Original Air Date 02.27.2017
In This Episode
Ryan Duke’s arrest is announced at a GBI press conference in Ocilla, and the UAV team scrambles to find out who in the world he is. Payne first hears about a pecan orchard on the way to Fitzgerald…
People in this Episode
Journalist, Ocilla Star
Ryan Alexander Duke
Dr. Maurice Godwin
Private Forensic Detective
Maurice Godwin: Just about three or four messages asking if I have heard that the rumor around Ocilla that somebody had been arrested.
No, not nobody yet. There's never been one. There's never been a press conference in her case.
Unknown speaker 1: I know one our guys just has a good contact I guess with GBI and texted and he said it's major and he's trying, but she won't give any clue but did say it's major. I don't know.
Ryan Kruger: Hey, hey it's Ryan Kruger from Channel 11 here in Atlanta. How are you? I wanted to check in. I've been listening to your podcast. It's great. But there's some major movement in this case so, sounds like an arrest has been made. You know obviously we don't know the details of the who, what, when, where.
Payne Lindsey: We'll cancel all plans today. I'm going to Ocilla. They made an arrest on somebody.
Ally (ABC News): Hi Payne. This is Ally with ABC News. I work with Nightline.
GPS: For 161 miles, continue on I-75 South.
Unknown Speaker 2: Possible development.
Unknown Speaker 3 : It's somebody from Ocilla. And the administration said that he was arrested, and he's a former student. You know, I don't know. Was it a confession or a DNA match? But I've been told that it was an arrest.
Unknown Speaker 4: They were questioning Ryan Dukes. He admitted to it while they were questioning him, and led them, led the GBI to where he burned her body at. He lives right there close to Tara. And he's 33 years old now, he's a former student, but they said while they were questioning him, he confessed.
Intro: Ten years ago today marked the last time anybody reported seeing or hearing from Tara Grinstead.
Officially, police are calling this a missing person's case-
GBI officials are saying investigators-
Latex gloves found in-
Eighty thousand dollar reward-
Where is Tara Grinstead?
Payne Lindsey: From Tenderfoot TV in Atlanta, this is Up and Vanished, the investigation of Tara Grinstead. I'm your host, Payne Lindsey.
Hey guys. If you haven't heard the news yet, the GBI held a press conference on Tara Grinstead, last Thursday, for the first time in 12 years. Today, I'm going to walk you through my entire experience in Ocilla this past weekend, starting with my arrival at the police station, one hour before the GBI press conference.
Policeman: Hey, how are you?
Payne Lindsey: How you doing?
Policeman: You doing alright?
Payne Lindsey: Yeah, I'm pretty overwhelmed honestly.
Policeman: Alright, good deal.
Payne Lindsey: You said good news though, right?
Policeman: We're going to be in the upstairs.
Payne Lindsey: Put a mic up there?
Policeman: We'll discuss it.
Payne Lindsey: Okay.
Holy shit, holy shit, holy shit, holy shit.
I was freaking out. The next place I went was the Ocilla Star Newspaper, to see Dusty.
I mean we were just here the other day, talking about this. Like, thinking that it'll never be solved. So what's this?
Dusty already found a picture of the guy, rumored to have been arrested.
Whoa, I'm overwhelmed right now.
Dusty Vassey: Obviously, it's big news.
Payne Lindsey: Yes.
Dusty Vassey: I imagine there's gonna be a crowd there.
Payne Lindsey: Yeah.
The courtroom in Ocilla was completely packed to the walls. Every news station in the state of Georgia was in that building. The anticipation was growing. As I placed my microphone up on the stand, we all waited anxiously for the press conference to begin.
JT Ricketson: Good afternoon. Thank you all for coming. I know most of you have gotten short notice and all today, but it's certainly worth the drive to come here today to hear what we've got to say. And I really want to begin with a word of prayer from our, my pastor, Joey Whitley and County Commissioner Chairman. If you all would, let's all stand begin a word of prayer.
