Sometimes I don’t like writing about the older cold cases that have appeared on the full gamut of crime shows (i.e. Tara Grinstead), because if it’s been since 2005-2006 and there’s basically nothing, well … I doubt one little blog post is going to do anything. Still, I’ve watched multiple versions of this case on TV and online, and I wanted to take a few minutes and run together some ideas. It probably won’t go anywhere, but it theoretically might.
Here are the essential points that most websites / shows on Tara Grinstead will bring up:
1. glove found on yard about a footstep from her doorsteps, it contains dna but nobody matches, nobody.
2. A house mysteriously burns down, possibly arson, a month after she dissapears, in the same city.
3. her brother in law fails one question from a lie detector test, the question was if he had an affair with tara, it showed deception.
4. a married cop, (close friend of her) drives one hour and ten minutes to her house, the day after she dissapears and leaves a business card, he had left 22 voice mails the previous night.
5. Three months before she went missing, a former student, comes to her house and knocks violently in her door, trying to force his way in. The neighbors calls the police and it becomes a disturbance. The married cop was inside her house, visiting at the time.
6. Her ex boyfriend was in town the same night she went missing, he went to a local tavern, and then did a ride along with a former friend of his, sergeant sean fletcher. That ride along he did becomes his alibi.
7. In an interview he gave to the media, the ex boyfriend said , that she had been at her house, the week before she went missing and told him, that if he didnt return with her, she was going to commit suicide.
8. The police finds 100 dollars in her unlocked car dashboard, and her seat had been moving back, too back for her, she was only 5’3.
9. No sign of forced entry, the only items that were missing was her keys, her purse, and her earrings. Her cell phone was found plugged in charge.
10. two witness saw a black truck park in her house after she dissapear.
The big name in this case has always been Marcus Harper, her boyfriend of six years. You can read a little bit about their relationship here. While he was a contractor in the military and had additional military experience — perhaps, then, he was capable of some stealth stuff around someone’s disappearance — he’s also been such a focus for close to a decade that you’d figure if he was the guy, something would have happened by now. He does apparently have a good relationship with local cops — I believe his alibi for the night in question is, in fact, that he was helping a local cop on his beat — but still, I feel like Harper has passed the levels of scrutiny for too long to be “the guy.”
Others believe Harper is “the guy,” of course.
Harper has only ever spoken to Greta Van Susteren about this case; that transcript can be found here.
This case has long been tied with Jennifer Kesse — a few hours south in Orlando — but if you read a post I wrote on that case, it seems more likely her abductor was potentially someone (a) in her office or (b) working at her apartment complex. I’m not sure there’s a tie there, although 48 Hours seems to.
The other major themes in the Tara Grinstead case appear to be:
1. A student? Grinstead was a teacher. One student is typically mentioned as regards her case — Anthony Vickers. He came to her house a few months before the disappearance, was “banging on the door” and unruly. It’s all in this CNN transcript. I believe Vickers was fully cleared, but the rep of Grinstead was a very hands-on, involved, focused teacher. She apparently helped people pay for prom dresses and yearbooks. It’s not a reach to think that a student became too enamored with her, and that led to sometimes.
2. Her brother-in-law, Larry Gattis. There’s rumors of an affair there. They’ve been shot down by him over time, but it’s still a name that comes up. He did purportedly “show deception” on a lie detector test about having an affair with Tara.
3. Heath Dykes, a married cop from another area of Georgia, who was purportedly having an affair with Tara — and possibly left her over 20 voice mails on the weekend she disappeared.
4. Joe Portier, the next-door neighbor. The story with the Portiers is that they’re an old couple who “looked out” for Tara — they made sure the light was turned on, signaling that she was home for the evening, etc. — but there are reports online (you need to obviously take them all with a grain of salt) that Joe Portier, the husband of the neighbor pair, was “infatuated” with Tara and — and again, big time grain of salt — he apparently poured concrete the day after the disappearance.
5. John David Anderson and Michael Lankford are cops, somewhat linked to Tara Grinstead, who had odd things happen in their lives in the aftermath of her disappearance.
If you put this all together, what do you have? A whole hill of beans. The DNA on the glove is something, but there’s no context around those gloves — it is male trace, but she clearly had a bunch of suitors and guys who would do things for her, so the glove being on the lawn doesn’t have to be somewhat off (although it probably is).
Because this case has been unsolved for so long, you have to figure it’s someone not on the radar yet — although honestly, if I had to put money right now, I might say Heath Dykes. Seems like the affair was a big thing for him and the voice mails could be because he was getting jealous; he’s a cop, so leaving his card in the door would give him an instant “Man, I’d never be that stupid!” moment with other cops. That said, he could have just driven over there to check on her. It could be that simple.
Final thing: if you read some tarot sights on this (again, grain of salt), they talk about “a female who was jealous” as the lead actor in the Tara Grinstead disappearance. If that’s even remotely true, then you need to look at her sister (Larry’s wife) and the wives of any of these guys she had connections to.
If you know anything, leave it in the comments.