found five bones and a pair of panties. The bones later were determined to be animal bones.
    Bones and Panties

  • In the initial search of Tara’s house, investigators found beads from a broken necklace. When Dr. Godwin searched Tara’s house he found the clasp of the necklace, which appeared to have been broken by force.
    Broken Necklace

  • An unoccupied house on Snapdragon Road burned down mysteriously on Nov 8, 2005, soon after it was searched by cadaver dogs. The dogs found a hit on the house’s property.
    Burned House

  • Heath Dykes jammed his business card in Tara’s door after he came to her house for a wellness check at the request of Tara’s mother. Ocilla PD Chief Billy Hancock found this card during his investigation.
    Business Card

  • Tracey Underwood’s cadaver dogs potentially found a scent at the burned-down house on Snapdragon Road after searching hundreds of acres in Irwin County.
    Cadaver Dogs

  • A new door knob and lock were found by investigators on Tara’s table, showing that Tara was planning on changing her locks.
    Door Knob and Lock Kit

  • Dr. Godwin found a dusty box full of Tara’s letters under her bed. These were never collected by the GBI.
    Dusty Box

  • Tara emailed Marcus Harper’s mother asking about why he broke up with her and sharing how depressed she was. She ended her email with a couple obscure phrases, saying, “just to remind Marcus what I said about something happening to me or even him. He leaves it as this and something may happen to me.”
    Email Messages

  • On November 8, 2005, an unknown man reported a house fire right outside of Ocilla. A black SUV parked behind the house was also destroyed by the fire. The investigators could not find the cause of the fire due to the damage. An accelerant detection canine found accelerant next to the black SUV parked in the driveway, but it was assumed to be part of the vehicle’s gas line. When cadaver dogs came to the house they hit on the front of the house, but the investigators determined that they hit on a septic line, not a body.
    Fire Marshal's Report

  • A broken lamp was found propped up against the wall in Tara’s house. Tara would turn this lamp on when she arrived home to let her neighbors know that she had made it home safely.
    Lamp

  • latex glove
    Tara’s neighbor Joe Portier was the first one on the scene at Tara’s house the day she was reported missing. Joe discovered a latex glove on Tara’s front lawn, picked it up, and reportedly put it back down. He stated that the glove was white, while Tara’s friend Maria remembers seeing a blue latex glove. The glove was tested and contained a sample of white male DNA. It has not been matched to anyone.
    Latex Glove

  • A white latex glove was found on the street near Tara’s house by a neighbor walking his dog. It is unknown if this was the pair to the glove that was found on Tara’s lawn.
    Latex Glove #2

  • When leaving the BBQ, Tara told her friend Troy Davis that she was going home to watch a video tape of that afternoon's beauty pageant, but the tape was never found.
    Pageant Videotape

  • Anthony Vickers received a bizarre phone call a few weeks after Tara's disappearance -- a screaming woman, whom Anthony swears was Tara. The GBI says the call came from a drug dealer's house.
    Phone Call

  • Anthony Vickers was arrested for causing a disturbance at Tara’s house by banging on her door. He claims that he was just there to talk, but the police were called and he was arrested. A man was inside of Tara’s house, and he made a statement. His name was blacked out on the report, but the officer refers to him as “HD.”
    Police Report

  • Payne collected soil samples from a body-sized mound underneath the house where Tara was last seen. The Irwin County sheriff’s department conducted a search after discovering Payne was investigating there.
    Soil Samples from Crawlspace

  • A man traveled to Knoxville, Tennessee, and committed suicide, leaving a letter that claimed he knew who killed Tara. He left a list of names of people who knew about Tara’s disappearance.
    Suicide Letter

  • Dr. Godwin found pieces of broken plastic from Tara’s headboard. Additionally, the bedpost was split in two and broken.
    Tara's Bed

  • Tara’s car was parked in her driveway, but it was unlocked. The driver’s seat of Tara’s car was pushed all the way back.
    Tara's Car

  • The investigators found Tara’s cell phone still in the charger when searching her house. The phone had over 20 missed calls from Heath Dykes.
    Tara's Cell Phone

  • Tara’s front door was locked, with a business card from Heath Dykes jammed in. There was no sign of forced entry.
    Tara's Front Door

  • When police first investigated Tara’s house, her purse and keys were missing. Payne later discovered that both may have been thrown in a dumpster.
    Tara's Purse and Keys

LOCATIONS

MAP THE CRIME

Explore significant locations from Tara’s last day and places of interest in the investigation.
Zoom out to see all locations.

 
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TIMELINE

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