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In October 2005, teacher and three-time winner of the Miss Tifton beauty pageant Tara Grinstead disappeared from her small town of Ocilla, Georgia, and her body has never been found.
Although the case had little movement over the past decade, public interest was reignited when national media — including “Up and Vanished,” a podcast and Oxygen series hosted by Payne Lindsey — took a deeper look into the case, ultimately leading to the 2017 arrests of Bo Dukes and Ryan Duke, two former students from Irwin County High School.
“I became obsessed with Tara’s story … There were dark secrets in this small town, and people started talking,” Lindsey told “Up and Vanished.”
In an interview with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Dukes said Duke told him that he had strangled Grinstead after breaking into her home, reported Atlanta NBC affiliate WXIA-TV. The two then burned her remains for two days at a pecan orchard owned by Dukes’ family.
“I didn’t believe him. He asked me to come down to the pecan orchard and I went with him and we drove to the back and he showed me where the body was,” Dukes said, according to WXIA-TV. “I freaked out kinda … Asked him what the hell happened.”
Last year, Dukes was convicted on four counts related to Grinstead’s murder, including two counts of making a false statement, hindering the apprehension of a criminal and concealing the death of another, reported the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
He was sentenced to 25 years in prison.
Duke is charged with two counts of felony murder and one count each of malice murder, aggravated assault, burglary and concealing the death of another, according to AP News. He has pleaded not guilty.
Duke's trial was set for April 2019, but it has been delayed following an appeal application for funding from Duke’s defense team.
While the tip that led to Duke and Dukes’ arrests was made outside of the podcast, Lindsey believes the series played a role in solving Grinstead’s murder.
“I think the podcast maybe helped create an environment for the truth to come out,” Lindsey said.
After finding success with the Grinstead case, Lindsey and his team began investigating five more mysterious disappearances for an all-new season of “Up and Vanished,” airing Saturdays at 7/6c on Oxygen.
Here is a look at the upcoming cases:
In the premiere episode, the team reexplores the 1995 abduction of Jodi Huisentruit, a 27-year-old local news anchor who vanished on her way to work. When police performed a welfare check at her Mason City, Iowa, apartment, they found signs of a struggle in the parking lot.
Korrina Malinoski and Annette Sagers
On Nov. 21, 1987, young mother of three Korrina Malinoski vanished from the Mount Holly Plantation in Berkeley County, South Carolina. Less than a year later, her daughter, Annette Sagers, vanished, leaving a puzzling note addressed to her stepfather.
Kristal Reisinger went missing in 2016 after moving to the small town of Crestone, Colorado — the “New Age Religious capital of the world” — for a spiritual journey. Lindsey explored the case on season two of his podcast, and the team hopes to find more answers in the series.
Molly Miller and Colt Haynes
On the evening of July 7, 2013, Colt Haynes and his girlfriend, Molly Miller, vanished in a high-speed police chase through Wilson, Oklahoma, and they were never seen again. Their families believe the couple was met with foul play, but it is still unknown what happened to them.
Jennifer Kesse walked out the door of her Orlando, Florida, condominium on Jan. 24, 2006 and seemingly vanished without a trace. Her car was later found parked in the lot of a nearby complex, but the 24-year-old was nowhere to be found.
Tune in to Oxygen on Saturdays at 7/6c to find out more.
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