Original Air Date 06.06.2017
In This Episode
The investigation continues as Payne Lindsey uncovers new details and circles back to old evidence.
People in this Episode
Irwin County Sheriff Deputy
Chief, Ocilla Police Dept.
Ryan Alexander Duke
Dr. Maurice Godwin
Private Forensic Detective
Journalist, Ocilla Star
Rob: This episode of Up and Vanished contains explicit content that is not suitable for children. Listener discretion is advised.
Dusty Vassey: You have to separate the speculation from something that actually has an origin, where somebody supposedly witnessed something or was told something by somebody who had some involvement in something.
We heard a lot of stories at the beginning when Ryan Duke was arrested and some of them, I just dismissed out of hand, because I'm like, "Well there's no way that many people knew about it." But right now, I think at least 12 people knew about it. The GBI knows this story. I've been told that the GBI has interviewed at least one person involved in all this. I'm sure, probably, has interviewed all of them.
Intro: More than 40 GBI agents swarmed a pecan orchard in Ben Hill County this afternoon.
Not one, but two former students from that school under arrest.
With the intent to, and did, cause serious bodily harm to the person of Tara Grinstead.
Charging Ryan Alexander Duke with the murder of Tara Grinstead.
Payne Lindsey: From Tenderfoot TV at Industrious Atlanta, this is Up and Vanished: The Investigation of Tara Grinstead. I'm your host, Payne Lindsey.
I've become emotionally attached to this story, but every day I put my blinders on to stay objective. The point of this podcast was to find out what happened to Tara Grinstead, and now that we've discovered that something evil and heinous has happened to Tara, by default, this podcast is now an advocate of justice for what happened to Tara. I, myself, want the person or persons responsible for killing Tara Grinstead and covering up her murder to pay for their actions, but this is not a witch hunt. This is not about seeking vengeance. This is about justice and finding the truth. This is about holding people accountable. Every person accused of a crime in our country, will get to have their day in a courtroom and their own chance to defend themselves.
One of the most instrumental roles the media plays in America is transparency, checks and balances. For years, this has existed, and in many cases throughout history, it's served as a catalyst for change in our society. It's helped shape us who we are as a nation, a nation that demands accountability for each other's actions. All around us, the different forms of media and news reporting, and the methods of getting that information to you, are constantly changing. Inevitably, over the years, traditional media outlets have become a part of a giant industry, one that's fueled by millions of dollars, and one that's divided by their own unique political views, each with their own agenda and strategy.
For the new generation, this is now an era of heightened awareness. A new instinct to now question what you're hearing and seeing all the time, constantly seeking journalism that is unbiased. This change happening all around us has opened the door for people like me and you to challenge what we see and hear. To stand on your own two feet and have a voice of your own. Right now, in the case of Tara Grinstead, that's exactly what Up and Vanished is. It's a new form of media, it's a new form of delivering information, and, most importantly, it's its own voice. A voice that is not bound to unwritten rules or standards, a voice that isn't filtered or shaped by a bigger agenda, a voice that isn't scared to stand alone and question the authority and will stop at nothing in attempt to find the truth. That's because the podcast is only me. I don't have a dog in the hunt. All I have are my own convictions as a person, and my own moral compass, an unadulterated search for truth and for justice, fueled only by passion and sincerity.
The way I've reported the story of Tara Grinstead has been a constant evolution. When I've talked to people like Brooke, Bo Dukes' girlfriend, these are one on one phone calls that often last for hours. The furthest thing from a traditional interview setting. Most of the time, it's just a conversation between two people, and because of this, it's become much more personable than I could've ever imagined. I find myself talking to people like they're my friend or someone closer to me, not just a subject of an interview. One of my last phone calls with Brooke Sheridan, after a heated bout of disagreements discussing Bo's actions, the conversation went like this.
Brooke Sheridan: How do you see me, Payne?
Payne Lindsey: I see you as someone who was put in a very tough position and, ultimately, did the right thing, and is very confused on how to feel and act at this point. I think that you're in a very tough position, but I think, overall, you've handled it very well. That's what I think.
Brooke Sheridan: If you were me, how would you handle the backlash from all of this?
Payne Lindsey: I would tell my story and trust in the fact that you told the truth, and that's all that matters.
Brooke Sheridan: How do you make the words hurt any less?
Payne Lindsey: You tune it out. You, really, you tune it out. Move on. You gotta pick up and move on.
