'This may not be the end of it': Tara Grinstead's sister reflects on 11-year investigation
OCILLA, Ga. -- A little more than a week after the first arrest was made in her sister's 2005 disappearance, Anita Gattis is speaking out about Tara Grinstead's case and the lengthy investigation into what happened to her.
Gattis, Grinstead's older sister, told WGXA that the two new arrests in her sister's disappearance may not mean the investigation is coming to an end.
Ryan Alexander Duke was arrested on Feb. 23 and charged with murder, burglary, aggravated assault and concealing a death in connection to Grinstead's October 2005 disappearance. Bo Dukes was arrested on March 3 and charged with concealing a death, hindering the apprehension of a criminal and tampering with evidence in connection with the case.
Gattis said that the more than 11 years it took to make an arrest in the case is heartbreaking.
"It's unreal after 11 years and then the past week so much has developed and two people have been arrested and it breaks my heart for Tara that it took this long for this to happen," Gattis said.
Both Duke and Dukes are former students of Irwin County High School, where Grinstead taught at the time that she vanished. The two were roommates college, Gattis told WGXA.
Gattis said that she did not know anything about Duke's involvement in her sister's case until he was arrested. She said that once he got word of Duke's arrest, however, she was immediately made aware by those familiar with the case that Dukes' arrest was likely forthcoming.
She said that she believes that if whoever provided authorities with information that led to Duke's arrest had come forward earlier, her mother could have had closure before her 2008 death.
"It breaks my heart that this may have been solved before my mother passed away and she could have known the answers," Gattis said. "'Course right now I feel that her and Tara are together and that gives me peace in my soul."
Additionally, she said that she could not speak specifically about the progress of the case due to a gag order, but that she thinks more arrests may be on their way.
"They may not be the only people that may be arrested," Gattis said. "Because of things I've been told...I really don't think this may be the end of it."
Gattis said one big question remains: Why?
"There is not one day that Tara was not the first thing I prayed for when I woke up every morning and she was the first thing that I prayed for when I went to bed every night," she said.