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Podcast ‘Up and Vanished’ Might Have Helped Solve 12-Year Old Murder Case

Technology By
FILE - In this Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2006, file photo, missing teacher Tara Grinstead is displayed on a billboard in Ocilla, Ga. News organizations are challenging a judge's gag order in a case involving the slaying of Grinstead. (AP Photo/Elliott Minor, File)
Missing teacher Tara Grinstead is displayed on a billboard in Ocilla, Ga. in 2006 (AP Photo/Elliott Minor, File)

Technology can be used to solve all kinds of problems—even murder.

A podcast called Up and Vanished, started by documentary filmmaker Payne Lindsey, follows the cold case of Tara Grinstead, a teacher and former beauty queen from Ocilla, Georgia, who disappeared without a trace in 2005. Five years later, without a body or any further evidence of her whereabouts, a probation judge ruled Grinstead legally dead.

Then last year, Lindsey, who had been working in film in the Atlanta area, decided he wanted to try his hand at crime narratives. Faced with little to no budget but a big desire to tell stories, Lindsey hit upon a podcast discussing the events of the case, the largest case file in the state’s history.

“The general idea was to take my storytelling and people skills and apply them to a cold case and try and do something good with it,” Lindsey told Rolling Stone. 

As the podcast became increasingly popular chatter around the long-dormant case also began to build. People would call in and offer comments or tips.

Then six months after the first episode aired, an arrest was made in the case.

As the case gains national attention, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation has been tight-lipped about the details of the arrest—in large part because of a gag order placed in March. But many, including Lindsey, are optimistic that the case will finally be solved.

“When I came into the picture it hadn’t been in the news in two years at all,” Lindsey said. “The story is far from over but for the first time in 12 years we have some answers.”