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Case #6 - The Murder of Tara Grant

Updated: Jan 17

https://www.podcastdetroit.com/crime-in-the-mitten-episode-6-the-murder-of-tara-grant/

The Murder Of Tara Grant Transcript

Hey true crime lovers, it’s Alia this week and I have a story for you, you won’t believe it happened, but it did. Tara Grant was a thriving mother, wife, and employee. She traveled a lot for work, leaving her husband and au pair to care for their two children, Lindsey and Ian. Tara had an amazing job, working for Washington Group International, she was the breadwinner for her family. Although she worked in the office in Michigan, she ran the company’s office in Puerto Rico. Before Tara was a Grant, she was Tara Destrampe who was born and raised in Perkins Township in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula with her mom, dad, and sister. Tara did well in school and participated in a few extra curricular activities. She attended a community college in her small town and later decided to go come down to the Lower Peninsula to attend Michigan State University in Lansing. In Lansing is where she met her husband, Stephan Grant in 1994. Stephan asked her out, but she wasn’t impressed by him so she turned him down. When Tara’s grandmother passed, she had to return home to the UP to attend the funeral. When she arrived Stephen was at the funeral, the two began dating when they returned home to Lansing.


As a child, Stephen was not the most well behaved child. His parents moved the small family including Stephen and his younger sister to Detroit from Canada, so that his father could work during the booming auto industry. Stephen was in trouble a lot for stealing and doing the daring things his friends were afraid to do. He attended a community college with no major or real direction. He stealing record extended during this time of his life. Stephen eventually attended MSU study education in history. He dropped out four years later to take a job with former state Sen. Jack Faxon. That’s when he and Tara met, he was into her right away, but like I said before, she was just not that into him, until he made that surprise trip to her hometown. Of course it was awkward for him, being around her family, especially because she had a guy that she said was kind of her boyfriend there already. Stephen returned to Lansing and Tara called him to tell him that she was in love with him.


Stephen Grant and Tara Destrampe got married after he proposed in December of 94. They moved closer to Detroit where Tara started the job at Washington Group International. Meanwhile, Stephen had to ask his father for a job at his tool and die shop because he was let go from his other job. In November 2000 they had their baby girl, Lindsey. Life was going well, they were a pretty successful family and was able to move to Washington County was surprised to have baby boy, Ian in 2002. They seemed to have the most perfect life, money, nice house, and a cute little family. No one knew how closed off Tara was from her husband, no one knew anything because Tara shared nothing about her life to anyone. The couple even went on to renew their vows on their tenth year wedding anniversary.


Tara moved up in her career when she was asked to run the company’s Puerto Rico office in 2006. Tara was excited to take the job, but it meant she constantly had to travel. This was hard for Stephen to manage, being the only one at home with two young children. The couple had to hire and au pair to help Stephen manage the household. Verena Dierkes was a 19 year old young lady from Germany and became the Grant’s live in nanny. Tara knew she was slacking off a little in her marriage and tried to make things better, she wanted to exercise, stop yelling, have monthly date nights, and getting better at communicating. While she was trying to better herself, Stephen, not so much. He had started communicating with an old girlfriend of his. They had always been friends, but it became more frequent. He talked to her about how he did want to be married anymore. He told her that he “enjoyed being married, I just think of marriage like speed limits. Sometimes you have to break them, you just need to keep an eye on the road to avoid detection.” While he was doing that, he found that Tara may have been doing the same years prior, to get back at her he started flirting with the au pair. Constantly telling her how he felt about her. Every night that Tara was gone, the two shared a bed, but they both said that their relationship went no further than cuddling and kissing. The Grant’s daughter went into her parent’s room to see the two in bed together, but Verena quickly his under the covers so that she wasn’t seen.


Tara’s normal travel schedule was leave Monday heading to Puerto Rico and head back to Michigan on Friday. After getting back from Puerto Rico, for the last time, February 2007, Tara resented having to tell Stephen she had to leave that following Sunday instead of Monday. She knew he’d be pissed and it would start problems. She was right, that night, as soon as told hm, it struck an argument. Stephen said that Tara packed a bag, got on the phone, and told someone to pick her up in the driveway, and got in a black SUV, never to be seen again. Stephen sent a message to Verena while she was out with friends telling her she owned him a kiss. Then told her to hurry home before Tara so they could kiss. Verena walked in the house hours later to Stephen yelling at her about asking why was she even there, then proceeded to tell her about the argument he had just had with his wife and that she had just walked out on him.


