Discussion in 'Tara Grinstead' started by christine2448, May 10, 2008.
This thread is for general discussion.
Please continue here.
I know this is going against the popular grain here, but one of the things that I find interesting and inspiring about Tara Grinstead's case is that she is only declared " Missing" on the official posters. LE has not declared her " Missing- Endangered" like they did with my distant relative Jana Witt nor have they added any other information than what was initially released.
Until the people who KNOW what is what, GBI, releases specific and unequivocal information to the contrary, I choose to hope that Tara Grinstead is just what the authorities say-missing. I don't know where she is, or why she is missing, but that's not for me to know.
She has a family who will miss her and love her on this Mother's Day and I think we owe them the respect of honoring what LE has said about Tara.. she is MISSING.
I am aware of the snippets of possible foul play and rumors of this and that which have divided those who care about Tara for years, but rumors and innuendo do not a death make.
What if you or I were missing from our regular home, workplace, hangouts, pets, but still alive? Would we want people labeling us as dead? Murdered? Have us mouldering in the dark south Georgia soil when we aren't?
I've thought long and hard about this and I think that to declare Tara Grinstead dead is wrong on many levels. We must deal with the case facts first of all.
The case facts are that she disappeared and that the only things missing are her purse and keys.
Chico said in the new Tara TOS that it was OK to post theories and speculate, and that some of us will change our minds as time goes on...
I have changed my opinion from that of " probably dead" to simply " missing".. not in her usual place, and missed dearly by those who love her.
Tara is an amazing young woman and I pray for the best possible outcome for her.
Here is a link to an FBI VICAP flyer for Tara Grinstead. In the poster it says " Investigators suspect that her disappearance may be the result of foul play."
To me, that sums up LE's point of view that Tara Grinstead is a victim of foul play.
Investigators suspect that her
disappearance may be the result of foul play.
to believe to be guilty, false, counterfeit, undesirable, defective, bad, etc., with little or no proof: to suspect a person of murder.
Sorry, but I just cannot accept "just missing." If I were voluntarily missing and did not wish to be labeled as "mouldering in the dark south GA soil," I would contact authorities, as I believe Tara, being an honest person, would do.
Is it possible that Tara may be being held against her will and cannot contact authorities? Sure; anything is possible. But, while this has happened in a few high profile cases, most persons missing this long do not have a positive outcome.
"Just missing" IMO is a way of saying we don't want to discuss the possibility of Tara no longer being alive. The realities of this case must include the possibility that she is no long with us and must include suspects in her abduction and possible murder.
Implying "just missing" says we don't know where she is with no room for discussion, which is what Websleuths is all about.
My understanding is that for the first week or so, the feeling "on the ground" was that she was returning. I am paraphrasing a post of docwho3's, but in the past VICAP alerts have been issued for people who were missing of their own volition, but the circumstances of their disappearance were suspicious to what was known about the person to the date of their disappearance.
I have no firm belief on this case yet, simply because weeding though all of the data has not provided me with a clear picture.
Why did she have so much money in her car; was that a common thing for her?
I was told and do not know for sure if it is fact ///but what was discussed early on is that Tara loan the money to one of the pagenet contestent for a dress and was paid back at the pagenet..
Ahhhh!!! Now that would make a whole lot of sense!!! I will dig into it from that angle-thank you!!!
By JACK WILKINSON
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 02/05/06
Ocilla — Tara Grinstead is still missing, and yet it seems she's everywhere.
In the Irwin County Senior Citizens Center on Fourth Street, a large banner over the entrance reads: "Missing: Tara Grinstead." Inside, as two elderly women play ring toss while others eat lunch, Linda Fletcher answers the phone in a tiny room that serves as the volunteer Tara Command Center, taking tips or dispelling the latest, wildest rumor.
On the corner of West Park and Alder, the porch and front yard of Grinstead's small white rental house are still festooned with Halloween decorations ("Beware! Creepy Hollow!"), and a "Happy Birthday" streamer that was strung below the living room window Nov. 14, Tara's 31st birthday.
A teddy bear donning a "Teachers for Tara" T-shirt sits in a white folding chair. All this, cordoned off by yellow police crime scene tape stretched from pine tree to pine tree.
And, at Irwin County High School, where some students and faculty wear "FindTara.com" buttons, an enormous yellow banner hangs in the cafeteria. It's covered with handwritten wishes from students, including this from one of the many kids whose lives were touched by the popular, charismatic and vivacious American history teacher and former beauty queen:
"Come Home Soon, Chris P. — a/k/a 'Changed Man.' "
It's been more than three months since Grinstead disappeared, yet her presence is almost palpable in this small South Georgia town.
