Accused Killer of Teacher, Beauty Queen Tara Grinstead Appears in Court

An arrest has been made in connection with the killing of a Georgia school teacher and beauty queen who went missing 11 years ago, authorities announced Thursday.

Tara Grinstead was reported missing from her Ocilla, Georgia home in October 2005.

According to GBI spokesman J.T. Ricketson, he is Ryan Alexander Duke, 33.

Police found the 30-year-old's cell phone, vehicle and dog, Dolly Madison, at her Ocilla, Ga., home-about 200 miles south of Atlanta. "And she would never, ever not come to school without notifying somebody", Wendy McFarland, who also taught at Grinstead's school told WALB in 2015.

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When she failed to show up for work at school the following Monday, police went to Grinstead's home. The GBI said the case has "never gone cold". A website,, provided information about her disappearance and investigators' contact information. Though they have received many tips over the years, none led to credible information.

A search of Grinstead's home produced very little evidence making the search for her very hard, the release said.

He said Duke was arrested Wednesday and is now in the Irwin County jail.

He said they're still interviewing people in the case.

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Duke is charged with murder, according to investigators.

Ricketson said the GBI took out a warrant Thursday charging Duke with one count of murder.

Grinstead's remains were never found.

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