Stephen was so distraught over the argument with his wife, he cried to the au pair and invited her into his bed that night. He constantly called Tara’s phone leaving voicemails, he called her family and friends to see if anyone had spoken to her, which no one had. It wasn’t until February 14th when Stephen reported his wife missing. He told police he wished he hadn’t waited five whole days to report her missing, but he was expecting her to be back. He said he thought she had just gone back to Puerto Rico and would be back. He was open with the police, told them about the argument and even let them in the house, allowed them to check cell phone and bank records. The last calls were from Friday night and the last card transaction was in her work issued credit card to get a ride from the airport on Friday night. The airport said that Tara had not changed her flight to head back to Puerto Rico early, it wasn’t even changed from Monday to Sunday like Stephen had said their argument was about. Investigators even checked with all the car services in the area. No one had picked Tara up in a black Suden, like Stephen claimed. She hadn’t even used a car service in a while, she always drove herself to the airport. Police asked if she would be willing to take a polygraph test, he agreed, but after hiring and talking to his lawyer, he backed out.


Police had no evidence that he did anything, all they had to go by was the fact that he mentioned an argument, maybe the argument was more serious than Stephen made it out to be. All they could do at the time was place him under heavy surveillance. They watched him hard, he stopped participating with police, but was always on the news, pleading Tara to return home to her family. On the news he went from wanting her to come home, to talking about how he was a better mom than Tara was, because she was never home. While under surveillance, police noticed that every morning on Stephen’s way to work he would stop at the gas station and purchase all the major newspapers. To police, it seemed that he was using to the papers to see if they had any new leads on his wife. If he was really worried about his wife and really wanted her back home, it would make so much more sense for him to go to the police or call investigators everyday to check on the progression of the investigation. Why is he buying newspapers?


Police followed up on all leads in the search for Tara Grant. In the investigation, while speaking with police, Stephen mentioned plenty of times about a park near their house. The family spent plenty of time at Stony Creek Park, it’s not just a regular park, but a huge 4,461 acre metropark, extended across both Oakland and counties. It’s open year round with activities for every season. Police thought since he mentioned it so much, it was a great place to search. When Stephen heard about the search at the park, he requested to be there. The search went on the the cool February weather for eight long hours and they found nothing, with no more leads.


Police asked for the community to report everything, if it didn’t look right, report it. A woman called in a reported a finding on February 28th, she was out walking and saw a gallon size plastic bag, with more bags, latex gloves, and blood inside. She noticed the bag bc it was red, which made it stand out in the snow. She safely took the plastic from the woods, to her garage and waited for the police to come check it out. It was discovered that the blood inside the bag was human blood and there were also microscopic metal shavings in the bag. Because the bag was found in the woods so close the Grant home, it gave them a reason to get a search warrant on the Grant home as well as Stephen’s job at his father’s shop. A warrant was served on March 2, 2007. The investigators keeping watch on Stephen stopped him on his way home from work to inform him that his property was being searched.


While the search was going on, he was fidgety and wouldn’t make eye contact with anyone, like he was nervous. The officers had no reason to hold him during the search, so he left. He could not take his car, because it was included in the search warrant. He instead asked a friend on the block if he could borrow his car, he told him he had to leave the home in order for them to search it. The neighbor believed him, and loaned Stephen a bright yellow pick up truck. He left the yellow truck, just him and his dog. He called his sister, she wasn’t home, but he asked could he come get her house keys so that he could drop the dog off at her house while the search was going on. His sister agreed and he dropped the dog off and stole a bottle of Vicodin and left.


Soon after Stephen his own home, the search team made their way to the garage where they found a tote that they had not seen during the first search of the home. When the officer opened the tote it had a plastic bag in it, when he poked at it he said he was soft and had some give to it. When the bag was opened, it was stuffed with a fully dressed human torso and more metal shavings. Tara Grant’s body was found just moments after letting Stephan Grant just walk away with no real idea on where he was really going. The next place to search was the tool and die shop. Although the place was a mess, they noticed was the metal shavings. The main thing they were looking for at that was the rest of Tara’s body, so they went on a more extensive search of Stony Creek Park using dogs this time. The dogs found most of her remains scattered throughout the park and all that was found was taken to the medical examiner’s office. They discovered she had suffered a blow to her jaw and was killed by strangulation. It was noted that she was probably cut up by many different types of blades.


