Grinstead search focuses on ponds -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Grinstead search focuses on ponds

Tara Grinstead, from a beauty pageant. Tara Grinstead, from a beauty pageant.

March 27, 2006

Ben Hill County -- Right now, a search team is in Ben Hill County trying to find evidence that may lead them to missing Irwin County teacher Tara Grinstead.

Grinstead has been missing for more than five months, and the few leads law enforcement officers have received, have turned up little in the case, but they hope for a change of luck soon.

Over the weekend, a search team assembled in Ben Hill County to canvas land and check ponds for any sign of her. Two-dozen ponds were searched, but only one of them has triggered any particular interest.

A cadaver dog hits on a spot at a pond in Ben Hill County. A rare site, considering 23 other ponds were searched over the weekend, with no response from the dogs, but this pond is different.

"We had three dogs yesterday, different dogs, that actually hit on this pond. We took them out in the boats, and they all hit, pretty well the same place, in the boats which is right behind me now, and that dog hit also," said Ben Hill County Sheriff Bob McLemore.

So Monday, divers from Lowndes County are searching the pond, inch by inch, but even if they find nothing, the search here, is not over. "It's not a problem, if the divers don't find anything today, because if plan A, plan B and plan C don't work, we've got D, E, F, G and H. We are in this for the long haul until we find Tara," said the missing woman's sister, Anita Gattis.

Gattis, the possibility of finding her is long overdue. "It's been over five months. Some days, we are very apprehensive about, are we ever going to find her? And some days, we feel very positive that hopefully there will be an outcome," said Gattis.

And perhaps today will be that day, but, perhaps not. "We don't know what the answer is at this time, we're still searching and the divers are going back in in a few minutes and see if we can search the rest of the pond," the sheriff said.

The landowners where that pond is located say if the divers don't find anything, they'll be happy to drain it, in order to do whatever they can to help find Tara.

Grinstead's case has gained national attention. Anita Gattis and her husband Larry will be taping an episode of Montel Williams later this week.


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