Joey Whitley: Let us pray. Father, thank you that you've allowed us a day that we can come together, Father, for whatever announcement this may be. And God, we just want to thank you that you've been with the men and women that have been for years searching and doing what they could to solve this case. And God, for our community, that's been behind our law enforcement. And God, forgive us all of our many sins and shortcomings. For His name, I do pray, and all of God's children said "Amen".
JT Ricketson: Before we get started, just want to say our thoughts and prayers go out to Tara Grinstead's family, Connie and Billy Grinstead, are right over here to my right. I'd like to recognize the local community here. As you can see this courtroom is packed.
I also want to take a moment to thank the media. You guys have been just phenomenal in this whole endeavor. The disappearance of Tara has caused not only state and local news coverage, but this has also hit our national news. Please know that you have had an impact, a significant role, in this investigation, and I am confident that today we have reached the point where we are in this investigation because of that involvement.
On Saturday, October 22 in 2005, Tara Grinstead went missing from her residence. The Ocilla Police Department responded to her residence. Immediately, they suspected foul play. Additional law enforcement resources were requested. The Irwin County Sheriff's Office, and the GBI, came in and began a search at Tara's house. Tara's home was searched extensively for several days, which produced little physical evidence.
As with all missing person cases, the investigation started focusing on Tara's close friends, and associates. Tara was very well known in this community, and well liked in her community. So she had many contacts and friends in various parts of the community. As the hours turned into days, days into weeks, weeks into months, and eventually months into years, the search efforts never ceased.
Through these 11 plus years, the GBI and other law enforcement officers have received hundreds and hundreds of tips. Each and every tip that came in was vetted and checked against what we had already done in this investigation. Each lead was thoroughly exhausted. Unfortunately, all of these leads ended with a dead end until the last couple of days.
A few days ago, an individual came forward and reported that they had information into Tara's disappearance. This information made it to my office, and our case Jason Shoudel was sent out to conduct an interview. This interview generated several more interviews, which was followed up by the rest of our office here. Through these interviews, enough probable cause was discovered so we could swear out an arrest warrant charging Ryan Alexander Duke with the murder of Tara Grinstead. Duke was taken into custody yesterday afternoon, and a warrant was issued this morning. I'm sure that there are gonna be many questions. I may be able to answer some of those questions, but in the interest of the integrity of our investigation, I may not be able to answer or respond at this time. Before I take any questions, Connie Grinstead would like to make a brief statement. Please respect her privacy and refrain from asking her any questions.
Connie Grinstead: Thank you for coming today. On behalf of Billy and myself, the first thing that I want to do is to thank God for answered prayers. We would also like to thank the GBI for all of their years of hard work and dedication to Tara's investigation. We always believed in the GBI and their dedication to our case. We always believed that it would be solved, we just did not know when. We would also like to thank all of the local law enforcement for cooperating and working with the GBI through the years, as well as many others in this community and beyond.
We lived in Ocilla for eight years. Tara lived with us here for four of those years. When we moved here, you welcomed us with open arms, and treated us as if we were one of your own. You did the same thing for Tara when she moved in with us, and we are so grateful to you for that. She was able to fulfill many of her dreams, right here in Ocilla.
She loved being a teacher and she was very good at it. So many people have been hurt by this. We hope and pray that with time, this community can finally have closure, and start to heal from this. For us, this just starts another chapter in a very long and painful journey. We ask that you keep us in your prayers. Our wounds are deep, and our hearts are broken. We realize that everybody is going to want answers. You'll have a lot of questions, and that will come in time. But for now, we ask of the media to please respect our privacy, and give us the chance to grieve and to process all that has taken place. Thank you.
JT Ricketson: As I stated earlier, I can try to field a couple of questions, but again, the integrity of our investigation takes precedent over everything else.
Reporter 1: Can you tell us anything about Ms. Grinstead's remains?
JT Ricketson: I'm not allowed to answer that at this time. Thank you.
Reporter 2: How old was Ryan Duke and what's his relation to Tara?
JT Ricketson: What I can say from our investigation was he did attend a high school and graduated about three years prior to the incident.
Reporter 3: Has he been cooperative?
Reporter 4: Has he confessed to this?
Has he confessed to this crime?
Reporter 3: Has he been cooperative?
JT Ricketson: I'm not allowed to answer that question.