An ironic turn in our conversation, to say the least. At the end of the day, that's what it was, just a real conversation between two people. The point I'm making is that in every single way, whether I even like it or not, my reporting on this case and my relationship to it is something completely different than what it was when I started this podcast. As I dig deeper for the truth, I've become entwined with different people and created countless relationships that now extended far beyond the case of Tara Grinstead. It's all a balancing act of staying true to myself, keeping my word to others, and always challenging what is out there, and standing up for what I believe is right as a person.
As you listen to the rest of this podcast unfold, just remember: this is no longer just a story to me. This is not a random cold case that I Google anymore. This is something much bigger and much more important to me. You'll continue to see this as the last chapters of this story unfold.
Several parts of Bo's story, according to what Brooke told me, seem strange. I asked Maurice Godwin to give me his own analysis of Brooke's phone calls with me, and here's what stood out to him.
Maurice Godwin: First of all, she said that they were having a party at Bo's house and Ryan was there. The roommate was Steven, which is Ryan's brother, is what she said. It was a football game or something, and she said that when the other people there passed out, I assume from drinking, is when Ryan took the truck and went and killed Tara.
Brooke Sheridan: When they all passed out, that's when Ryan had taken his truck and left.
Maurice Godwin: I do not believe this for one minute. He didn't pick the name out of a hat and just choose that person, there had to be something drawing him. He didn't just ride around the neighbor and just happen upon Tara. There was something that drew him straight from Fitzgerald to 300 Park Street. He drove right straight to that address. There was something that drew him to that address.
Her clothing was removed between that Sunday and that Wednesday. At some time during that time, her clothing was removed. For what purpose was her clothing removed?
Brooke Sheridan: He said that she was laying face up, that she looked blue-ish and she had bruises around her neck. That she did not have on any clothes.
Maurice Godwin: It could be for sexual purposes, postmortem sexual activity, that I could only assume, because ... I mean, if you gon' destroy and burn a body and take it that far, and bury it, you just wouldn't toss the clothing into a trash dump or somewhere like that, because they could easily be traced or found by someone, when you try all your best to try to destroy the body and hide it. That's predicated on if what she said was true about both saying that the body was nude.
Brooke Sheridan: Every time he asked Ryan about it or talked to him about it, it was a look of shame. He was shameful. It wasn't like, "Oh, I snapped," or it was a look of shame.
Maurice Godwin: Bo knows the motive behind Tara's murder. However, to keep himself out of prison, and to live in the community, he has to minimize his involvement ... Which, really, has been going on with the narrative that Brooke has been selling over the past months. He knows why Tara was killed. Even if Ryan told Bo details about the crime, we don't really know if they are true. We don't know if what Bo has told Brooke is true.
Brooke Sheridan: When they all passed out, that's when Ryan had taken his truck and left.
Payne Lindsey: How many people were there?
Brooke Sheridan: Oh ... Let's see, one, two ... Maybe about seven or eight.
Maurice Godwin: I don't believe the story about the guys passing out, and Ryan stealing Bo's truck and traveling to Ocilla to kill Tara.
Brooke Sheridan: He used a credit card to get into her home.
Payne Lindsey: Was she asleep or something?
Brooke Sheridan: Yes.
Maurice Godwin: Tara's dog was an inside dog when Tara was home. If Ryan broke into her house with a credit card at night when she was sleeping, Dolly would have barked with someone standing on the front porch. I am not convinced that Ryan gained entry to Tara's house using a plastic card. The porch light was on, Halloween lights were on, and Ryan would have to stand on the porch and fiddle with this for a while. If he did this, he must've not been too drunk.
Payne Lindsey: How did Bo know every detail about the crime, except for how Ryan killed Tara or why he killed her? In all the hours that I talked to Brooke on the phone, she never once said that Ryan told Bo what happened. Bo did, however, know countless details about the crime: where Tara's purse and keys were, that Ryan used his truck, and even how Ryan got into her house with a credit card. According to Brooke, Bo never knew why Ryan did it, because, supposedly, Ryan would never tell him. It was a complete gray area, a huge hole in the story. Bo has admitted to doing a very awful and heinous thing, burning Tara's body. Please remember that Bo admitted this, so it's safe to assume that at least that part of the story is true, but to have so many holes in all the other important parts of the story leads me to believe he may be severely minimizing his role.
At the end of my last call with Brooke, she pointed out to me what she thought were discrepancies in the State's indictment against Ryan Duke. The indictment alleges that Ryan Duke killed Tara with his hand, singular, after he entered her home with the intent to commit a theft. In this last part of our conversation, she told me that the indictment was different from what Ryan told Bo.
