People hope Grinstead case will be solved soon

Tara Grinstead (Source: Family)
Tara Grinstead (Source: Family)
Published: Feb. 11, 2015 at 8:13 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 11, 2015 at 9:33 PM EST
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Tuesday search area
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Jodie Fletcher
Jodie Fletcher
Loren Hendley
Loren Hendley

OCILLA, GA (WALB) - Folks in Ocilla are once again talking about the Tara Grinstead case with new developments in the decade-long search for the missing teacher.

Investigators drained a pond Tuesday in Fitzgerald for evidence. They haven't told us what they found, but people in Ocilla hope it will help solve the case.

Grinstead posters are still up in this town, encouraging anybody with information on Grinstead to come forward. Her disappearance in 2005 remains a mystery, but people around here remain hopeful she'll be found.

From busy streets to busy restaurants, Tara Grinstead is still very much the talk of the town.

"We'll continue to follow up on information and leads that are involving the information that led us there, and hopefully it will result in something positive for the case," said Police Chief Billy Hancock.

"After this long, for something like this come up, it's just kind of brought it back to the forefront of people's minds," said Jodie Fletcher.

Fletcher graduated from Irwin county high school in 2003. Grinstead, a teacher and beauty queen, taught her in the classroom and on the stage.

"I've always been hopeful that they'd find something because she was such an important part to a lot of students' lives. Especially when I was in school. She was a big part of my high school days," said Fletcher.

It's the biggest mystery in South Georgia. What happened to Tara Grinstead? Most people I spoke with are hopeful that whoever is responsible for her disappearance will walk up these steps at the courthouse and be held accountable. Everyone hopes she is found.

"It's such a small town, such a small community, you know everybody. And for something like that to happen and nobody knows anything? It's just a real shock," said Fletcher.

"Her family needs to know what happened to her and where she is," said Loren Hendley.

Posters remind people of her disappearance; She's never left their minds in the past decade.

"I was up there on my job. I was riding a bicycle around the plant, and I thought about that lady because they still got the sign up there in the window," said another man.

"I certainly have feelings about it. Every time I walk in the jail, you know, they got the poster up with a missing person," said Hendley.

Grinstead was declared dead in 2010, five years after disappearing. Fletcher says her parents deserve closure.

"It just seems so sad for her family to have gone long, all this time and not know what happened to her. I wouldn't wish that for anybody," said Fletcher.

People around here say they will continue looking for answers until Grinstead is found.

Her disappearance drew national attention. Several months after she disappeared, another woman in Orlando disappeared as well, but so far, investigators have not been able to connect the cases.

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