Last seen leaving a friend's cookout the night of Oct. 22, Grinstead was reported missing Oct. 24 when she didn't show up at school Monday morning.
"That day, nobody talked in the halls; nobody did anything," said Whitney Royal, a senior who took Grinstead's U.S. history class. "It was like the school was dead, because she wasn't here."
Despite several extensive searches by law enforcement and volunteers and smaller expeditions by family and friends, despite reward money that has now reached $200,000, the whereabouts of Grinstead remains a mystery.
Her disappearance has brought national attention to Ocilla, a town of 3,270.
CNN's Nancy Grace and Fox's Greta Van Susteren each have broadcast live from here, interviewing family members who have criticized the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and local law enforcement. That attention helped fuel rumors.
It's also left Wendy McFarland, Grinstead's teaching colleague, emotionally conflicted during each search for her friend.
"On one hand, you pray to God to find her," McFarland said. "On the other hand, you pray to God you don't find her. It's very conflicting. We have to find her, for the family, the school, the community, her friends. Good, bad or ugly, we need a resolution."
For Anita Gattis, Grinstead's older sister who's become the family spokeswoman, it's all "indescribable.''
"Sometimes, it's like this is a little snow globe at Christmas, with people and a little village, and it's like it's someone else's life. It's not. It's my family," she said.
The family — including Gattis' husband, Larry, a doctor whose practice is a little more than an hour away in Hawkinsville, their son Gabe, 13, and her mother, Connie — insist that Tara didn't simply leave town or disappear on her own.
"She was six weeks away from getting her third post-graduate degree, which would've upped her pay by about $10,000," said Anita Gattis. "And, she'd never do that to our mother."
Asked if she thinks her sister is still alive, Gattis nodded. "I've always been very adamant about that," she said. "Tara's a survivor and a fighter. She's one of God's good angels, and he wants her to still be on this earth."
Gattis feels her sister left with someone she knew on the night she disappeared. Her house was locked but her car, a pearl white Mitsubishi 3000 GT, was unlocked and in the carport, with $100 in the console and clay on the tires.
"Tara never left her car unlocked, and never drove on dirt roads," Gattis said.
"There was no struggle in the house. Tara was a singer; that was her talent in pageants," Gattis said of her sister, thrice crowned Miss Tifton and a contestant in several Miss Georgia pageants. "If someone was removing her, she'd project her voice. And she took self-defense. She'd go out kicking and screaming and fighting."
Myrtle and Joe Portier, the elderly couple who live next door to Grinstead, never heard any noise that October night.
Grinstead had spent the day at home, helping several of her students primp and prepare for the Miss Georgia Sweet Potato pageant that evening in nearby Fitzgerald.
"We thought she was home the whole time, with her car in the carport," said Myrtle Portier, who is very close to Grinstead. "We didn't realize until Monday morning, when she had no lights on."
Grinstead was taking graduate courses three nights a week at Valdosta State University and would turn on a lamp in the front corner room of her house, a signal to the Portiers that she was safely home.
"It does seem to be kind of an overwhelming and baffling case," said Ocilla police Chief Billy Hancock. "We've had missing persons before but usually those turn up in a few days — usually juveniles who come back to their homes."
More than three months later, Grinstead is still missing.
"I'm very pleased with the search, but not so pleased with the investigation," said Gattis.
She said her family, which has hired a private investigator and consulted psychics, wants more information from the GBI.
"It is still a very active investigation," GBI spokesman John Bankhead said. "We work on it daily. We've got leads we're pursuing. In a case like this, the family members get upset because it's not resolved. We want it resolved.
"There have been allegations by the family that we've mistreated them or dropped the ball," Bankhead said. "We understand their issues. We're doing everything we can to find out where she is."
Among the people investigators first interviewed were an ex-boyfriend of Grinstead and a former student.
Some friends and colleagues of Grinstead said they believed she'd unsuccessfully tried to reconcile with the boyfriend.
Lately, more rumors have taken hold. According to Gattis, "Last weekend, it was that the GBI surrounded my husband's office and took him out in handcuffs. Last Monday's was that I was arrested because I had murdered Tara and Larry had covered it up."
In a story on the CourtTV Crime Library Web site, Larry Gattis said he was questioned by investigators about rumors of a possible affair with Grinstead. If that were true, Gattis was quoted, "I wouldn't be alive right now. If you know my wife, I'd be pushing up daisies somewhere."