Reporter 5: Was he alone?
JT Ricketson: Again, I can't speak to certain aspects of this investigation, so at this time, I'm not allowed to answer that.
Reporter 3: Do you anticipate any more arrests?
JT Ricketson: That's a very good question, and again, we have several more interviews to do, and investigative actions, so it would be hard for me to answer that at this time.
Reporter 6: Had you previously interviewed Dukes in the investigation-
JT Ricketson: I can say that this gentleman never came up on our radar through the investigation. Right now, I'd like to thank you all for coming. I'm sorry, this is about all the questions I can answer at this time. Again, we have several more investigative actions that we're gonna be taking, more people to interview, but we just wanted to share with you guys that we did find the person that was responsible for Tara's death.
Payne Lindsey: It was a completely surreal moment. A moment Ocilla had been waiting for for nearly 12 years. I felt so many different emotions, all at once. I thought a lot about how to describe that moment. The only thing I could think of is the final scene in the movie "Big Fish," directed by Tim Burton. At the very end of the movie, a son takes his dying father to the water, to metaphorically set him free. For years, he had told his son whimsical and seemingly unbelievable stories about his life, full of these mythical and larger than life characters. But as he takes his dying father to the river, all of these characters he had talked about over the years, began emerging, and eventually surround them. As it turns out, all of the characters in his father's life, were real people.
That's exactly what this was like. Every voice of locals that you've heard in this podcast were all in one room together, shaking my hand, congratulating each other. I always knew these were real people, but they couldn't have been more real on this day. And as sad as this day was, it was also a day of celebration and relief. The community came together as a whole, for the first time in a very long time. And in this moment, together, we accepted the truth. Even my grandma was there, with her friend Melba.
Melba: How bout that? That's unbelievable isn't it?
Grandma Lindsey: Always good to see you.
Melba: Good to see you.
I think you giving the juice to this whole case-
Grandma Lindsey: And this is Nancy Mitchell.
Payne Lindsey: Nice to meet you.
Grandma Lindsey: Now that's is Nancy Mitchell.
Payne Lindsey: She's in the first episode with her cowboy picture.
Nancy Mitchell: I know. I heard Ms. Melba several times.
Payne Lindsey: You're famous.
Grandma Lindsey: I know.
Payne Lindsey: I know, everywhere we go-
Grandma Lindsey: Her son is like one of my children because he is a lawyer.
Nancy Mitchell: Congratulations. I was talking to your grandmother up there. She was taking video like a pro.
Payne Lindsey: Oh yeah. She's good. I taught her well.
Grandma Lindsey: I'll let you go now.
Payne Lindsey: Love you.
Grandma Lindsey: Love you too. Okay.
Payne Lindsey: Alright I'll see you soon.
Unknown speaker: What's going on, man?
Payne Lindsey: How you doing, man?
Unknown speaker: Pretty good. Good work man.
Payne Lindsey: Thanks man. Y'all too.
This was the beginning of a resolution. The beginning of long awaited answers in this case. My grandma was so excited, she left my mom this voicemail.
Grandma Lindsey: "Hey Dawn. This is Mom. I just now got back from Ocilla. I was in the courtroom and you've got to be mighty proud of your son. I'm certainly proud of my grandson. I mean, he really got that case going again, and a lot of people, the local people, who were listening to the podcast. This one lady came up and she said, "I want to shake your hand." She said, "I've listened to all the podcasts" and she said, "you really got this thing going." When the FBI made all the announcements, you'll probably see it on the news, he just thanked the media. So Payne was in the media in general, but they didn't seek him out. I'm just so proud of him. I mean, I really think, if it wasn't for Payne getting started, I don't think this thing would have been solved. I really don't. I told Rosie I'm going over there and have a glass of wine. I need to celebrate, and I don't like to drink by myself, so I'm gonna go over here. She was here last night. So, I'm going over there. Bye bye."
Payne Lindsey: We still don't know exactly why the tipster came forward now, 12 years later. But I hope the renewed interest in the podcast at least helped create an environment that encouraged the sharing of truth throughout the whole community.
