Grand Jury indicts Ryan Duke for Tara Grinstead's murder

Ryan Duke / Irwin County Sheriff's Office

OCILLA, Ga. -- On Wednesday, a Grand Jury found enough evidence to indict Ryan Duke for the murder of Tara Grinstead.

Duke was indicted on charges of malice murder, two counts of felony murder, aggravated assault, burglary and concealing a death.

Duke was arrested on Feb. 23 and charged with aggravated assault, burglary, murder and concealing a death in connection to the 2005 disappearance of Grinstead, a local beauty queen and high school teacher.

Arrest warrants for Duke indicate that he used his hands to kill the 30-year-old teacher inside her Ocilla home.

In a statement, Grinstead's sister Anita Gattis said:

"I'm very grateful to the Tift County district attorney who presented the evidence in Tara's case in a manor that a true bill was handed down earlier today. A daughter, sister, aunt, friend and teacher had her life cut short and for now, we do not know 'the why and for what reason'. It's very possible that the Irwin County grand jury heard a few of the answers to these questions. There is no way to express some of emotional and mental relief I feel at this time that an indictment was rendered on all six counts against Ryan Alexander Duke. This is just one of the many phases of the judicial process that will be taking place of the next months. I pray that wheels of justice will turn at a pace much faster than it took to make an arrest in Tara's case."

Duke was a former student at Irwin County High School, where Grinstead taught at the time that she vanished. Authorities say Duke graduated from the high school three years before Grinstead's disappearance.

Although shortly after Duke's arrest the Georgia Bureau of Investigation centered their search for Grinstead's remains on a pecan orchard in Fitzgerald, it is not clear whether any of her remains have been found.

A second suspect, Bo Dukes, was arrested on March 3 and charged with concealing a death, hindering apprehension of a criminal and tampering with evidence. Dukes bonded out of jail on the same day.

Grinstead's disappearance had baffled law enforcement for nearly 12 years until a tip led them to Duke. Her case is the topic of popular podcast "Up and Vanished."

Next up for Duke is his arraignment, where he will either plead guilty or not guilty. If he enters a not guilty plea, the case will move to a criminal trial.

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