The man accused of killing missing Georgia woman Tara Grinstead and an alleged accomplice admitted to Grinstead’s murder shortly after her disappearance in 2005, according to recent court documents.
In April 2017, Ryan Duke was indicted on multiple charges, including malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, burglary and concealing the death of another in connection to the long-cold case of missing Tara Grinstead, a teacher and former beauty queen who vanished without a trace in 2005. A month later, Bo Dukes was indicted on charges of concealing a death, tampering with evidence, and hindering apprehension of a criminal.
In the past week, Duke’s lawyers have filed more than two dozen motions (which can be read in full below) which widely scrutinize the prosecution’s case against the suspected killer. WMAZ reported that those motions refer to three exhibits from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s case, which they said suggested that Duke and alleged accomplice Bo Dukes confessed to the crime at a party in 2005.
Further, the court filings claim that law enforcement had been informed of the alleged confession.
“It is undisputed that Irwin County law enforcement knew of these crimes within months of the disappearance of Tara Grinstead…In fact, a search of the area where Ms. Grinstead’s body was allegedly burned was conducted,” it read.
Citing a statute of limitations, Duke’s public defenders are also pushing for all but the murder charge to be thrown out because Duke and Dukes were classified as suspects in 2005—though they weren’t officially charged until 2017.
Additional motions include requests for the court to ban the word “murder” at trial and to dismiss Duke’s April 2017 indictment because the language used in it is “vague, ambitious and indefinite.”
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Grinstead was last seen leaving a cookout on October 22, 2005. She was reported missing two days later when she didn’t turn up for a teaching job.
The newspaper reported that Georgia police combed a pecan farm shortly after the pair’s arrests but authorities haven’t revealed what the search produced. Various reports also indicated that officials have been tight-lipped regarding a motive in Grinstead’s disappearance and presumed death.
A probate judge declared Grinstead dead in 2010, more than five years after her disappearance. The ruling meant her father is in control of her possessions, according to WALB.
A hearing addressing the recent batch of motions is scheduled for September 20.
[Featured image: Tara Grinstead/Handout]