Brooke Sheridan: That's not what he told, that's not what he told Bo.
Payne Lindsey: What'd he tell Bo?
Brooke Sheridan: What do you think he told Bo, Payne?
Payne Lindsey: I don't know. I'm genuinely asking this.
Brooke Sheridan: You remember when I told you how he acted every time he was asked about it? Guilt. Do you remember what I told you about what he said that her body looked like? That's why he is trying to lessen his involvement. That's what it looks like to me. He's lying. He's not saying the same thing. He is trying to lessen it.
Payne Lindsey: How do you know that? His account of what happened, how do you know what he said?
Brooke Sheridan: Because I know what he said.
Payne Lindsey: How? I'm asking you how.
Brooke Sheridan: Who was the only other person that would know?
Payne Lindsey: Tell me again exactly what he said, how he killed her.
Brooke Sheridan: What did I tell you when I told you about the marks on her body?
Payne Lindsey: You said something about her neck being bruised.
Brooke Sheridan: Very bruised.
Payne Lindsey: This was after we had talked for hours, and she had told me that Ryan never told Bo exactly what happened. I asked her again, "Well, what did Ryan tell Bo?"
How did Bo know that Ryan used a card to get into her house? How did he know that?
Brooke Sheridan: Ryan told him.
Payne Lindsey: In the process of Ryan telling him that he took his truck and went to Tara's house and used a card to get in her house, what did he say happened next?
Brooke Sheridan: Can I call you right back?
Payne Lindsey: She didn't really have an answer again, but I held on for a few more minutes.
When Ryan said, "Hey, I took your truck to Tara's house and then I used a card to get into her door," what'd he say happened next after that?
Brooke Sheridan: I don't think it was a sequential story. I just think these were details that Bo had picked up on from what he said the conversation they had that day. I- [crosstalk]
Payne Lindsey: Those are pretty big details, like, "Hey, I snuck into her house with this card." He didn't say, "Why did you go there?" or "What were you doing?" It's just so hard for me to comprehend, just to graze over it. This is weird. Don't you agree?
Brooke Sheridan: It is pretty weird.
Payne Lindsey: It is very weird. To be honest, a lot of what Brooke told me was weird. She seemed to tell me things a little bit differently each time she told me something. For example, when I asked her about her relationship with Bo, at first she told me this.
Brooke Sheridan: Bo and I were broken up at the time when he told me everything.
Payne Lindsey: Then, the second time.
Brooke Sheridan: Like I told you before, when I found out, we were still together. We broke up shortly thereafter.
Payne Lindsey: And the third time.
Brooke Sheridan: A couple weeks ... Well, I guess a couple weeks later, Bo and I broke up.
Payne Lindsey: After these phone calls, Brooke went to the CBS show 48 Hours. They aired a short interview clip with Brooke, and then the host of the morning show reacted.
CBS Host 1: Then is she still with him? That's what I wanna know.
CBS Host 2: Well, Bo did confess he told his deep, dark secret and that led to Ryan's arrest and, yes, they are still together.
Payne Lindsey: Which one was it? I was trying not to overanalyze everything, but one more thing really stood out to me.
Brooke Sheridan: After they had all passed, apparently, that's when Ryan had taken her car, and done whatever he did. To this day, Bo can not tell you what Ryan's motives were. [Sounds of a tape rewinding] ... Apparently, that's when Ryan had taken her car.
Payne Lindsey: She said when Ryan had taken her car, as in Tara. Remember how Tara's car had mud on the tires and the driver's seat was pushed back? Was this just a word slip, or two conflicting stories?
Maurice Godwin: What she said was when they all passed out, that's when Ryan had taken her car and done whatever he did. It's either two things: she interjected her car to purposely mislead or she let slip out new information. If it is true about her car, then that puts a new twist on the original narrative that Ryan took Bo's truck without permission and traveled to Ocilla and killed Tara.
Philip Holloway: The big problem that she's creating for herself is, that by saying different things to different people at different times, is it shows the jury that she's capable of talking out of both sides of her mouth. It really gives a good defense attorney a lot to deal with on cross examination, to show that she's not a credible witness, to show that the things that she says should not be believed by this jury. At the end of the day, this trial is really about reasonable doubt, and if her multiple prior inconsistent statements are sufficient to give rise to reasonable doubt, that's really all it takes for the defense to get a not guilty verdict. Every time she makes a statement to anybody, whether it's to a television network news, to a friend, a family member, to anybody at all, really, if she says anything different on the witness stand, they can use those prior inconsistent statements against her to, basically, let the jury know that she is not to be believed. It's classic impeachment of a witness, and it's done by skillful cross examiner when their intention is to raise reasonable doubt in defense of their client.
