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GBI: Search for Tara Grinstead's remains leads to Fitzgerald property

FITZGERALD, Ga. -- Authorities are searching a property in Ben Hill County for what they believe may be Tara Grinstead's remains.

This comes just days after an arrest was made in the nearly 12-year-old case.

Agent J.T. Ricketson with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said Tuesday afternoon that through interviews during their investigation they have identified a property in Fitzgerald where they believe Grinstead's remains may be located.

Ricketson said that they have collected some items and other evidence on the property and another location that they believe with help to further their investigation into Grinstead's disappearance.

He said that Tuesday the GBI and other agencies are on the property with 41 officials searching the property. This includes a body recovery team.

Ricketson said that authorities have performed a shoulder-to-shoulder search that led them to specify a certain area on the property where they believe evidence may be located. He said teams have begun digging at these locations with small instruments and that they will be there as long as they keep "finding evidence."

"We identified some specific areas that we gridded off so we could do a grid search and now they’re down there with trowels and spoons and very small implements trying to basically dig into the very, very small pieces of the dirt just to see if we can collect any evidence," Ricketson said.

Ricketson said that they have identified a number of people who have information about the case but did not speculate on any future arrests.

He said they are "making very good headway" in the case.

He said that the owner of the Fitzgerald property where his teams are searching is not related "in any way, shape or form" to Grinstead's disappearance.

Grinstead, a 30-year-old high school teacher and beauty queen, disappeared from her Ocilla home on October 22, 2005 after attending a beauty pageant and then a barbecue in Fitzgerald. Since then, authorities had not made any arrests or gotten any leads until now.

Ryan Duke, 33, was arrested on Thursday and charged with murder, aggravated assault, burglary and concealing a death in connection to Grinstead's disappearance. On the same day as Duke's arrest, Agent J.T. Ricketson with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said that the search for Grinstead's body was still ongoing.

On Thursday, Ricketson said they recently received a tip about Grinstead's case that led them to Duke.

Ricketson said that Duke has not shared what happened to Grinstead with authorities.

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