December 20, 2005
Ocilla -- In an afternoon press conference, Anita Gattis announced a second reward in the case of her missing sister Tara Grinstead. "We are very pleased to announce that we have had an additional pledge of $100,000 for information and conviction," Gattis explains.
Gattis says the money was donated anonymously by someone who never knew Grinstead. "They do know how important it is to find missing persons, and this is something that this particular person does, so we are very, very thankful for this."
There is also a separate $100,000 being offered for the safe return of the 31-year-old history teacher.
Gattis hopes the additional money will entice someone who may know who is behind her sister's disappearance to come forward. "We hope that this is enough for them to roll over and tell us who is involved. I've felt very strongly all along that it is somebody that she knows. I think it's probably somebody locally. There's more than just one person who knows where Tara is," Gattis says.
Family friend Steve Rodgers helped secure the new reward money. He works with a Florida-based missing children's organization and has been involved in the case of missing Alabama teen Natalee Holloway. "God has put this challenge in their lives for a reason and it's time for us to make tougher laws against those that go out and kidnap those that we love," Rodgers says.
Rodgers says he's working with lawmakers in Georgia, Florida, and Alabama to pass tougher laws in missing person's cases. "We want to make it a way that people won't think about doing this that we can stop some this, or we can put people behind bars for long periods of time, take away their freedom when they take away the freedom of those we care about."
Calls for the information leading to the arrest and conviction of those behind Grinstead's disappearance should be directed to the Irwin County Sheriff's Office. That number is 229- 468-7459. Callers should speak to either Sheriff Donnie Youghn, Captain Nelson Paulk, or Deputy Allen Morgan.
There will be a Christmas ceremony in honor of Grinstead Thursday at 7:00 PM at her house in Ocilla. Family and friends are encouraged to bring ornaments to hang on her tree.