New evidence in 12-year murder mystery leads to arrest

Alexander Duke is now facing charges for the murder of Tara Grinstead, a high school teacher and beauty pageant contestant who went missing in 2005.
5:53 | 02/24/17

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Transcript for New evidence in 12-year murder mystery leads to arrest
that major arrest in one of America's biggest murder mystery, the man is now facing charges for the death of a former Georgia beauty queen who went missing more than a decade ago and ABC's Steve osunsami is in Atlanta with the latest in this case. Good morning, Steve. Reporter: Good morning to you, Michael. Georgia police were finally able to crack this case after nearly 12 years because someone came forward with valuable information. It was an unsolved mystery in the south that made headlines across the country. Tara Grinstead disappeared. Reporter: The disappearance of 30-year-old Tara Grinstead. What happened to Tara? Reporter: She was a high school teacher and experienced beauty pageant contestant seen here winning one of her tiaras on investigation discovery. In 2005 she went missing after watching a pageant and having dinner with friends. More than a decade went by with no and the for her family. I need an appointed attorney. Reporter: This morning this man seen here in his first court appearance is now charged with murdering her. Authorities say that Ryan Alexander duke broke into her home in October of 2005, robbed and killed the teacher with his bare happens and then hid the body. He has not yet entered a plea. Ryan Alexander duke did in the county of foresaid commit aggravated seattle. Reporter: Duke was a student at her school and here's his senior photo from the yearbook and graduated three years before Grinstead was killed. Police say the mystery ended earlier this week. A few days ago an individual came forward and reported that they had information into Tara's disappearance. Reporter: An mraents filmmaker who produces a podcast is credited with keeping interest in the story alive. This is up and vanished. The investigation of Tara Grinstead. I'm your host Payne Lindsey. It would be great to, you know, call up her parents and sister and say, hey, I think we have some information that can help solve this. Reporter: This morning Grinstead's family is thankful for answers after all these years. On behalf of Billy and myself, the first thing that I want to do is to thank god for answered prayers. We always believed that it would be solved. We just did not know when. Reporter: The young man in custody was never on the radar of investigators and police have not yet said if they've recovered the woman's body. Amy. All right, Steve, thank you for that. Joining us now legal analyst Nancy grace and documentary filmmaker and amateur investigator Payne Lindsey. Thanks for being with us. Nancy, I know you have followed it for years and know the details intimately. What was it about this case that captured America's attention. I think that there were so many factors that grabbed America's attention. For one thing, I recall distinctly at the time Tara went missing going to ocilla and meeting with her family and going through her home, step by step, I looked around and it looked like a little jewel box. She had it perfectly appointed. It looked like it was out of a magazine. You know where you shot for home furnishings and everything was perfectly in place and it struck me then that her alarm clock had been pushed away from her bed. It was broken on the floor. There were some beads on the floor, a lamp shade was askew. There was a mark on her bedpost. Her car had clay on it. It was unlocked and the seat was pushed back and I knew then, Tara was gone. Wow and, Payne, you're a documentary filmmaker and interested in true crime. You got some early tips from the family's private investigator and don't think this case is over yet. I don't. I want to credit Dr. Maurice goblin a part of this case with me since the very beginning since I started the podcast but, yeah, I think that this is of one piece to a bigger puzzle that we should find out soon about in the coming days and near future. You believe there might be more arrests. What role do you believe your podcast made? A lot believe it solved this murder mystery. I think that the podcast opened up this atmosphere in ocilla that created this trust factor and line of communication and an open channel and I think that has been so long these secrets have been kept and it's just been such a tight-lipped uncomfortable thing to talk about and the podcast maybe helped create an environment for the truth to come out. Nancy, we just heard about this community and the impact this has had. What do you think it means for the community to finally be solved? You know, before this, ocilla and still is a beautiful area, very bucolic, gorgeous woods and meadows, this hung over the community like a dark cloud and now it's blown away and I don't think the case is over. When the spokesperson for the gbi was asked yesterday will there be more arrests, he basically said, wait and see. Somebody knew about this. They walked straight into police headquarters and said, I got a tip for you on Tara Grinstead and then, bam, everything happened very quickly. So it's not over yet. Yeah, and, Payne, tell me why it was so important to you personally to help solve the case? You know, my grandma is from tip ton and I have family in south Georgia and after digging into the case I just became immediately attached to it. I saw how heartbroken this community was and how deeply affected they were, so I'm just so glad there's an answer now and finally some sort of resolution in play so I think in the beginning just seeing the affected sad has been unreal. You see the relief in the families during the press conference, Nancy grace, Payne Lindsey, thanks for joining us. Coming up, how one of

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