Missing Georgia Teacher_212243
(Ryan Duke)

OCILLA, Ga. (AP) — More than 16 years after a popular high school teacher vanished in rural Georgia, a man is about to stand trial for her murder.

Opening statements are scheduled for Monday in the trial of Ryan Duke. He’s charged with murdering Tara Grinstead, a 30-year-old teacher and former beauty queen whose disappearance in October 2005 remained a mystery for more than a decade.

Duke was arrested in 2017, after confessing to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation that he killed Grinstead in her home and burned her body to ash in a pecan orchard.

Duke’s defense attorneys say he made a false confession under the influence of drugs.

Another man, Bo Dukes, was convicted in 2019 for helping burn Grinstead’s body.