Dozens digging for remains of Tara Grinstead in south Georgia

Dozens of people are searching a pecan farm in a south Georgia town for Tara Grinstead's remains.

A crew of more than 40 people are involved in the massive dig set up in the city of Fitzgerald in Ben Hill County.

Grinstead, a teacher and former beauty queen, was reported missing in October 2005 from her Ocilla home.

Last week, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and local Georgia authorities announced an arrest in the case. Ryan Alexander Duke was charged murder, burglary, aggravated assault and concealing a death.

The GBI said that someone walked into the sheriff's office earlier last week with information that led to several new interviews and an arrest.

"Through these interviews, enough probable cause was discovered so we could swear out an arrest warrant charging Ryan Alexander Duke with the murder of Tara Grinstead," said GBI Special Agent in Charge J.T. Ricketson.

During his first court appearance, we heard for the first time authorities believe Duke used his hands to kill Grinstead.

Investigators told a judge they first believe Duke went to Grinstead's home for a burglary and he killed her and then took her body elsewhere to hide it.

Duke attended the high school where Grinstead worked and graduated three years before her disappearance, according to the GBI.

Grinstead's stepmother, Connie Grinstead, said Thursday's arrest was the beginning of the next steps in the case.

"For us, this just starts another chapter in a very long and painful journey," Grinstead said. "We ask that you keep us in your prayers. Our wounds are deep and our hearts are broken."

Despite the pain, Grinstead said the arrest brings some closure to the family.

"(I) want to thank God for answered prayers," Grinstead said. "We always believed in the GBI and their dedication to her case. We always believed it would be solved, we just did not know when."

Grinstead thanked the Ocilla community for its love and support while the family lived there.





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