Community searches for answers as Grinstead investigation continues
ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Following the arrests of the two men connected to the murder of Tara Grinstead, community members have said they have some closure but are anxious to know more.
Bo Dukes was taken into custody Friday morning, and faces multiple charges in the case. He has since been released on bond.
Investigators believe he helped Ryan Duke destroy Tara Grinstead's body and hide it.
Throughout the past 11 years, investigators followed several leads, but they never had any luck, until February 22, when they charged Ryan with Grinstead's murder.
Following Ryan's arrest, the GBI conducted more interviews. They spent more than a week searching a pecan grove in Fitzgerald. That led to a second arrest on March 3, a classmate of Ryan's, Bo Dukes, whose family is well known in the community.
One local restaurant owner said that the community is happy they have some answers, but is shocked by who has been charged.
"It is just sort of shocking because they were just young men in the community. You just don't know why things like this would happen," said Peck's Place Owner David Shuman.
Shuman said community members are especially shocked to learn that Bo may have been involved.
His family is very active in the community. Bo's grandfather, Newt Hudson, was a former state legislator.
Bo faces multiple charges, including: Concealing the death of Tara Grinstead, tampering with evidence, which was destroying evidence, the body of Tara Grinstead, and hindering the apprehension of a criminal.
Documents state that Grinstead's body was concealed at Fitzgerald Farms, on Bowens Mill Highway 129, in Ben Hill County.
Shuman said the Hudson family is distraught with the news that something bad may have happened on their farm.
Ryan was arrested last Wednesday. He is charged with murder in connection with Grinstead's disappearance.
Warrants read at Duke's first court appearance said investigators believe he broke into Grinstead's home and used quote "his hands in an offensive manner with the intent to do serious or bodily harm," causing the death of Grinstead. They also said he knowingly and willingly removed her body from her home.
Officials said Duke was a former student and went to school the same time Grinstead taught there.
People spent countless hours searching land and waterways to find her body. A pond in Ben Hill County was drained.
In 2011, an eight person dive team searched a creek on Daisy Road in Irwin County. A glove with DNA and a partial print was found in the yard and investigators tested more than 200 men. No one came back as a match.
GBI agents said Ryan never came across their radar.
Irwin County leaders said community members are gaining closure as developments came to light, but they will always have one big question.
"I don't know that it will ever actually be closed in our community. As small as we are, everybody will always wonder and still have the question as to why," said Irwin Co. Commissioner Joey Whitley.
As investigators build their case with a gag order in place, the community may have to wait until Ryan and Bo have their day in court to learn what happened to Tara Grinstead.
A superior court judge in the Tift Circuit issued a gag order in the case, ordering investigators not to discuss the case.
Bo waived his first appearance and has hired John Philip Fox as his attorney.
Bo's attorney told WALB that he posted bond, and was released from jail on Friday. Law enforcement documents show the bond was $17,600.
Bo and his then wife Emily pleaded guilty to stealing federal property, and went to prison.
He was a Unit Supply Specialist in the Army, and ordered televisions, cameras, power tools, copper wire and other property totaling over $150,000, and charged it to the Army.
He and his wife then sold the material. He was sentenced to 27 months in federal prison, and was released in October of 2015.
Emily Irene Dukes was released in May of 2014.
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