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?

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

Could the dna from the glove have come from the fellow officer that Marcus was with during the wee hours of the night????

Anonymous said...

could a scorned woman or a scorned man who knew tara have something to do with her disappearance? A jealous rival from her many pagents....a jealous Mother.....relative....seems like she knew the person who abducted her.she din't fight or scream the glove and money might have been planted.....there was no struggle.....she simply left with the perp......there had to be another auto involved....to many scnarios

Anonymous said...

They need to eliminate the fellow officer by getting one of his sodas or butts and checking DNA. Them move on and branch out!!

Anonymous said...

Wow. I'm from her hometown. Was one of her students at Irwin County High. And was on a search team for her. And I must say that alot of your so called facts are horse shit. My dad is a police officer. He can tell you that none of what you described inside Mrs. Grinsteads house was accurate. Dont make it any more dramatic than it already is.

Nikra said...

No offense personally to you or your dad, but I don't police officers from your town. A woman vanished without a trace, it is very serious and dramatic and it is too bad others don't believe it to be.

Anonymous said...

I want to thank you for bringing Tara in the spotlight again after all this time without still no resolution.
I don't know why the person above says your facts about the clock and lamp etc. are horseshit because all the forums I read and the video's I have seen they tell all the same, the lamp was knocked over and broken, the clock under the bed six hours off, beats scattered around, found during a later search, dog outside, cell in charger and something that is IMO overlooked by many or forgotten because it got picked up during the first time relatives went inside to check out , there was her phone wich was lying on the flour in the badroom but one of Marcus'relatives picked it up and put it back on the charger. They have also listened to and deleted several messages left on her answering machine. The neighbour washed the car the next morning and he found the glove also. It's all very shady and weird, the actions of some people afterwards and after three years of following the case nearly every day I still cannot make up my mind as to a positive suspect, if you look at it, they all had motive and opportunity one way or another and each one acted weird that weekend, I would say the strongest ones to take a close look at are Marcus (he or the friend arrested a neighbour of Tara that night, so they were in her vicinity for a fairly amount of time and the fact Marcus went to sleep with his father, wich is also a neighbour a few houses down the road from Tara at four thirty am and he was already up and running the following morning) and Heath D. the married cop from Perry, he was all over Tara that day, calling her numerous times, leaving messages, sticking a card in her door, stacking out in her yard etc. so he is the highest on my list because it looks so odd to me that if he was practically there all night, he didn't see or notice anything amiss, also his actions after are very shady to say the least, especially the fact that he popped up by a friend who lived at a very rural remote area by a river, a friend that HD hadn't seen in many years, even the friend thought it was strange that he came to visite without his family. If you compare all the POI they all could've done it but so could anybody from her school, her nightclasses at different classes, someone from her pageanteries etc. it's like you said, the possibillities are endless and I am afraid we will never find out what happened to this beautifull woman. If you look at the landscape there it's like searching for a needle in a haystack, it's a shame someone can do something like this to another person, a person who didn't deserve this.
Maybe he makes a mistake one day or does it again to someone else and then will get caught and everything will come out, but I don't hold out hope this will happen, if he can act like nothing ever happened for three years already, and fool everybody around him, even his closest ones, then I am fairly sure he won't divolve anything soon, this will be one secret that will go with the person to the grave.
As for possible remains, after this time, it's also going to be very difficult to find something, only if she is buried deep and in bags or something that can protect the body from the elements and animals, she has a chance of being recovered.
I will keep praying for Tara and I hope the perp sees her face every time he closes his eyes and that she haunts him in his dreams for the rest of his live.
Thank you again for mentioning Tara on your website. God Bless!

Marc said...

I forgot what I was going to say after reading that previous novel of a post! I only made it halfway through when I realized I was a year older!
Anyway, where did the information that A relative of Marcus was ever in her house touching messing with the crime scene? I never read that fact and I was curious of the source.
Also, pertaining to the questions raised about the officers DNA; my brother-in-law is a police officer and they have all his fingerprints and blood (DNA) on file.
I'm not sure yet, but will inquire- Aren't squad cars
equipped with GPS devices?