Often times, witnesses talk to different people, and they forget exactly what they've said to one person, and they say it to another person another way. Even a slight difference can give rise to a big question about the witness' credibility. She really is playing with fire by making multiple prior inconsistent statements, because a defense attorney is really gonna be able to dig into her on cross examination and if it rises to the level of reasonable doubt, then guess what? The defendant gets found not guilty. Anytime a witness sets foot in a witness box, anytime a witness sits in a witness chair, their credibility immediately becomes an issue in the case. If they've made prior inconsistent statements, then a skilled cross examiner can bring that out and show a jury that, hey, this person doesn't remember what they've said from one time to the next. They're talking out of both sides of their mouth at the same time. You can't believe them. It's classic cross examination, and I would expect nothing less if she's a witness in this case.
Payne Lindsey: If Bo's omitting certain parts of the story, then besides Ryan Duke himself, who else can know what really happened that night? After several months of research, I think I may have found the answer to that question. It's a long story, and it all started back in August of 2016, right after I posted the very first episode. I was given a name by someone, a name I don't feel comfortable mentioning yet, but a name that eventually led me to a picture of eight boys in the back of a black pickup truck. This unnamed person, who I will call "Jim Deal", was in this picture, too, amongst seven other boys. I sat and stared at this picture several times during the month of August, but as for its significance, I was absolutely clueless. Then, a few months later, I learned from Maurice Godwin the infamous story of the suicide note. A story that, to this day, has always perplexed me.
To refresh your memory, back in episode seven, Maurice told me the story of a kid who committed suicide in Knoxville, Tennessee.
Maurice Godwin: Now, I'm gon' tell you something now. In 2010, this individual, he drove to Knoxville, Tennessee and he got in a praying position, and he shot himself in the head and killed himself. He wrote a letter. He said that he could not live with himself anymore, that he knew what happened to Tara. He was threatened and he saw something that he shouldn't have seen. There's something to this, you're not gon' come meet your maker on a lie.
In the letter, he listed 12 individual's names. They were all '01 and '02 or '03 graduates of Irwin County. Each one of these individuals need to be talked to. Rather than naming the person right, straight out, could he have said, "Here are 12 people. Hopefully, one of them will tell you." In my opinion, this is big.
Payne Lindsey: Maurice eventually landed upon the full list of names on that suicide note. On that list, was Jim Deal, the same name that had led me to this picture in the first place. Now, I had two reasons to hold on to this picture, but only until after the arrest of Ryan and Bo, did all the pieces begin to fall into place. Among those eight boys in the picture, right there in the middle, was 21-year-old Bo Dukes, with his arm around Jim Deal. Now, this had my full attention.
Since stories of a party out on the pecan orchard began to surface, I shifted my attention back towards this picture. Was this the seven to eight guys that Brooke was talking about?
How many people were there?
Brooke Sheridan: Oh ... Let's see, one, two ... Maybe about seven or eight.
Payne Lindsey: I kept digging and I kept finding more and more pictures, all from the same time period of late 2005, and all with the same exact guys in the pictures. This was the clique that Bo Dukes hung out with on a regular basis, often times at parties out there on the orchard. What's the point? The point is that Brooke told me there were people out there on the orchard that night; the night Bo claims Ryan snuck off in his truck, broke into Tara's house, and murdered her, completely undetected. It wasn't just Ryan Duke's roommates that didn't notice him leave that night, it was also these seven to eight guys, too. Likely, the same seven to eight guys in this picture I'm staring at right now.
What about this party that was rumored to have happened the following weekend? One of Bo's army buddies told me that in the version of the story he was told, Bo was burning Tara's body out on the orchard at a party with people around. Again, likely the same people that are in this picture. The question is, did they know what was happening at the time, or were Bo and Ryan destroying Tara's remains right there in plain sight and they were just none the wiser? The bottom line is that either way, there is now more people to talk to, more people that may possess the information we need to fill up all the gaping holes in Bo Dukes' story. My gut told me that more of the truth lies in the picture of those eight boys, the eight boys who were out on the orchard the night Tara was murdered. The same eight people who were likely there when Bo and Ryan were still destroying her remains in the fire the following weekend.
