Ocilla- Beth Holloway Twitty, mother of missing teen Natalee Holloway, says she feels a special connection to Tara Grinstead's family. She like Grinstead has taught public school. The 31 year old's sister admits being honored by Twitty's presence.
"She's traveling down a very difficult road. Much more difficult than I am. Number one it's her child, and number two she is dealing with a foreign country. She is running into obstacles everywhere she turns. My heart just bleeds for her, but I am just honored that she is here with us this weekend," Gattis says.
Gattis and Twitty both say they plan to use this weekend's search as a learning experience.
"I've been doing this for seven weeks, and she's almost in her seventh month of this," Gattis says.
"I'm seeing things that I'm still learning. I'm seeing that what the family already has in place and set into motion is just incredible. I think it will be a learning situation for me," adds Twitty.
Private search and Rescue team Texas EquuSearch has organized a massive sweep of Irwin County. "We're just going put one huge effort this weekend to see if we can locate Tara," executive director Tim Miller says.
Miller is hoping to have at least 500 civilians and law enforcers scouring the entire county by land, water and air. His organization conducted dozens of searches around the world, including one on Aruba for Natalee Holloway. Miller also has a personal connection to the families. He lost his own daughter several years ago.
"I know what it's like to be alone. I know what it's like to have a missing child, and if we can at least find some remains and get that person identified the family does get some closure," Miller says.
Both women say it's volunteers like Miller who continue to give them hope.
"Their organization is phenomenal. We are thrilled that they are here, and we hope that we find something this weekend that will lead us to Tara," Gattis says.
"You could not get through the day, you could not do it if you didn't know that you had people that you could rely upon to help you, and to do these searches. Tim Miller, what he brings to the family is just such comfort," Twitty says.
Whatever the outcome of the search, Gattis says her family will continue to foster a friendship with Twitty, a friendship formed by a common tragedy.
The reward for information leading to Grinstead's whereabouts is now $100,000. Family members are still urging those with information to call the private tip line at 912-386-2564.