News reporter 7: An Atlanta filmmaker, who produces an internet podcast, is credited with keeping interest in the story alive.
News reporter 8: Filmmaker Payne Lindsey is credited with keeping the case in the public eye through his podcast.
News reporter 9: Just in, an Atlanta filmmaker-turned-podcaster is on a mission to solve the 2005 disappearance of Tara Grinstead. And his new project is getting a lot of people talking.
News reporter 10: Documentary filmmaker and amateur investigator, Payne Lindsey-
News reporter 11: The case grew cold, but years later, Tara's story piques the interest of Atlanta filmmaker, Payne Lindsey. He decides to create a podcast called, Up and Vanished, to help generate new leads in her disappearance.
News reporter 12: It's a question that has haunted this small south of Georgia town for more than a decade, and a question podcaster and Atlanta filmmaker, Payne Lindsey, set out to answer. What happened to Tara Grinstead?
News reporter 13: Investigators will not comment on whether Payne's podcast or news coverage directly led to this latest tip, but analysts say keeping this story in the news can help investigators.
News reporter 14: By regularly keeping a case in the public's eye, whether it be on television, radio, podcast, social media, etc., you never know who's going to see it.
Desirae Duncan: His podcast, Up and Vanished, has gained the attention of millions. That number spiked by more than 700 thousand on Thursday as people learned about the arrest of Ryan Alexander Duke.
What role do you believe your podcast had in making this arrest? A lot of people are crediting it with solving this murder mystery.
Payne Lindsey: I think that the podcast opened up this atmosphere in Ocilla that created this trust factor and a line of communication, an open channel. It's been so long that these secrets have been kept and it's just been such a tight-lipped, uncomfortable thing to talk about here. I think the podcast maybe helped create an environment for the truth to come out and I would hope that would be the case.
Desirae Duncan: You got some early tips from the family's private investigator and you don't think that this case is over yet.
News reporter 12: Those following Tara Grinstead's disappearance says this case is far from over.
News reporter 13: It's Desirae Duncan, caught up with the Atlanta filmmaker in Ocilla to get his reaction to Ryan Duke's arrest.
Payne Lindsey: But this day was far from over. Up next was Ryan Duke's court hearing, and Dusty and I had a front row seat. The sounds of Ryan's shackles echoed throughout the courtroom as a bearded man limped toward the stand with his head down.
Heather Culpepper: This is the first appearance calendar for the magistrate court from Irwin County, Georgia on this 23rd day of February in 2017. My name is Heather Culpepper, I'm the chief magistrate judge in Irwin County. Could you please state your name?
Ryan Duke: Ryan Alexander Duke.
Heather Culpepper: What is your date of birth?
Ryan Duke: November 3, 1983.
Heather Culpepper: Mr. Duke, you've been charged in the warrants sworn by Special Agent Jason Shoudel with the GBI, with the offenses of: burglary, aggravated assault, murder, and concealing a death in Irwin County, Georgia. At this time, I'm going to read your warrants.
Ryan Alexander Duke did in the county of Irwin commit the offense of burglary, to it in said county October 23, 2005, where he did knowingly, intentionally, and willfully, enter the residence of Tara Grinstead. That being, 300 West Park Street, Ocilla, Irwin County, Georgia. Without authority to do so, he committed a felony therein. That being aggravated assault and murder.
Place of occurrence of said offense being 300 West Park Street, Ocilla, Irwin County, Georgia, and against the laws of the state of Georgia.
Ryan Alexander Duke did in the county of Iwrin committed the offense of aggravated assault to with, in said county, October 23, 2005. He did knowingly, intentionally, and willfully use his hand in an offensive manner, with the intent to, and did, cause serious bodily harm to the person of Tara Grinstead.
Said offense being described as aggravated assault, code section 16-5-21, and thus the opponent that a warrant be issued for his arrest.
Payne Lindsey: When the hearing was over, I rushed outside to ask Ryan Duke a question before they put him in the police car.
Why'd you kill Tara?
Why did Ryan Duke kill Tara? He looked at me for a second, but then just dropped his head. I was just an arm's length from him.
