MACON, Ga. — Almost two years ago, authorities charged an Irwin County man with the death of Tara Grinstead.
She's the high school teacher and beauty queen that vanished from her Ocilla, Georgia home in 2005.
It's a case that 13 WMAZ has followed since her disappearance, and one not many people ever thought would be solved.
That arrest brought some sense of closure, but it's what's happened since then that's left everyone still searching for the truth.
"I started crying because I was with her Saturday, and it's so weird 'cause I walked her out to her car and I haven't seen her since," said Irwin County High School student Dana Wilder in 2005.
That was just days after Grinstead didn't show up for work at the local high school and people began realizing something was wrong.
Her face began popping up on posters, t-shirts, and flyers across Ocilla as people searched for the beloved teacher.
"There was no sign of a scuffle in the house, in the yard. It looks like she left with somebody that she knew," Grinstead's sister, Anita Gattis, told 13 WMAZ.
Investigators searched high and low. Days turned into weeks. Weeks turned into months. For 10 years, hardly anything developed in Tara's case.
Then on February 23, 2017, GBI agents took Ryan Alexander Duke into custody. Duke was charged on 6 counts, including Grinstead's murder.
"Our wounds are deep and our hearts are broken," said Connie Grinstead, Tara's stepmother, on the day of Duke's arrest.
Five days later, GBI agents searched a Ben Hill County pecan farm for Grinstead's remains. But before investigators could tell us much, an Irwin County Judge imposed a gag order in the case.
"They feel they've lost control and want to gain in back so they issue a gag order," said Mercer Law School Professor David Oedel.
Just over a week after the first arrest, a second man, Bo Dukes, was charged with helping conceal Grinstead's body.
We learned he and Ryan were high school classmates, and his uncle, Randy Hudson, owned the pecan farm where investigators were searching for Tara.
"We are cooperating with the local sheriff's agency and the GBI in regards to this matter on our farm," Hudson told 13 WMAZ.
Bo Dukes bonded out of jail, while Ryan remained in custody and was eventually indicted on all 6 charges against him.
Bo was also indicted and also pleaded "not guilty" to the three charges against him.
In September 2017, he was charged with 4 more counts related to the case in Wilcox County.
In October 2017, 13 WMAZ's lawyers appealed the gag order to the State Supreme Court of Georgia, arguing the media's first amendment rights.
Five months later, the state supreme court threw the gag order out, but by that time, the GBI had already turned their case file over to all the lawyers involved.
"We stop talking to the media and defer everything over to our district attorney, the one who will be prosecuting the case," said GBI Special Agent JT Ricketson.
As people grew silent, documents showed the case's progression.
In August 2018, Ryan Duke parted ways with the public defender and secured a new defense team that's representing him for free.
GBI holds news conference on Tara Grinstead case
In November 2018, Ryan appeared in an Irwin County courtroom with his new attorneys -- clean shaven and well-dressed.
The prosecution and defense sorted through more than 30 motions filed in his case. Weeks later, another bomb dropped online.
A leaked confession hit the internet in December 2018, outlining an alleged 2017 interview between Ryan and the GBI.
As investigators worked to figure out who posted it, Ryan's accused accomplice, Bo, was ordered back to federal prison for charges in a separate case. But before turning himself in, he was charged with sexually assaulting two women in Houston County.
Considered "armed and dangerous," he led authorities on a four-day manhunt before being taken into custody at a relatives house in Irwin County.
In February, at a bond hearing for Ryan Duke, GBI special agent Jason Shoudel verified that Ryan's DNA was in that glove investigators found outside Tara's home.
He also said Bo Dukes is the one who leaked Ryan's confession online. Ryan's bond was denied during the hearing.
In March, days before Bo's trial was supposed to start in Wilcox County, an alibi was filed for Ryan. It claimed Ryan was asleep in his trailer when Grinstead was killed.
Bo's trial in Wilcox County ended in late March, and he was found guilty of concealing her death and lying to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
During the trial, a GBI agent said Bo and Ryan's names were local law enforcement reports since 2005, the year Grinstead went missing. Bo gave his own statement at his sentencing hearing, where he was given 25 years. He still faces charges in two other counties.
Ryan's own trial was supposed to start on April 1 in Irwin County, but at the last minute, the Georgia Supreme Court granted a delay after his defense filed an emergency motion.
Through May and the next few months, Ryan and his lawyers would argue for the state to cover funds for an investigator for Ryan. This argument would bounce between Irwin County Superior Court and the state Supreme Court.
Finally in September, the prosecution and defense agreed to have the Georgia Supreme Court hear the argument again, after Irwin County Judge Reinhardt signs a "certificate of immediate review."
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