Beneath the Surface of the Tara Grant Case

Viewers will note, however, Stephen Grant's media-friendly approach to his wife's disappearance. Scott Peterson attempted to use his charm to control the message. Grant, an experienced political operative, would not surprisingly take the same approach. Both men did not give off any sense of menace. That fact is worth remembering: There is no face of domestic homicide, no one who clearly radiates menace when the camera is on and others are watching.

What would you do, as a forensic psychiatrist, to follow up on exploring this case?

Follow the conflict and follow the timeline. Retracing her steps through his travel, the locations Ms. Grant frequented. Cell phone records are key -- including a search for the possibility of a second cell phone. Internet and chat activity reveal the extent of strands of relationships. Stephen Grant reportedly monitored her Internet activity, and the product of that monitoring relative to her disappearance will reveal important information. Retrace other aspects of his attempts to control her movements and her relationships, and what inspired such actions on his part.

In morbid jealousy cases, a husband's movements after the fact may be indistinguishable from the mourning husband and yield few clues. Occasionally, a therapist may be an important informant, but therapists are strongly discouraged from breaching confidentiality. The best witnesses to the prospect of homicide may be her co-workers, friends, or family confidantes.

Often overlooked, in my opinion, are the movements in the aftermath. Financial transactions may not hint at a reconfiguring life beforehand. But the person with the double life will make all of the moves after the fact to separate himself and wipe the decedent clean. This quality, in my professional experience, reflects a husband's shallow attachment to the decedent. As a psychiatrist who regularly engages the bereaved, I would advise that putting affairs of the deceased in order is arduous and often moves awkwardly. A spouse who sweeps his past and the decedent's traces clean inspires my suspicion for showing his attachment to be of the order of a landlord replacing a tenant. My suspicions are heightened when such occurs in the aftermath of murder.

Why is that?

Because murder is so traumatic an event, beyond even unexpected death. In my professional experience, intimates of the murdered are scarred forever -- forever. A person need not be emotional, or even visibly affected. But a person who dispenses with the life traces of the murdered may be trying to hard to let go of the past.

We've learned that Tara Grant's torso was found at their home. What questions would you have as to how that could happen?

Naturally, one would have to understand why the torso was in their home. A person with more pathological attachment would have greater difficulty dispensing with remains, or doing so without being compelled to revisit the site of body disposal. Mr. Grant had several days to remove the body before notifying police that his wife was missing on Feb. 14. Naturally, how police came to search and find the remains when they did is important to understanding how they identified Mr. Grant as a suspect.

Why does a finding of her remains at the home essentially clinch Mr. Grant as her killer?

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