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Town worries about missing teacher

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October 25, 2005

Ocilla-- In Ocilla, almost 100 people came together to pray and console each other. Tara, Grinstead, a 30-year-old teacher at Irwin County High School, is missing.

Flyers decorate the small town and a vigil is held to pray for Tara Grinstead and her family. Yellow ribbons decorate the school where Tara teaches, they serve as a symbol for Tara's safe return home.

"Everybody that knows her loves her. She loves her job teaching, she loves the kids, they love her," says Tara's stepmother, Connie Grinstead.

"I just want her back," says Bill Grinstead. Grinstead has not seen or heard from his daughter, Tara Grinstead in three days now.

"We don't really know what's happened to her. All we know is that she has gone missing," he says.

Friends last saw Tara Saturday night at a beauty pageant in Fitzgerald. It wasn't until two days later that they became worried.

"When she didn't report for work. She teaches 11th grade history at Irwin County High School, we knew something was wrong," says Tara's father.

Even though Tara's no where in sight, right now, police are not suspecting foul play. "We haven't found anything at this point to leave us to believe anything," says Ocilla Police Department Chief, Billy Hancock.

Police say after investigating the house, they found no signs of forced entry."Whoever has her is somebody that Tara knows," says Tara's sister, Anita Gattis.

Grattis believes Tara stepped out the house briefly with every intention of returning."Her car was unlocked, there was cash still in her car that she didn't take with her, she never leaves her house without a cell phone it was by her bed," she says.

The only things missing from Tara's house were her keys and purse. Tara's sister says its unlike her to just up and vanish. "She is a grounded, very focused, a very strong Christian woman," she says.

Tara's stepmother agrees. "This is so out of character for her to not go to work, to not call, to not have gotten in touch with somebody," says Tara's stepmother.

Tara's parents say they'll do everything they can to find their daughter. "We're looking for her and we will not stop until we find her," says Connie Grinstead.

But has a message to parents everywhere. "You folks, that's got kids, love em, thank you," says Billy Grinstead.

If you have any information about Tara's where abouts, please call 229-468-TIPS.

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