Ryan Duke's charges were murder, attempt to conceal a body, aggravated assault, and burglary. Was this just a burglary gone wrong? I didn't really understand the burglary charge, so I called somebody who would. This is Colin Miller from Undisclosed.
Colin Miller: Yeah, so, it could be two things. So as you noted, her purse and keys were missing. Their theory might be that he entered the house with the goal of stealing property, but, in Georgia and in many jurisdictions, it's burglary as long as you enter with the intent to either commit theft or a felony.
And the theory could simply be he either entered her house with the goal of killing her or entered the house with the goal of assaulting her. And even under Georgia law, it could be that he entered with her consent, she asked him to leave, he overstayed his welcome with the goal of harming. Any of those would allow for a burglary charge. It doesn't have to be him committing theft for that burglary charge to stand. Under Georgia law, you can be an uninvited guest, you could overstay your welcome, and in either case, it could just be you have the goal of harming or killing and that's burglary.
Don't know a hundred percent, but I'm sure your podcast has played a role because you don't often see this type of information coming out of nowhere a decade and a couple of years after the fact. It would be interesting to see what develops in the news, but I have to imagine this has some connection, either directly your podcast, or secondhand, thirdhand people have heard about it and that led to this break in the case.
Payne Lindsey: We have one person in jail, the GBI's being very tight-lipped, what should we expect in the coming days and weeks, and really, the next year?
Colin Miller: Right, well, I saw that he's scheduled to have a grand jury proceeding on April 12 and that's where the grand jurors will decide if there's probable cause. And if so, they'd issue what's known as a true bill and there'd be an indictment and the case could go to trial.
As you said, from some of your reporting and the other reporting, it seems like there might be other individuals involved and you could imagine with that additional arrests and probably people trying to strike a plea deal in exchange for implicating other people.
Now, the, purpose of a grand jury, it's just like trial jurors are receiving a summons in the mail and it is secretive though, as opposed to a trial. Those grand jurors basically hear the prosecution's case, the prosecution, it's a one-sided hearing, they call their witnesses. They don't have to present exculpatory evidence and the juror after that decides whether to indict or not. And, again, that would be secretive. That wouldn't be the press reporting on it and saying, this is day two of the grand jury and this witness testified. It's secretive, all you hear is at the end of the process, whether they indicted or not.
Payne Lindsey: To me, it looked like he was just like wearing the weight of the world and it's like 12 years of something had just changed him.
Colin Miller: Yeah, I saw some of the footage too and he looked completely disheveled and disoriented and he was shackled, but he was still sort of limping around. And yeah, you imagine if he committed this horrible crime 12 years ago and has gone un-captured over these years, how that could wear on you. And what you might do to sort of ease some of that pain. We'll see. But, certainly that video footage was compelling.
What I would expect next would be, are there going to be additional arrests? That could lead to more details about what exactly happened 12 years ago coming out, but I don't see much coming out from Ryan Duke himself. But if there's other individuals involved, it might be a game of getting one to implicate another by either offering them immunity or decreased charges.
Back to the point of the burglary, a murder being committed during the course of a burglary in Georgia is an aggravating circumstance, which means there's the option of putting the death penalty on the table. The extent there might be some bargaining with Ryan Duke himself, it might be, if you implicate some of the other people involved, we won't pursue the death penalty. We'll just pursue life.
Payne Lindsey: Once the day was over, I immediately searched for anyone in Ocilla who knew Ryan Duke. I had to know more about this person. After hours of digging, I found a former high school friend of Ryan's and he agreed to meet with me.
H.S. friend of R.A.D.: I grew up in Irwin County since the second grade, actually, so Ryan and I, we go ... He was probably born and raised in Ocilla. So there wasn't a grade that we can't remember not being together.
He was a good friend. He was a really nice guy. You know, when you're in high school there are cliques, but it's not like you're a mafia of any type. So to say the word loyal is odd, but he would be a loyal friend. He would be that guy if you needed, he's there. He was a good guy.
Payne Lindsey: Does this surprise you?
H.S. friend of R.A.D.: Very much. Very much a surprise. I would have never thought this and I know that is a cliché. I've seen enough TV and listened to enough My Favorite Murders to go ... You never expect it. Never in a million years.