*Prayers to Tara and her family~

Nikra said...

DNA did not belong to Marcus. It is unidentified, which means the origin is unknown. I do not believe Tara's vanishing is a conspiracy, but I do believe more than one person knows more than they have shared. Maybe if they tell a little more of what they know, Tara can be found.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone looked at that guy, Gary Hilton, who traveled between Florida and Georgia? He was the one who killed Meredith Emerson and is suspected in some Florida homicides. Could he of passed through Ocilla in his travels -- he tended to target single women.

Anonymous said...

I'll say it, 2 men Tara knew killed her. The dog knew the killers. Her body will never be found because the 2 killers "know" where to put a body never to be found. No beating around the bush. Local officials won't looked in their own back yard bacause it is in their own back yard! I called GA local officals to mention some thoughts I had, they told me "this case is closed"! and hung up on me. Think about it.

Anonymous said...

MMMMM that's odd? How can you close a missing person case unless you find the missing person. Look in an area with power lines and planted pines on the north side. Four wheelers ride often thru the area.

Anonymous said...

I think this case is heartbreaking! I agree with the previous comment, how can a missing person case be closed...?

I believe there needs to be investigation within the home town, as surely there would be someone who knows something.

This case needs to be re-opened and continued.

roger76a said...

Here is my theory. I think Tara suffered the worst kind of luck when she was at the BBQ party. Not in clear mind, she must left the cash envelope on the car dash. Two guys and out of towners - cruising around the neighborhood must have seen the money. Desperate for cash and down on luck, they waited and followed her home, hoping to grab the cash when she gets out of the car. But she manages to enter the house before the perps can jump her. They were desperate enough and more stroke of luck for them when they realized she was living alone. This was an age of CSI and DNA, so they donned gloves and quickly rush towards the house. One knocks on the door and Tara thinking it was the old neighbor barely had open it before one of em’ covers her mouth, tells her to stop fighting. The other perp snatches the purse with car keys inside. He crept outside (fearful the dog will start barking) and unlocks the driver side of car. And sees the car seat was too close for him to get in, he pushes it back and rummaged inside the car looking for other possible stashed money. Meanwhile his pal force Tara to rummaged thru the closet and stuffs in the bedroom, believing she has cash stashed away somewhere in a shoe box despite her trembling denials. Tara was already in emotional roller coaster made a dire mistake. She decides to fight back and push the perp away and was ready to scream like a banshee (hoping her elderly neighbors will hear it) when he smothers her mouth, grabs her neck and in some unintended manner, kills her. He panics, signals the buddy about the new situation. The other guy – with all thought of easy money gone – tells his killer friend he is not going to the prison for life. They decides to carry her body to their car (but making sure to lock the front door to make any curious neighbors think she was still inside) but in process the killer was struggling to hold on to Tara’s legs with sweaty latex gloves, peels off the right one but instead of tucking the glove into his the pocket, the nervous robber drops it unintentionally. In the dark, the pair didn’t notice the potentially fatal mistake. The first time perps put her body in the trunk and quietly drive away from the place and the town. Lady luck was on their side because it will take nearly two days before anyone figures out what happened to Tara. It provided them plenty of time to bury or destroy her remains, making each other promise they will never return to state of Georgia. The duo goes separate ways and resettles in different state far from each other. When the news broke that a latex glove has been found, it must been a shock for the tall guy. He contemplated turning himself in and escapes the death penalty by plea bargain and betraying his friend. But he waits and waits and realizes the law people don’t have his buddy on their crime record. He calls his friend and warns him to stay away from future trouble with cops because the moment he gets processed, it’s all over. Now it’s a waiting game……

Anonymous said...

i miss tara she was even my prek teacher before she ever became a highschool teacher in irwin county i cant believe they still found no trace of her just like my cousin tia she diossappered just like tara but in tifton i think somebody got rid of her body in the river or something or in pleasure lake swamp to the gators or something cause she dissapeared to easy thats the only thing i can think of she was a very outgoing and great teacher too and she loved a lot of people but i still think thwey should still look harder in the swamps and lakes in ocilla they might find something

Lennon said...