Instead, Gattis and his wife say they continue to push the investigation whenever possible.
On Park Street, Myrtle Portier cares for her neighbor's historically named pets: Dolly Madison, a year-old German shepherd, and a cat named Herman Talmadge. At Irwin County High, they're all trying to carry on as best as possible.
"She was — she is, I don't want to use the past tense — a very dear friend," Sandy McClurd said, her eyes quickly welling up.
McClurd, 57, a public relations specialist for the school system, said she and Grinstead quickly bonded despite their age difference.
"It was almost like we'd known each other a long time," said McClurd, who has purposely avoided walking by room 622 — Grinstead's old classroom — since her disappearance.
McClurd said Grinstead — who gave her phone number out to many students — felt every senior girl should attend the senior prom and bought some their prom dresses. Some paid her back $5 a week; others, $5 a month. It didn't matter.
"And I can't tell you how many yearbooks she's purchased for seniors," McClurd said.
Great find, WindChime!! Clearly there is a discrepancy on the amount of money in the car. (Gattis said 100.00 in the above article and then 300.00 on Montel Williams-montel was filmed 2 months after this article was written.)
So I guess it comes back to why there was either 100.00 or 300.00 dollars in the car and the reason she had it....
Reading up on POI's..doing some searching.
I don't ever recall reading about 2 students, another besides AV, messing with Tara..?
At least two of her students had tried to create relationships with Grinstead at Irwin County High. Anthony Vickers, a former student of Grinsteads, had been arrested after he was found at her house one night. He was investigated, and his parents property searched, but nothing was found. Another student, who remained unnamed, had been removed from her class after police found he was responsible for a series of threatening phone calls to Grinstead.
Yikes-she sure inspired some interesting behaviors in the people around her...I remember reading this, and I have to believe that this kid was pretty well vetted by GBI...I have no proof of that, lol.
The question for me is what would get Tara out of her bed after having apparently retired to it, where if a struggle ensued it seems to barely have disturbed anything in her house...or at least if things were disturbed it is hard to attribute it to anyone other than her cat, or people searching through her clothing....she didn't cry out, since she was 15 feet from the nearest house and had a big strong voice....It wasn't a call on her cell phone or landline...at least not one that has been discussed in the press. If someone came to her door, they risked being viewed by at least the Poirer's...something caused her to take her purse and keys, but not her cell phone. To possibly lock the front door, but to unlock her car-did she take something out of her car? I wonder if she didn't take her phone because the battery needed to be charged....this is assuming she went voluntarily with whomever might have stopped by.
Did Everyone Fall Off The Earth Or What ????
I don't know, but I asked about John David Anderson because I honestly have no idea who he is (other than an Ocilla cop) or why he fell into the POI category and no one answered.
I am still out here reading. I just have not had anything new to add yet. And I was also waiting to see how this new version of the case discussion goes.
Van Zant said the similarities between the cases brought investigators on the Grinstead and Kesse cases together and the CBS crew followed Georgia investigators to Florida. An e-mail from CBS claims that investigators uncovered a clue that they believe is essential to solving the cases, but neither Van Zant nor Rothwell would comment on that subject.
Essential to solving the cases? So they are linked-amazing!!!!!
I'm glad that they are checking all possibilities, but I can't imagine a connection between these two cases. I just hope some real facts come out of the program tomorrow night. Things that will clear up at least a few things for us all.
Maybe this info will bring someone in the background of each case, to the forefront and talking to authorities. Something that will be pursuasive enough to break a long held silence.
Oscilla is so small that I have difficulty believing an outsider could slip in and out of the town w/o being seen. He would have had to hang around long enough to know where Tara lived or would have had to follow her, neither of which seem to me to be logical.
I came in late to the special, but did not see any reference to the clue that might solve the "cases' as referred to in the article. Good to know that they got a good DNA sample off of the glove and it does not match anyone they collected from. Of course the question now becomes who did not provide samples, I guess, or was the person double gloved.
IIRC the glove was matched to the senior center-the same center that is now being used, or was being used as a command post...
Hi Believe - I watched from the beginning and they certainly never mentioned a clue that tied the two cases together. It is a tantilizing little piece of information though isn't it? I wish they would have made it a two hour special so they could spend an hour on each woman instead of just 30 minutes but either way it is great to see the huge publicity a show like 48hours gives to a case. My fiance had not heard of Tara or Jennifer......and I was like really? I thought everyone knew who Tara and/or Jennifer were.....he kindly reminded me that a lot of people do not frequent places like websleuths and watch Nancy Grace/Greta, etc.
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