Payne Lindsey: Have you found that you can look back and say, well, you know, I don't know?
H.S. friend of R.A.D.: Well, Ocilla's a small town. 82 people were in our graduating class. 82 or 88.
Payne Lindsey: Wow.
H.S. friend of R.A.D.: Small class, so, one thing I learned about Ocilla going to city after city after city all throughout Georgia, that I found that was different with other friends that I met and had, is that you, in Ocilla, are exposed at a very young age to everybody. It doesn't matter white, black, rich, poor, you are this amalgam of a class. Everybody adapts and everybody gives and everybody takes on personality, on lifestyle. So to say that something was odd is almost normal. That's almost normal to say, yeah, I mean, he does his own thing every now and then.
Yeah, he lives in that part of town, but when we hang out, it's all of us. It's all backyard football. I bet he played ... when we were in middle school we used to build these trophies out of old stuff and then we would play backyard football for championships and stuff. We did that every [inaudible 00:30:55] day for years. He would be there, but a lot of folks from my class, a lot of folks younger than me, would be there. A couple folks older than me. It was just all ... you're just a community. When you're a small community, everybody has an older brother, everybody has a younger brother. When you're just those few years apart, you kind of know.
As far as odd, Ocilla's full of rumors. It's full of rumors. If it's alright, can I just talk?
Payne Lindsey: Yeah.
H.S. friend of R.A.D.: Okay. Is it okay to say the name (bleep)?
Payne Lindsey: Yeah, what about him?
H.S. friend of R.A.D.: This is just rumors, but, what I hear is that he's involved too. Somebody said, you know, Ryan joined the military and then he ended up deserting. I'd heard that and I remember thinking, really, that's crazy. And then they said, yeah, supposedly he just got on a bad drinking binge and then it just molded into other stuff.
That kind of lifestyle has hit a few folks that are around my age and about a year younger. There was just a circle and they got hooked on, you know, actually, once you get up to the realms of meth, that all kind of has the same ... It changes you in the same way I guess. I've heard that there's this group, they just went downhill. I just kind of figured he probably was part of that. I don't know if that has any truth to it. I just kind of said, wow, maybe that was.
What's been playing in my head is saying, well did he perform this heinous act and then say, maybe I can escape through military? I mean, there's pictures of him and me hanging out in my room that are just like a graduation. I mean, we're arm-in-arm.
To be honest with you, when I saw him in the courtroom, I saw him and I just though, there he is. That's Ryan. Wow. I just ... I didn't really even see a shell of a person, I just saw the whole Ryan. He had his head down, his eyes closed.
Some people would tell me, man, he looks like that's just been weighing on him and he just wants to release it and relieve it. That didn't to me. It looked like he was scared. To me, I thought, that's a guy, he's scared. He looked scared. He looked really scared.
If anything, I really felt like I just wanted to say his name. Just say, "Ryan" ... I just kind of wanted to say, "Are you okay?" I mean, there's nothing I could do to make it okay and I definitely to be the judge, the jury, or any part of it. And I don't have a right to be.
You know, now it's complicated. If it was all the rumors, all the rumors were simple. All the rumors were like, yeah, but it's him and it's crazy and it's all this and it just makes sense. But now it's complicated. Now it's some guy that's not connected and the loyal Ryan, the Ryan that was, I mean ... The loyalty part of it was for sure a product of being in Ocilla. Not belonging to a little clique in high school. Not judging. Not having to be in a certain group of friends.
Take for instance, in Atlanta if you play guitar, more than likely somebody's in your class that also plays guitar. More than likely there's just ... Not necessarily in your school, in your classroom, but in your graduating class. They may do something. If you have a science thing, more than likely there's some other science people.
In Ocilla, you get one, if you're lucky, of uniqueness. Anybody unique has an uphill battle. They can have an uphill battle. I think it's changed a lot since I was in school, but you really have to learn other people. You have to learn how to absorb somebody else and the people that can truly accept someone for who they are, that's how you with friends in Ocilla.
