One year since Tara Grinstead's disappearance - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

One year since Tara Grinstead's disappearance

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October 22, 2006

Ocilla - - One year ago today an Ocilla beauty queen went missing, leaving a permanent shock to family, friends, and students where she taught. Tonight, there are still a lot of unanswered questions about the disappearance of Tara Grinstead. 

Those who knew Tara and those who heard of her after his disappearance attended a candle light vigil tonight. As they search for answers, they're also searching for peace. 

A hug of comfort from one friend to another. They share a common bond tonight...grief over a woman who touched many lives in one way or another.

"We wish you were here with us. We miss you and love you dearly. Come home soon," says Anslie Paulk.

It started while it was still daylight. 

"They come up on the porch and we have a guestbook up there, you come in and sign your wishes to Tara and her family. Go over and fill out an illuminated bag take it out back fill it with sand, grab a candle and go out there and have quiet time on the courthouse square," says Organizer Andie Paulk.

By night, the square remained lit with candles of hope.

For Devin Griffin, it's bittersweet. She remembers Tara coaching her in this small town's Annual Sweet Potato Pageant.

"She told me one time, I wanted to give up on pageants, she said never give up Devin because it's always going to turn out the way you want it in the end. All year I've been thinking that," Griffin says.

Organizers put together this ceremony for all those who have thoughts of Tara and who want closure to a year-long mystery.

"We just want to know where she's at," says Paulk.

Tara's family did not attend tonight's vigil. Organizers say, understandably, this is a very emotional day for the family. But they plan to deliver the messages and pictures from tonight's vigil to Tara's loved ones.

Little information has come from authorities regarding leads or hints of solving the case. People in Ocilla remain optimistic.

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