How the Up and Vanished podcast cracked a 2005 cold case

Just the sheer mystery behind this case is what intrigued me initially. He said he’d talk to Tara’s family about the podcast and was kind of like a line of communication for us. Did you ever speak with Tara’s family? LINDSEY:   It feels amazing, really. I approached it from a storytelling standpoint. Also, it’s the story of the healing process. Was there a way to have solved this 10 or 12 years ago? We can’t count on the police or anybody else to just tell us that. Once the dust settles a little bit, I plan on connecting with them. Are the roles switched? How did you know where to even start? That’s kind of how they found out about me. I was always very sensitive about that and I didn’t want to come in early on. In search of a more difficult next project, the documentarian sought to tackle the true-crime genre, crediting the success of Making a Murderer and The Jinx as inspirations. Duke’s former classmate, Bo Dukes, now 32, was also arrested and charged with concealing a death, hindering apprehension or punishment of a criminal, and tampering with evidence. Few have matched its meteoric rise, and even fewer   have accomplished what Koening was never able to do: solve a murder mystery. Besides physical proximity, what attracted you to this case? Maurice Godwin, the private investigator hired by Grinstead’s family who   had been working on the case for over 10 years, reached out after Lindsey inquired about the case in a WebSleuths.com forum. How does anybody who’s been labeled a person of interest in this case feel? And just six months after the show launched, all of Lindsey’s hard work paid off. 22, 2017. No. But true crime was foreign territory. That was my motto throughout the whole thing. It was really helpful to have the investigator who worked this case personally. Not that I didn’t have confidence in myself, I just didn’t view myself as a podcaster. The easy way to put it right now is we’re going to continue to tell the story until we feel like we’ve told it. Statistically, that doesn’t happen. Duke, now 33, attended the high school where Grinstead worked but graduated three years prior to her disappearance and was arrested in February after police received an anonymous tip. I never really viewed myself as a journalist, per se, but technically I am. I felt like there was a lot of room for answers. Did I think I could do it? But what I tried to use to my advantage was my people skills. That is until Payne Lindsey came along. We’re working on that behind the scenes now and can announce it in the near future. I thought if I was persistent enough, went in there and put the blinders on, and wasn’t scared to do something, then maybe I could make a difference. But before that, I still plan on doing a visual TV or film version of this story, which would be sort of a recap of the podcast and a lot of stuff that I didn’t put out on the podcast. I almost didn’t do the podcast because I didn’t think I could do it. And if there was, let’s not cover that up. In February, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) announced an arrest in the case and credited the media for playing a “significant role” in the investigation. It’s not impossible to solve an unsolved case or make a difference as a journalist. I would love to have them on the podcast – only if it’s something they’d want to do. Outside   Tara Grinstead’s home in Ocilla, Ga.Elliott Minor/AP
In the first episode, you said you found the case when you were digging around for an idea for a documentary. As a documentarian, you obviously know how to tell a good story. And so really this whole time, as far as the professional side of things, that was always a learning curve. Let’s let that out there, let’s let the truth out. Are they more involved, less involved? With Wednesday’s indictment marking the end of the 11-year cold case, Lindsey is about to wrap up his work on Up and Vanished. How were you able to work around the Georgia Open Records Act? Show Full Article Did somebody know about this beforehand? It was different. Lindsey hosts Up and Vanished, an investigative podcast about the missing case of Tara Grinstead, a 30-year-old beauty queen and high school teacher who disappeared from her Ocilla, Georgia, home in October 2005. He was indicted on six charges, including   burglary, aggravated assault, malice murder, felony murder, and concealing a death. I could ask him off-the-cuff questions and not sound like I was stupid. Ever since Sarah Koening ended her last recorded phone call with Adnan Syed two years ago, a flurry of podcasts have attempted to replicate the appeal and success of Serial. What I do is not that so why am I trying to be that? Ryan Duke (left) was arrested Feb. Hopefully, it can inspire the right people to do something similar in the future and have a positive impact like this [podcast] has. 2 on the iTunes charts. I really didn’t know anything. It’s sort of like the refs hit the reset button [when the arrests were made] but I quickly found out that there’s a lot more to this story and it may not ever come out unless someone like me chooses to try to tell it. Are you still going to do one? So we’ll probably go after episode 18 for a little bit. That’s a tough question. Elliott Minor/AP
