Thursday, January 15, 2009
Tara Grinstead Vanished Into Thin Air
Beautiful Tara Grinstead has been missing from Ocilla, Georgia since October 22, 2005. The mystery surrounding her disappearance is frustrating and the $200,000 reward for information on her whereabouts still remains untouched & unclaimed. The large sum of money seemingly not tempting enough for the silence to be broken. Usually, when there is a reward of this magnitude, someone somewhere betrays somebody.
Not in Tara's case, which tells me that this is one man who worked alone and has a lot to lose.
Saturday, October 22, Tara, a loved and adored high school teacher, assisted her students in a beauty pageant by preparing their hair and makeup. Tara herself was a former beauty queen and enjoyed being a role model and mentor to her students. At the end of that long day, Tara attended a BBQ at a friend's home and upon leaving at 11PM, she told her friends she was tired and was going home to watch the video of the pageant before turning in for the night.
Tara came home, she undressed, she put her cellphone to charge and that is where the trail ends.
No one suspected anything when the devoted christian did not attend church on Sunday. Not until Monday morning when the teacher did not show up for work did anyone consider something terrible might have happened.
Where had she gone? Was she kidnapped? Was she hurt? Did she leave on her own?
It was no secret to friends and family that Tara was currently in turmoil. Her relationship with her boyfriend of six years had recently ended. She wanted to marry him, but Marcus was not ready to be a husband and so they went their separate ways.
Marcus had just completed a time in the Army Rangers, he was a former Ocilla cop, but now he was traveling around the world, following his passion as an independent consultant for home land security, he was traveling to and from Iraq and even Afghanistan. At this time Marcus was not ready to settle down. Tara was still in love with Marcus and she was struggling with the loss of his love, throwing herself into other brief romances.
The night of her disappearance, friends say Tara was tired, but in a good mood, she was happy, she was normal, there were no red flags. People who know Tara say she would never walk away from her students, her education, her friends or her family.
But on Monday, October 24, when authorities arrived at her home, they found her gone. Her dog was in the front yard and that was the first unsettling sign, as her dog was usually inside the home. Her car remained parked in her driveway unlocked with the driver seat set to accommodate a much taller person and an envelop full of cash was found in the center console.
In her room they found the clothes she wore on Saturday buried beneath a pile of clothing still on hangers. The nightstand lamp was thrown to the floor, her alarm clock was under the bed and it was off by six hours. The beads from a necklace she was last wearing was found scattered under furniture in her bedroom days later.
The strongest evidence found was one latex medical glove on her front lawn.
For days police and searchers looked for Tara, covering almost 400 square miles of land.
They found nothing.
Authorities moved quickly to investigate the men in Tara's life, including her ex-boyfriend Marcus who had recently come back to town, but insisted he was with a friend, an Ocilla cop, accompanying him on the beat all of Saturday night and into the wee hours of Sunday morning.
Also investigated was a former student who was known to have an obsession with his teacher, once even being arrested for repeatedly knocking on her front door and trying to get into her home.
All of these men cooperated with police and none offered any new information about where to find Tara or what could have happened to her. Although not named a suspect or even a person of interest, Marcus remains the center of suspicion for Tara's family. Marcus states the last time he saw Tara was on October 14th when she showed up on his doorstep asking him to come back to her, at the time he said she threatened to kill herself if he didn't and when he refused she left his home in hysterics, later returning to ask him for one last hug.
Tara's family do not believe his claim. However, new information regarding the latex glove found in Tara's front yard contains unknown male DNA, not belonging to Marcus or any of the other men in Tara's life.
Who is this unidentified man?
Was he the one in Tara's car who pushed the seat back?
How could a stranger go unseen in this small sleepy town?
Does this glove belong to an accomplice of one of the men in Tara's life?
Is the glove just unrelated trash that happened to make its way on Tara's property?
Why was there an envelop full of cash in her car and why was it left there by Tara or the perp?
Did Tara just get sucked into thin air?
Will we ever really know what happened to Tara Grinstead?