Just watched this on Disappearance. It's absolutely peculiar how a person can just be removed from their loved ones. I've noticed in all these episodes of disappearance, the person has led a dodgy life or dodgy persons that are associated with them leading to them vanishing. I think it's simple, there can only be one person involved, if it was more than one then one of them would have cracked by now because only one of them is motivated, the other person(s) would be accomplice, they would let slip eventually. A lot of people desired Tara and someone wanted her for themselves or a jealous partner from one of her relationships, she was seeing a married man after all. This person obviously has no criminal past due to the fact they are not on the national DNA list but they are most likely local. Also, nobody ever explained the 100 dollars that was in the envelope in her car. Why was this there? Where did it come from? The bloody show leaves more questions than answers. One thing Tara has is the DNA from the glove, so someone will hopefully be found soon. But then again, that could just be there to put the police off the trail. I'm afraid it was her lifestyle which has led to this point. If you get that involved with that many people you're asking for trouble. Why would someone as professional as her lead such a lifestyle? It also said she became hysterical when her former boyfriend who joined the army told her on the phone it was over. What was his reasoning for doing this? the family said they always kept in touch regularly, I presume that's why she was upset. So therefore, why did he keep in contact with her and the suddenly say he wants nothing to do with her? perhaps he knows she's been sleeping around. Again, a professional girl, school teacher, very educated, i'm very confused why she needed to be involved with that many men. She is been made out to be angel, but when you play with peoples emotions it's never going to end well one way or another. I'm absolutely not justifying what has happened to her. Nobody deserves to be taking away. I really hope they find her, and the person responsible so her family can get disclosure. Keep the faith

Jesse said...

My biggest question is if the police retrieved every text and every call from her phone, even the deleted ones? I do believe the glove was planted i have wore latex gloves so many times they just dont fall off if anything it would have ripped it looked to me like it was planted there to look like a diff male when in fact it was a male she knew since her phone wasnt even taken off the charger and why was the dog outside late at night if she was going to bed? Thats why i was wondering about her cellphone maybe the number of her abductor is on there but was just deleted.

TrevoseLIon said...

Maybe the money in the envelope is from the married cop's wife? She hired a hit man to kill her husband's mistress(Tara)and left the money, like it was a payment to a prostitute, as the final insult. Well, maybe not exactly, but the wife of the cop should be questioned and her phone records looked at before and after the incident. She had as much reason as anyone to have tara killed.

Anonymous said...

I just learned of Tara's disappearance. I taught with her at Irwin Co. HS, it was our first year so we went through orientation together. Such a sweet, lovely lady. After reading some of the reports one thought comes to mind....there's only one group of people that are HIGHLY trained to kill and kidnapp without leaving a trace - it's their job: The Military

Someone wanted her out of the picture and knew how to do it or arrange it.

Anonymous said...

I hope they find her.. Not knowing is always the worst.. My thoughts are with her and friends and family.. Xxx

Leon VangPC said...

Tara never made it home that night and her off duty police officer/boyfriend appears to be a prime suspect from what i read. She would not have left the money in the car and fail to lock her car; and the seat pushed back was probably done by the abducter/killer. Everything in the house may have been staged to make it look like she came home. Cop boyfriend tried to cover himself by repeatedly calling with no answer and leaving his card in the door. Great cover! I suspect cop boyfriend knew how to stage the evidence and has enough connections to clear himself.

Anonymous said...

What if someone drove her home that night and thats why the seat was pushed back and money untouched. Maybe she was ill or out of it and they got her inside and left but someone else was watching like the stalker cop mentioned above or the young man previously arrested. Maybe he sought the oppurtunity and somethinv tragic happened. Maybe the friendly driver is scared to come forward for fear of being charged or maybe he wasnt supposed to be there.

Anonymous said...

What kind of personal vehicle was the cop from Perry driving at this time and what river did his friend live by?

Anonymous said...

