Arrest made in cold-case disappearance of beauty queen Tara Grinstead

An arrest has been made in the 11-year-old cold-case disappearance of teacher and beauty queen Tara Grinstead.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation announced at a press conference on Thursday afternoon that Ryan Alexander Duke has been charged with murder.

The teacher was last seen on Oct. 22, 2005, a few weeks shy of her 31st birthday -- and now her family finally has answers about what happened to her.

Though police searched extensively for her once she was reported missing and the case received attention from national news programs, Grinstead was never found.

According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Anita Gattis said in a 2006 interview that her sister would not have left on her own the day she disappeared.

She said she believes her sister left with someone she knew on the night she disappeared. The house was locked, but her car was unlocked with $100 in the console and clay on the tires.

"Tara never left her car unlocked, and never drove on dirt roads," Gattis said.

According to, her phone was left charging in her bedroom, but her keys and purse were missing. Both her cat and her dog were in the house.

Grinstead was well-known in her community. She was crowned Miss Tifton three times, and made it to several Miss Georgia pageants.

Gattis told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that if someone had forced the beauty queen from her home, she would have used her well-trained voice she used in the talent portion of pageants to call for help.

She also mentioned that her sister took self-defense classes and certainly would have fought back if someone had attacked her. There was no evidence of a struggle at Grinstead's home.

Her disappearance is perhaps one of the most high-profile cases in Georgia's history, and it recently gained a large following through the Up and Vanished true crime podcast.

Few details about the arrest or killing were discussed at the press conference on Thursday. Authorities only mentioned that Duke was a student at Irwin County High School three years before Grinstead went missing.

"The search efforts never ceased," said J.T. Ricketson, special agent in charge of the GBI office.

Read more about cold cases:

Notable cold cases and unsolved murders throughout history
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Notable cold cases and unsolved murders throughout history

In June 1893 Lizzie Borden stood trial, later acquitted, for killing her father and stepmother with an ax.

(Photo via Bettmann/Getty Images)

Foreboding Kingsbury Run, shunned by the timid as the legend of its murders has grown, is indicated on this map by dots locating 10 of the 11 torso murders which have occurred there since Sept. 23, 1935. Police, delving into the lives of the mad murderer's victims, hope to uncover clues which will end the periodic killings. Discovery of photo negatives in the belongings of Edward Andra Ssy, first victim, show Andra Ssy in a strange room which, if identified, may provide a live lead, police believe. As the map shows, the murderer departed only twice from his custom of assailing victims in Kingsbury Run or adjacent Cuyahoga river valley.

(Bettmann via Getty Images)

Bucks Row, now Durward Street, east London, where the body of Mary Ann Nichols, victim of Jack the Ripper, was found lying across the gutter.

(Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Head shot of aspiring actress Elizabeth Short, a murder victim nicknamed the Black Dahlia. 

(Photo via Bettmann/Getty Images)

Daily News front page dated June, 16, 1990, Headline: IS HE THE ZODIAC?, Police sketch of man who approached latest victim in Central Park last Thursday and asked him his birth date., June 26, 1990 . , Zodiac Killer. , Heriberto Seda. Headlines. IS HE THE ZODIAC ?

(Photo by NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)

U.S. labor leader Jimmy Hoffa is photographed at the Greater Pittsburgh Airport, Pennsylvania in this April 12, 1971 file photograph. Hoffa was switching planes from San Francisco, and was returning to the federal prison in Allenwood, Pennsylvania. Hoffa was let out of prison to visit his wife, who had been hospitalized with heart problems. FBI teams on May 25, 2006 sifted by hand through dirt from a chest-deep hole in the ground in an intense search for the body of Jimmy Hoffa three decades after his disappearance. Hoffa was last seen outside a Detroit-area restaurant where he was to meet New Jersey Teamsters' boss Anthony "Tony Pro" Provenzano, a member of the Genovese crime family, and a local Mafia captain, Anthony "Tony Jack" Giacalone. Hoffa was declared dead in 1982, and numerous books about his life have pinned his disappearance on mobsters who murdered him because they did not want him interfering with their close ties to the union.

(REUTERS/Jerry Siskind)

 The site where 6 year old JonBenet Ramsey was killed in Boulder, Colorado, 1996.

(Photo by Karl Gehring/Liaison)

Black car in which rapper Tupac Shakur was fatally shot by unknown driveby assassins as he was riding w. friend Death Row records. pres. Marion Suge Knight, who survived shooting, behind police tape at crime scene (Photo by Malcolm Payne/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)
Los Angeles Police detectives released this composite drawing March 27 of the man they believe killed rap star Notorious B.I.G. in Los Angeles recently. The suspect, a black man in his early 20's with close-cropped hair, was wearing a bow-tie the night of the drive-by killing. Investigators have set up a toll free number for the public to call with any information about the suspect. NOTORIOUS BIG
Donna Norris poses next to a photo of her daughter Amber Hagerman, January 4, 2011, who was kidnapped 15 years ago while riding a bicycle near Norris mother's home in Arlington, Texas on January 13, 1996. (Richard W. Rodriguez/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT via Getty Images)

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