To disprove or validate any of this, I had to start with some of the basic elements of the story. Literally hours after Ryan Duke's arrest a few months ago, I got a call from someone. I played part of this call for you in episode 15. You might remember.
Unknown caller 1: She sent me the name, Ryan Duke. I said, "Yeah, that's him." Then she calls me and she says, "Is this the pecan orchard story?" I said, "Yeah, he is. Yeah, how do you know?" She said, "We heard about this ten years ago." The GBI said that his name, Ryan Duke's name, had never appeared on their radar before, and that is not accurate. He had been questioned. The GBI had the exact scenario that played out two weeks after Tara disappeared, that this group of people had engaged in quite a bit of bad behavior over the years. They were used to covering for each other.
Payne Lindsey: In a way, this all ties together. If the story that local law enforcement received a tip back in 2005 to search a pecan orchard is true, then it lends them serious credence to the story of Bo and Ryan destroying Tara's remains the next weekend in a fire with numerous people around.
Unknown caller 2: I know Billy Hancock's wife very well. I may have told you this. I got to know Billy a little bit through her, but I asked Amy to ask Billy if one of his officers interviewed Bo or Ryan and he said, "No." To his knowledge, they had never been questioned and the GBI says they've never been questioned. That leaves the sheriff's office. Irwin County deputies drove to the Ben Hill County line, met a Ben Hill County deputy, and then went to the pecan orchard. They didn't look in the right spot, but they did look around in the pecan orchard.
Payne Lindsey: I've heard that either Ryan, Bo, or both of them, had mentioned to friends at a party out on the orchard one week later that they had killed Tara. Someone they had told took it serious enough to inform local law enforcement. Ryan Duke was then interviewed and a search was conducted out on the orchard. If law enforcement did in fact perform a search on the orchard, there would almost certainly have to be a record of it somewhere, right? I first started with the basics and went to the Ocilla Star with Dusty Vassey to look through the old newspaper archives.
Dusty mentioned to me that he recalled a search that was performed back in 2005 by local law enforcement that took place in an area near Fitzgerald called Queensland, and he believed that it might be related. Right after Tara went missing, there were several articles about searches conducted by Irwin County sheriff's department. Deputies Allen Morgan and Nelson Paulk were cited as the officers in charge. After a few more flips through the archive, I found what Dusty was talking about.
Dusty Vassey: That could've been the original search. Queensland.
Payne Lindsey: Is that the area?
Dusty Vassey: Yeah, I mean, it's a rough area, Queensland area.
Payne Lindsey: Is that in Ben Hill County?
Dusty Vassey: Yeah.
Payne Lindsey: But where in Ben Hill County? Queensland was an unofficial district near Fitzgerald, but Dusty didn't know exactly where it was. We decided to ride out to the pecan orchard ourselves, and see if Google Maps could help us find Queensland.
Dusty Vassey: It's gonna be about ten miles up here and to the right. Now, it's somewhere up her.
Payne Lindsey: It was almost midnight at the time. There was not a single street light on the road. To say that it was creepy is a complete understatement.
Dusty Vassey: Right here.
Payne Lindsey: Oh, my God. This is creepy as hell. This is super creepy. I mean, it really is.
Dusty Vassey: Yeah.
Payne Lindsey: Yeah.
I pulled out Google Maps and searched for Queensland, and referenced where we were according to the pin drop.
Dusty Vassey: That's Queensland right here.
Payne Lindsey: We were basically right on top of it.
Dusty Vassey: We're only ... That's where we are?
Payne Lindsey: Uh-huh (affirmative).
Dusty Vassey: I mean, it's the closest thing to associate this with.
Payne Lindsey: It was nothing completely definitive, but it was plausible that the articles referencing a search in Queensland were, in fact, right here on the pecan orchard.
After Dusty and I got back to the Ocilla Star, he began to open up to me a little about what he had learned about the local law enforcement search, something he hasn't been very comfortable talking about.
Dusty Vassey: One of my best friends, he follows the case. I think he would consider himself a realist, and he tries to stay very grounded with his ideas. He tries to Occam's razor to find the simplest explanation. He said, "Why don't you write a blog post about all the craziest stories, just to show how crazy the things are out there," and I said, "Daniel, I don't know that the crazy stories aren't true." I really feel that way. I mean, I hope they're not. I hope it's something simple, but the simple stories that I've heard don't make sense. You have to separate the speculation from something that actually has an origin, where somebody supposedly witnessed something or was told something by somebody who had some involvement in something.
