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Georgia man admits helping burn the body of the teacher, the former beauty queen to “it seemed like ash’

Bo Dukes stands trial on charges that he helped to hide the death of Tara Grinstead, a high school teacher who disappeared more than 13 years ago. (Ben Hill County Sheriff’s Office/WMAZ via AP, File)

A Georgia man charged in the disappearance of the high school history teacher and beauty queen Tara Grinstead for more than a decade ago, known on the video that he helped burn her body until “it seemed like it was all ash,” prosecutors said.

On the third day of his trial in Wilcox County, Bo Dukes was seen in 2017 on video-recorded confession to tell of a Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) agent that he helped his friend with a similar name Ryan Duke, throw Grinstead the body.

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The Georgia teacher disappeared from her home in Ocilla, three hours southeast of Atlanta, in October 2005. A break in the case came more than a decade later, in February 2017, when Duke was charged with Grinstead the murder. The researchers also pinned Dukes as an accomplice, charging him with the hide of her death, the impede of the defendant to arrest and lying to the police.

In this Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2006 file photo, missing teacher Tara Grinstead was displayed on a billboard in Ocilla, Ga. (AP Photo/Elliott Minor, File)

Jurors saw 2017 confession in that Dukes told the GBI agent that his friend told him the morning after the crime, that he had killed a woman and then used Dukes’ pick-up truck to move the body.

He said the pair went to the place where the Duke hid the body in the tall grass on a pecan orchard, the property of the Dukes’ uncle.

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Dukes said the friend told him that he used a credit card to get access to Grinstead’s home where she was in bed asleep. Dukes told the researcher that his friend is familiar with the strangle of her “right.”

Dukes said he never knew why Duke allegedly killed the one-time beauty queen, but investigators said he apparently broke in to steal money for drugs.

Ryan Duke, shown in February 2017, is one of the suspects in the disappearance and murder of Tara Grinstead.
(Georgia Bureau of Investigation)

Prosecutors have said the Duke confesses to killing Grinstead. The murder trial is set to begin on 1 April. In a recent court filing, Duke’s defense attorneys, said he made a false confession under the influence of drugs and was actually at home asleep the night Grinstead was killed.

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Dukes previously refused to help get rid of the body in a 2016 interview with the GBI where he told the agents that he did not tell John McCullough, a friend who he met during Army basic training, that he burned the body. McCullough testified that Dukes indeed did confess.

Dukes was asked in 2017 interview with GBI agents why he lied when he said that he did not “remember the call”, because he “probably drink a lot that night.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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