Tara Grinstead’s case featured on TV-Show ‘Disappeared’ – (S02 – E02 – Part 1/4)  – 

10/30/12 IRWIN COUNTY, GEORGIA — Tara Grinstead (born November 14, 1974) was two weeks shy of her 31st birthday. The high school history teacher who lived in Ocilla, GA went missing on October 22, 2005. She has not been found dead or alive. Neither police nor the Georgia Bureau of Investigation ever identified any suspects.

A native of Hawkinsville, Georgia, Miss Grinstead was a former beauty pageant queen. In 1999 she won the title of Miss Tifton and competed in the Miss Georgia pageant. Money from pageant winnings helped her to attend college and get her teaching degree. She then dedicated her life to teaching dozens of students. According to those who knew her, she was not only beautiful an intelligent but she was a genuinely kind person who volunteered for many different activities/charities.

On Friday (night) October 21, 2005 Tara went to watch a beauty-pageant, as a former beauty-queen she had a love for pageants and in 2005 she coached beauty-contestants. After the pageant she went to a barbecue then went home. Nothing was amiss and she was in good spirits. The next day, on October 22, 2005 she was spotted at her house. This would be the last time she was ever seen or heard from.

Tara Grinstead's house, front view

Small photo of Miss Grinstead’s house.

On October 22, 2005 Miss Grinstead was seen at her Irwin County home. That would be the last time she would be seen or heard from. On October 24, 2005 concerned co-workers called Ocilla police-department and on Monday at approximately 9:00am, a missing persons report was filed. OPD went to the home where Grinstead lived alone with her dog. After knocking fell on deaf ears they went in to search. They found her cell phone inside the house. Her car was outside, unlocked. Her purse and keys were gone and so was Tara Grinstead.

According to the missing woman’s sister, Anita Gattis, a neighbor had told her that a suspicious man was at her house the night she disappeared. The neighbor said the man’s black truck was parked shortly after she was last seen.

Her case went national and many people jumped in to help get the word out on the vivacious, respectful, kind woman. Many passed out missing person flyer’s. You couldn’t walk one block in Irwin County without seeing the missing face and description of Miss Grinstead. No-one could ignore the brunette beauty who dedicated her life to teaching dozens of students. There were many efforts to raise money and a reward of 200,000 was set-up for anyone with any information on Tara’s whereabouts but nothing ever came out of it.

Two weeks after the disappearance on Monday, November 14, 2005 nearly 200 of her friends and family gathered outside the missing woman’s home to hold a candlelight vigil and celebrate her 31st birthday. Despite nearly a month without any word from Grinstead, her family remains hopeful that they would see their loved one again.

Around the same time Miss Grinstead’s birthday vigil was going on, AMW was airing her story on TV. The episode brought in many tips but again nothing every came out of it. The episode was aired again to no avail.

Bobby Conner, the Irwin County High School principal Irwin County High School principal 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.”

Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) had found DNA on a latex glove in Miss Grinstead’s yard. They believe the person whose DNA was on the glove could hold the main key into solving this case and although they could not identify the potential suspect. GBI did say however, that the DNA belongs to a male. The DNA has been compared to dozens of male who knew Miss Grinstead or who were associated with her in some way. None of them matched. The DNA has also been entered into Georgia and national databases but still no matches.

As of October, 2012, Seven years after Tara Grinstead’s disappearance, Both Ocilla Police and GBI say this case is not considered a ”cold case” and is still very active. Adding that leads still come in on a weekly basis.

For a more detailed story on Tara Grinstead’s life and disappearance, please click: The Mysterious Disappearance Of Tara Grinstead – Crime Library

A website was created (missingtara.com) titled ” TARA GRINSTEAD OFFICIAL SITE ” —— As well as another website titled (findtara.com) ”  Help Us Find Tara Grinstead ”

A Facebook group titled ” 5 Years Later: What Happened to Tara Grinstead? ” has over 2,200 ”likes”

If you have any information regarding Tara Grinstead please contact: Ocilla Police Department – (478)987-4545

You can also leave (anonymous) tips by calling:

Georgia Bureau of Investigation – Agent Dominic Turner at (229) 468-7494 or (229) 468-TIPS.