Tara Grinstead's sister says she's known suspect's family for years: 'It's unreal'

by: Tony Thomas Updated:

Loading

BEN HILL COUNTY, Ga. - Police made a second arrest Friday in the 2005 disappearance of Georgia teacher and former beauty queen Tara Grinstead.

Bo Dukes is charged with concealing a death, hindering the apprehension of a criminal and tampering with evidence.

Investigators say he helped murder suspect Ryan Duke hide and destroy Grinstead’s body after her death more than 11 years ago.

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

Arrest warrants accuse Bo Dukes of hiding the body between Oct. 23 and Oct. 28, 2005 on a farm off Bowens Mill Highway just outside Fitzgerald. Records show the farm is owned by a relative of Bo Dukes.

“I can't even put this into words. It's unreal. It's just unbelievable.” Grinstead’s sister, Anita Gattis, said.

Gattis said she’s known Bo Dukes’ family for years, but never connected him with any part of her sister’s disappearance.

She said during the time of all the searches for Tara Grinstead in 2005, she stayed in Ocilla with relatives of Bo Dukes.

“They were some of the most heartbroken people in the area over Tara’s disappearance,” she said.

Dukes and Duke were high school classmates at Irwin County High School, where Grinstead taught.

Bo Dukes turned himself into Ben Hill County authorities Friday morning. He was given a $5,000 bond on each of the three counts and is now out on bond. He waived his first court appearance.

Channel 2’s Tony Thomas was the only reporter to question Bo Dukes as he left the jail Friday. He did not answer questions. His lawyer told Thomas “No comment.”

His arrest came one week after the first major break in the case in more than a decade. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation and local Georgia authorities arrested Ryan Duke on Feb. 24 and charged him with murder, burglary, aggravated assault and concealing a death.


RELATED STORIES:


The GBI said that someone walked into a sheriff's office last month with information that led to several new interviews and Ryan Duke's 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," Ricketson said.

Ryan Duke graduated from Irwin County High School three years before Grinstead’s disappearance and was never on the radar as a suspect, according to the GBI.

For the past four days, dozens of GBI agents have been digging for Grinstead's remains on the pecan farm in Ben Hill County where the suspects allegedly dumped her body.

"This is a possible site where she may have been disposed of," Ricketson said. "We are finding some things and we are collecting some evidence. We are hopeful that we can find her remains and that's why we're there."

Earlier this week, the judge put a gag order on the case relating to Ryan Duke. WSB-TV and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution filed a motion Friday asking the judge to reconsider the order because it is too broad and denies access to public records.