Yeah, this isn't really a town that distance and location can separate classes and races and ideas. This is one where everybody has to find their place. You have to put effort into this community and if you want this to give back, and it will give back. To me, personally, I think that's what a lot of America is kind of going through some. There's a lot of small communities going, yes, we exist, we have the voice, we are part of this whole thing.
I would say Ocilla can be strong. I would say. I mean, you could just go to football games to see that. You can let us ride to state and you can see that. I've seen us play some private schools in the state championships and semi-finals and stuff and we come up there in busloads and they show up sitting down. I mean, we're the inventors of rocks in a can. Just being loud.
You need help with anything, anybody will help. There is no divide.
I think the town is feeling relieved. I think they are. I think they're feeling like they can put it down. I think they're very confused. I think everyone's very anxious. I think everyone's asking why. I don't think anybody saw it coming in this direction at all. I know I never would've.
I've said this a couple of times. I said I hope that the town offers apologies for a lot of the rumors. I think there's some people that evidently are owed some real apologies because in a small town like this, there's no where to go. You carry a rumor like you carry a cape.
But we had to have been ... He had to have been 20, 20 years old, 21. There's no way he did that by himself. He wasn't a dumb guy, but he wasn't sophisticated. So for the things that I've heard that happened, that's sophisticated. He's not a resourceful guy. I never thought of him as resourceful so I couldn't imagine him ...
I mean the GBI, but then they couldn't crack Ryan Duke? That doesn't make sense on its own, to me, personally.
Payne Lindsey: Where did (bleep) come in the picture?
H.S. friend of R.A.D.: Actually, I heard both names first. So, as being a classmate, you hear real quick, hey, did you hear that these two guys are involved? I heard both names originally, but then they said, but I'm pretty sure Ryan confessed. I thought, holy crap, really? I knew (bleep) was crazy. I knew he was off and he was off all through high school. He was an off guy. He was nice.
I'm going to put it to you this way because a ton of my classmates called, a ton of folks have been calling me, so I've had practice kind of explaining this. If you said, did you know Ryan killed a guy? I would say, I guess I could see that. Really? But if you said, did you know he killed a guy and then he did what all the rumors are? I'd go, no, no way, he didn't do that. Did you know he killed this girl and hid about it for 12 years, 11 years? Did all this crazy stuff? I'd say, no, there's no way. No way he did that. But if you said, hey, I think (bleep) did this? I would go, he's kind of crazy like that.
Payne Lindsey: Where is (bleep)?
H.S. friend of R.A.D.: I don't have a clue.
Payne Lindsey: I just rode by his house. His car's not there.
H.S. friend of R.A.D.: Yeah.
Payne Lindsey: Light's on in the backyard. I've heard that no one knows where (bleep) is.
H.S. friend of R.A.D.: That's probably true.
Payne Lindsey: I'm censoring this person's name because this is still an active investigation, but the question is, did Ryan Duke act alone? Or did he have an accomplice in Tara Grinstead's murder?
As the night came to an end, I crawled in bed in my hotel room. Completely exhausted. But right before I closed my eyes, I got a phone call. And this person proceeded to tell me a very interesting story.
Unknown Caller: There were some kids at a party. The guy, Ryan Duke, was probably 20 or 21 years old when this happened, when he killed Tara. He graduated three years before this happened so he was out of high school for a few years. He was a former student. She had taught him. They knew each other.
Right after she disappeared, a couple weeks after she disappeared, there was a party and this kid was talking, eavesdrop, he was talking about having killed Tara and dropped her body in a pecan orchard in Fitzgerald.
Payne Lindsey: Ryan Duke was saying that?
Unknown Caller: Ryan Duke said that and someone thought there's another one. This is kind of weird, okay, this is kind of weird. There's another kid that they're looking for, same age as Ryan. His name is (bleep).
Somebody called me today, a friend of mine who followed this case really closely over the years, and she said there's been an arrest, she sent me the name, Ryan Duke. I said, "Yeah, that's him." She called me and she says, "Is this the pecan orchard story?" And I said, "Yeah, it is. Yeah, how do you know?" She said, "We heard about this 10 years ago."
Payne Lindsey: Thanks for listening, guys and see you soon.