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY:   How does it feel knowing your work contributed to the break in the case? So there’s still a lot left to tell in the story. We’re pitching it as a television docuseries right now, where it’s in episode form and it’s just basically a longform documentary of Tara’s disappearance. They supported the podcast 100 percent but they said they didn’t want to be a part of it because it’s been too painful. Eventually, I’ll do a season 2 of Up and Vanished on a cold case of another missing person. What are their stories? Really the biggest points are: What really happened here? Prior to the release of Up and Vanished last fall, Lindsey’s résumé listed only a handful of short films and music videos. The circumstances under which she disappeared were baffling to me and the fact that nobody had seemed to be any closer to the answers 10, 11 years later just blew my mind. You’ve talked to a number of people for this podcast. Bo Dukes (right) was taken into custody March 3.Georgia Bureau of Investigation via AP; Ben Hill County Sheriff's Office/WMAZ via AP
You haven’t been able to access any of the official criminal investigation files because the state still considered this case an open investigation (before the arrests were made). I think they want to but without me or you and anybody else we run the risk of never knowing the whole story and never being able to completely heal and move on. It was there that   he found Grinstead’s case and was immediately hooked. I wanted to paint this whole narrative of this bizarre unsolved mystery. It kind of gives me hope, it’s kind of inspiring to even myself that people can still make a difference. It felt like I was trying to be somebody I wasn’t. I didn’t know any more than anybody else did. That ended up being a really refreshing approach to people because I wasn’t coming at it like, “This document says this.” What I made sure I did do was use my moral compass the whole time with what I deemed appropriate and respectful and responsible. Each week, listeners follow Lindsey as he scours   through documents, retraces police steps, and earns the trust of locals in the small town of 3,414 people. I can find the answer to that!” It almost gets you pumped up, like, well let me take a stab at it. What’s left to tell? You have these professionals and that’s their thing. What’s their real story? Are the charges that are laid against them the right charges? One day, I pulled the trigger and said you know what, I’m just going to do it. One week later, a second arrest was made. At what point do you stop and move on to another case? How does [Tara’s ex-boyfriend] Marcus Harper feel? But I wanted to learn how. With Lindsey acting as Godwin’s fresh set of eyes on the investigation, the two sought out to solve one of the largest case files in Georgia history. What were their roles? Tenderfoot
On Wednesday, a grand jury indicted Ryan Duke, on murder charges. We have some truth but we don’t have the whole truth. Until then, the Atlanta-based filmmaker talks to EW about the podcast’s success, the future of Up and Vanished, and why he almost never did the show to begin with. My passion was always in telling other people’s stories in a way that they’ve never been told. Kind of ending the story the right way, and all the conclusions, and the healing of the town, and all the other truths that I feel still needs to come out. As a result, the podcast has gained a strong following, garnering 33 million downloads to date and reaching as high as No. We’re not going to drag it out unnecessarily but at the same time we don’t want to end it abruptly without telling what we think is the whole story. How do they explain some of the things that made them look guilty or cause suspicion over the years? To start, Payne searched through the GBI’s cold case files online. It’s this whole other chapter to this, the aftermath. Dukes is currently out on bail. Who is Ryan Duke, who is Bo Dukes? Early on I talked to the police chief in Ocilla and he’s still really close to Tara’s family. Before we took a break at episode 12, I said that we were going to do 18 episodes and it was during that break that the arrests happened. Now, I was aggressive about it a lot of times because at a certain point if I’m going to put this much time and effort into this I want to solve it. I did not have any sort of advantage when it came to figuring some of this stuff out. I assumed that the police and the GBI did their job but having a fresh look at it, just learning about this case for the first time, I was like, “There’s no way they don’t know the answers to some of this stuff. I didn’t want to come in and say, “Hey I’m some new podcaster guy and I’m making a story on your daughter’s disappearance.”   I didn’t want to come across like an opportunist or something. What I knew how to do was try to get people to talk to me like a person. … I’ve never talked to them directly. His first stroke of luck arrived when Dr. They haven’t told us anything for 12 years and now there’s a gag order so clearly it’s not something that they’re trying to do at this point in time. At first, I almost felt like I needed to gain their respect and put together a respectable product that people connected to and could see what’s different and refreshing and find new information and gain the trust and respect from people in the community.