We heard a lot of stories at the beginning ... I said the beginning, when Ryan Duke was arrested and some of them, I just dismissed out of hand, because I'm like, "Well there's no way that many people knew about it." But right now, I think at least 12 people knew about it. Bo lists off several people who knew. Whatever it was, Bo and Ryan knew something about it. Bo says two people from Ocilla knew. He said a cousin. He said his ex-wife, right?
Payne Lindsey: Yep.
Dusty Vassey: And his current girlfriend. That's seven people there. Four people, I know, came forward with a tip to law enforcement in 2005, so that's 11. I've talked to two people, they did not want to go on the record.
Payne Lindsey: Why is that?
Dusty Vassey: I would assume fear. Fear of law enforcement, of possible retaliation. I don't know that there would be. The other thing is, even though I think the people that came forward with the tip did the right thing, I think there would be people that might would blame them for not saying more. Even though, I think they did what you're supposed to do.
The story is that a guy was told, I believe he overheard Ryan say something, and he came forward to some friends and they came forward to local law enforcement and said, "Hey, y'all need to check out this pecan orchard." I do believe Ryan Duke's name was said specifically, I'm sure of that, actually, but they went out and searched the pecan orchard and didn't find anything. Now, the pecan orchard, the one north of Fitzgerald, the one where the GBI was searching two months ago. The GBI knows this story. I've been told that the GBI has interviewed at least one person involved in all this. I'm sure, probably, has interviewed all of them. Now, I don't think the GBI knew back in 2005. I've read a communication from 2006 where somebody talks about it. Said what happened, mentions Ryan Duke's name. I cannot more firmly believe that it is true than I do, let's put it that way.
Payne Lindsey: To add even more confirmation to the mix, I received a call from someone inside law enforcement, whose voice has been altered, and also had knowledge of this.
Law enforcement officer: You see, the one thing that does slightly bother me is, obviously, our sheriff is there. He's got his nice little suit on, his attorney is there, what does that mean to you? Right, that was all planned. He's predetermined that he's gonna turn himself in at this time or this date, and he's gonna have a [inaudible 00:35:50] already knew what the [inaudible 00:35:52] is gonna be, all that was already predetermined.
About 11 years ago, give or take, there was some information basically similar to what they got now, "Hey, she's buried out here in this pecan orchard." They did go out there and did look, but didn't see anything. There's a reason they didn't see anything, because what happened out in the pecan orchard, there was not nothing to see.
When you cremate a body, you have to have a high heat, 1,800 degrees, more than that, whatever. Two and a half, three hours, and even after that process, there's still a lot of large bones left. You basically put that in, for lack of a better term, a grinder.
What they done is they dug a pit and they put her in it, and they soaked her in oil to get a hotter fire. Once you soak those the next three days, they constantly added oil and wood to her, and after the third day was completed, they just covered up what was left. See, here's the problem, there's many people who wanna buy this, not just Bo and Ryan. They need real information, because this was just overheard by one of those little get together, drunken stupor kind of things. Ryan will get drunk and basically confess, but you don't know if he was telling the truth or if he was lying or he was just drunk or what.
Payne Lindsey: The evidence of this search was piling up, which only made my suspicions of the eight boys in that picture even stronger. There's just way too many people to know so little. When I tried to reach out to these boys to hear their story, I was shut out. They would block me on Facebook and ignore my calls. Eventually, a more distant friend of these boys' decided to open up with me, and tell me what he knew. He told me about a friend of his that had told him this same story, of hearing about Tara's murder at a party out there on the orchard a week later. He actually saw this guy in Ocilla at the gas station on the day of Ryan Duke's arrest and he mentioned it to him again there.
Distant friend of boys: The day that they arrested Ryan, one of them was talking to him at the store down there in Ocilla. He said ... I think it was Bo that said something about this is where Tara died or we burned her or something to that nature. Somebody told the cops and they just didn't pursue it. He was at that store buying beer. I was like, "You gonna go over there?" 'Cause I knew he was real good friends with all of them.
Even after we talked, he sent a message later that day, telling me, "Don't tell nobody what I said. I don't want my name in it and [censored name] would be the one you need to talk to."
Payne Lindsey: The name I censored is Jim Deal, the guy from the picture of the eight boys with his arm around Bo. The one whose name was on the suicide note. This no longer felt like a white rabbit.