The money was from one of her students- dress loan. We know she came home because she changed-charged her phone- and her mom said the pillows in the bed looked like how she slept., - I think she got up early, let her dog out and went over to Marcus's house - I think she was consumed with regret and just needed to hash things again- or jealous and hysterical - I think Marcus got home from a night with his old partner and she was there crying and also in anger made a formal complaint against the same cop for telling Marcus about her affair with the former student- I think her motive to complain to the police because he went and told M- it was the amo M needed to get her completely out of his life- .. that was the reason she was distraught that he might 'hate her'. I think they got into a physical fight -he felt she would press charges- - after he killed her, to by time- he drove her car back, and walked back- it was 0ctober- still dark. She had let the dog out- now with the car was there it gave him time to bury her- glove was planted or random.
it was her desire to get back together and until he found out about the student and rumors of other men- it's easier to cut things off for good. Duh. . Remember suddenly he stopped calling her, he was in town when she found out he hadn't even let her know etc- that's when he exploded and they had a huge fight- I'm sure he told her what and why he was done. The guilt, shame and being exposed sent her into hysterics - friends had to drive her home. Once T discovered that officer that told M the real deal she poured fuel on the fire- she filed a complaint to that's got to make M angry. -I'm sure he had a ear full all night - spent half his night riding around with this guy... the very night Tara Dissapeared.. The testosterone building and I'm sure discussing her - so I think by the time he got home he was emotionally and physically exhausted and with her waiting, it had to be ugly- She lied about what really happened-- I think he found out there were several men and this was just beyond anything the Baptist ultra consecrative macho ego could stand. - this was a domestic and as beautiful as Tara was, emotionally she was very young, messed with the wrong guy- he's prob nuts and aggressive when provoked . Hope they get him- I think he was alone- easily could walk home - she got up unable to sleep, locked the house - only thing missing was her keys and purse- if you are being abducted that's those items would be there- she intended to be back - her cat had knocked her lamp over- friends reported that and the clock might have been knocked over as she rushed in anger to dress and go confront or find Marcus- she also left the carport light on no forced entry, drivers seat pushed back- nothing stolen- crime of passion- he drove her car back- swiftly left- he made a few mistakes- so I don't think this was premeditated.

Anonymous said...

Focusing on nothing else but the alarm clock that was found under the bed which was six hours off at the time it was found. The possible times this alarm clock could have been disconnected are 1) six hours before it was found, 2) 18 hours before it was found, 30 hours before it was found and so forth, etc. If she was alive at 11:00 pm Oct 22, then the exact time the alarm clock was knocked off should be known.

To that add the exact time the married police officer left his card and whether or not he observed her car in the drive way...that should approximate the time she disappeared.

I believe the who, what and when would be clearer...

Cindy Dy said...


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Robert Glenn said...

I just got through watching disappeared on Tara and something is being covered up and Marcus is behind it

Anonymous said...

AMEN. They never will Investigate there own. Only the rest of the world is Subjected to being Investigated. They don't commit CRIMES.
Hi

Ray Mann said...

I have nothing new to add to this case. I live in Ky. and go only by what I read or watch via videos or tv. Having said that, my gut screams two things: Marcus and Fitzgerald. Marcus claims to have been drinking in Fitzgerald on the night of the BBQ. Years later, an anonymous tip directs cops to a pond in Fitzgerald. I almost forgot, Tara, I believe, was also in Fitzgerald that same day. Did Marcus recruit someone from Fitzgerald to do something to her? Did a stranger take notice of her earlier that day while she was in Fitzgerald? Just some suggestions.

Anonymous said...

Could the DNA be from someone at the hospital where her brother-in=law worked and it was planted in the yard........ I still like the brother-in-law for her disappearance.., He wasn't a stranger to the area and they were accused of having an affair.

Anonymous said...

Good question. It had to becoming that both she and the dog were comfortable with. And what if Marcus was jealous that SHE had moved on and didn't want to rekindle a dead end relationship? He goes into a fit of rage and needs his fellow officer to help cleanup his mess.

T said...

Very detailed theory