Sheriff's Office: 2nd arrest made in murder of Tara Grinstead


The Ben Hill County Sheriff's Office confirmed a second arrest has been made in connection with the murder of former beauty queen Tara Grinstead, who vanished without a trace more than 11 years. 

FOX 5 learned about the second arrest early Friday afternoon. 

Last week, Ryan Alexander Duke, a former student at the high school at which Grinstead taught, was arrested for her murder. During his first appearance last week, a judge revealed he is also being charged with burglary, aggravated assault and concealing a death.

The arrest warrant alleges that Duke went to Grinstead's house to commit a burglary and then "used his hands in an offensive manner" to cause serious bodily harm to Ms. Grinstead.  According to the warrant, Grinstead was killed inside the home and her body removed. 

RELATED: Suspect arrested for murder of Tara Grinstead

This week, Georgia Bureau of Investigation agents and local law enforcement have been gathering in a pecan orchard near Fitzgerald, searching for Grinstead's remains. They have narrowed their search to one corner of the orchard that sits off of Bowens Hill Highway. However, due to the restrictions of a new gag order, GBI agents are not commenting about the search for Grinstead's remains.

MORE: Search continues for Tara Grinstead's remains

Grinstead was last seen the night of October 22, 2005 when she attended a beauty pageant and barbecue in Fitzgerald, Georgia. Investigators said she went home to Ocilla and was never seen again.

Two days later, her co-workers at Irwin County high School, where she taught, called 911 when she didn't show up for work. Police said when they got to Grinstead's home to investigate, they found no signs of a struggle and her purse, keys and cell phone were still there.

She was 30-years-old at the time of her disappearance.

A grand jury is expected to meet on April 12 to see if the murder case against Duke will move forward. He remains in jail without bond.

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