breaking news

Indicted Snellville mayor suspending himself from office

AJC Watchdog: Tara Grinstead podcast challenges secrecy in criminal investigations


An Atlanta-based podcaster who spent months digging into the 2005 disappearance of Ocilla school teacher Tara Grinstead is asking why state law kept the official investigation secret.

Payne Lindsey, whose “Up and Vanished” podcast quickly became one of the nation’s most popular downloads after he started it last August, said he tried to get the official file into Grinstead’s disappearance from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, but he had no luck. State open records law allows police to withhold files in pending investigations.

“My reasoning was how can you claim this is an open investigation?” he said.

Grinstead went missing nearly 12 years ago and when he started the podcast there seemed to be little prospect the case would be solved. Nancy Grace, a former prosecutor and talk show host, agrees with Lindsey that cold case files should be open when she appeared as a guest on his podcast.

“I think that we have closed investigative files for a reason,” Grace said. “However, once a case goes cold and police aren’t getting answers I really don’t see why the entire case file is kept secret.”

Last month, the GBI announced they had arrested a suspect based on a fresh tip. A second arrest of an alleged accomplice came shortly thereafter. Neither man had been among those formerly considered suspects.

For more on how “Up and Vanished” is challenging Georgia’s secret criminal files, read this week’s AJC Watchdog column here.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Man shot 5 times by cop pleads not guilty to charges
Man shot 5 times by cop pleads not guilty to charges

A man who was shot five times by a Fulton County police officer outside an apartment complex has pleaded not guilty to charges in connection with an altercation that occurred before the shooting, his lawyer said in a statement.  Jeantique Oriol faces battery, attempted robbery and obstruction charges stemming from an April 6 incident. Police say...
Clemency denied for Georgia man sentenced to die
Clemency denied for Georgia man sentenced to die

As the state Board of Pardons and Paroles turned down Keith Tharpe’s plea for mercy Monday, his lawyers continued to push in the courts to stop the 50-year-old’s execution Tuesday evening, arguing one of the jurors who convicted him was a racist. Tharpe is scheduled to die Tuesday night by lethal injection unless the courts intervene. His...
Fulton prosecutor wants judge to hold sheriff in contempt of court
Fulton prosecutor wants judge to hold sheriff in contempt of court

Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard on Monday asked a judge to find Sheriff Ted Jackson in contempt of court for not restoring his access to a system that allows prosecutors to monitor inmate phone calls and in-person meetings. The court filing is the latest salvo in a months-long dispute between the county’s top law enforcement officers...
Duluth restaurant robbed when gunman walks in back door
Duluth restaurant robbed when gunman walks in back door

A Gwinnett County restaurant was robbed when a gunman walked in the back door during the dinner rush, police said. Teriyaki Extreme, a family-run business located at 3455 Peachtree Industrial Boulevard in Duluth, was robbed just after 7 p.m. Saturday, according to a police report.  Zong Wen told police he left the door open after taking out the...
Registration is open for an annual metro Atlanta bike challenge  
Registration is open for an annual metro Atlanta bike challenge  

A yearly bike contest that allows metro Atlanta cyclists to compete for prizes is back. The fifth Atlanta Bike Challenge, or Biketober, runs from Oct. 1 to 31. Participants who log online every mile ridden during the month earn points for the chance to win prizes. Bike riders may sign up individually or create teams of up to eight people. Teams...
More Stories