Grinstead fatigue setting in? - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Grinstead fatigue setting in?

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 March 28, 2006

Ocilla -- Over the weekend, search crews canvassed land and checked 24 ponds in Ben Hill County. Cadaver dogs indicated they found something suspicious in one of them, so a dive team thoroughly checked it Monday.

They found no signs of Grinstead, and decided it will not be necessary to drain the pond.

In the five months since Grinstead's disappearance, there have been countless reports on TV, radio and newspapers about the case. Grinstead's sister and brother-in-law are flying out Wednesday to shoot a segment for the Montel Williams Show, and Dateline NBC is shooting a segment today.

Although the attention may help bring in tips on the case, some people in Ocilla think it's casting a shadow over the town.

On a regular basis, WALB has reported on the status of the search for Tara, showing you pictures of the missing teacher at every opportunity, as have many national outlets, but some people in Ocilla think national reports have been littered with speculation and unconfirmed rumors. Rumors that don't help Tara Grinstead's case, and may end up hurting many others.

In addition to a heavier than normal local media presence, the tiny town has been flooded with representatives of national media since Tara Grinstead disappeared.

John Cheney says, "First time, this has ever happened in Ocilla."

Maybe the first time, and hopefully the last, says Chamber President Hazel McCranie. "I think a lot of the talk, and being on some of the national TV, has been detrimental."

She says national reports have often speculated about who did what to Tara, instead of focusing on finding her. "This one says, 'I think' or 'I think.' So mean time, you've got these names out there and their reputations are being ruined."

Including members of law enforcement. Walter Hudson says, "The problem with the national attention we're getting now, is that it's been negative toward law enforcement. And our law enforcement, our Sheriff's office, our police department has cooperated in every way with the investigation into Tara Grinstead."

And Hudson says many of the national reports show no concern for Grinstead, or anyone else affected by this case. "A lot of the people just don't care. All they're looking for is ratings on the television, to make sure that they can keep their show in the lime light. It has absolutely nothing to do with the people or the case."

Despite all the publicity on the case, very little has been learned about what actually happened to the missing teacher.

Anyone with information should call (229) 468-0667. There are still two separate $100,000 rewards offered for information about what happened to Grinstead.


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