48 Hours on ID is investigating the case of Tara Grinstead, who vanished from her rural home in Oscilla, Georgia, in 2005. Her disappearance remained a mystery for 12 years until Ryan Duke was finally arrested for the murder in 2017. The police learned he was the killer through his friend, Bo Dukes, who had helped him cover up the crime.
Colleagues of Grinstead became concerned when the school teacher failed to show up for work on Monday, October 24, 2005. A search of her home revealed an empty house; her belongings and her car were present, but there was no sign of what had happened to the 30-year-old woman.
The mystery of her disappearance gripped the small town for years. The investigators assumed she had been murdered, and the lack of obvious signs of a break-in or a struggle made them think she knew her killer. Initially, Grinstead’s boyfriend came under suspicion, but he was soon eliminated from the investigation.
The case was finally cracked in February 2017 when a girlfriend of Bo Dukes informed the cops that her boyfriend had confessed to her that he knew the killer.
Bo Dukes and Ryan Duke confessed to Tara Grinstead murder
Agents from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) visited Bo Dukes and were shocked by his confession. He said that his friend, Ryan Duke, had killed Tara and enlisted his help to dispose of the remains. They had burned her body in a peccan orchard.
Agents from the GBI then picked up Ryan Duke, and he confessed to killing Grinstead. The cops believe that he broke into the house to steal money for drugs, but on encountering the sleeping Grinstead, he climbed into bed with her and choked her to death.
Duke later recanted his confession claiming that he had been under the influence of drugs when he was questioned. He was scheduled to go on trial for murder in April 2019, but it was postponed because of a dispute over the cost of defense lawyers and then delayed by COVID-19.
There is more controversy surrounding the case as witness John McCullough recently told CBS that he had tried to tell the local cops in 2007 that Bo Dukes had information about the Tara Grinstead killing, but he says the police never followed up on his tip.
Bo Dukes was convicted in 2019 for helping Duke conceal the body and is currently serving a 25-year sentence.
More from 48 Hours on ID
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Jennifer Kesse disappeared one morning in 2006 as she traveled from her home in Orlando, Florida, to work. Her car was found in a nearby parking lot. The cops have surveillance footage of the suspected killer, but frustratingly, their face is obscured by a fence.
Did David Tronnes murder his wife, Shanti Cooper? Tronnes said she slipped and fell into the bathtub in a tragic accident, but detectives say he murdered her when she threatened to cut off the cash flow for his housing renovations.
48 Hours on ID airs at 8/7c on Investigation Discovery.