Investigators received a call from Verena, who was moved back to Germany when the case fully broke out. She called to say that she had gotten a phone call from Stephen Grant saying that he was about to kill himself. She admitted everything to the investigator. She told them the night Tara went missing, that night she “left him” they had sex in the married couple’s bed. Stephen admitted to her that he killed Tara that night. Telling her that it was in self defence, that he had to push her, which caused her to fall and hit her head. They now had a confession.


While all of this was going on, Stephen was still missing. The whole time she was missing, he was pleading his wife to return home, meanwhile, he had killed her and cut up her body. Stephen’s sister called and told investigators that her brother had called her and said that he was headed up north to a cabin to hide out. The area code where Stephen had called Verena from was the area code that the cabin was in, so the stories told by both his sister and Verena were matching up.


On March 4, 2007, Stephen Grant was found in a park 280 miles away from home in Emmet County, MI. They found him by tracking the phone call he had last made to his sister. They had helicopters, local, state, and federal police were out looking for him. He tried to kill himself with the pills he had stolen and various alcoholic drinks. There was a blizzard going on at the time, it was hard for him to see while driving, especially while heavily intoxicated. He figured if he got out of the car and went into Wilderness State Park, he would freeze to death after passing out. Before he got out of the car, he wrote a letter to his children. When they found him, he only had on pants, shirt, and socks on, no coat, boots, or anything else that would protect him in a blizzard. He had frostbite and hypothermia and was rushed to Northern Michigan Hospital.


While in police custody, in the hospital, Stephen confessed to the murder of his wife. He told them about the argument and how intense it had gotten. The couple both said very hurtful things, Stephen felt emasculated by what Tara said to him, so he strangled her. He then took her body to his job, his father’s tool and die shop, and dismembered her body, leaving nothing attached to her torso. After that he took her remains to Stony Creek Park and disposed of them there. When he learned about the search that was going to take place at the park, Stephen went to the park and moved her torso and put it in his garage so that he could bury it later on. He was moved from the hospital to the jail in Macomb county.


Stephen was formally charged with one count of homicide, murder in the first-degree, which is a life sentence, and dismemberment of a dead body, which is up to 10 years in Michigan. Then on Friday, December 21, 2007, the jury found him guilty of second-degree murder. Prosecutors had sought a first-degree murder conviction, but the jury could not unanimously agree that Stephen’s ctions were premeditated. The defense was hoping for a sentence of 15 to 25 years, but Macomb County Circuit Judge Diane Druzinski agreed with the prosecution recommendation of a sentence of 50 to 80 years. He also received six to ten additional years for mutilating his wife’s body. Judge Druzinski called his actions "demonic, manipulative, barbaric and dishonest." He is in Bellamy Creek Correctional Facility in Ionia, MI.


Stephen Grant showed almost no emotion during his hearing, he did however look troubled as Alicia Standerfer, Tara Grant's sister, described how the two young Grant children were struggling, knowing their father took away their mother forever. "He's so much of a coward, he doesn't even look me in the eye in the courtroom," Standerfer said.


The murder of Tara Grant was like a domino effect. The Grant children, Lindsey and Ian, were left with no parents, with their mother deceased and father behind bars. The children had to move out of state to stay with their aunt Alicia. Stephen’s father, William Grant, killed himself Friday afternoon with a single gunshot to the head.Grant was transported to the hospital by deputies who got his house after he called 911 at and said he wanted to report a suicide. When asked whose suicide he was reporting, Grant allegedly said it was his own. Deputies said they heard a single gunshot when they arrived at the scene and Grant was inside the garage, still breathing. He died three hours later during treatment at the hospital. Bill Lee, who owns the shop next to USB Babbitt, said Grant never seemed to recover from the blow. "He was really upset about it, especially what happened in his shop. But he never complained. He accepted it, but he didn't go into detail," Lee said. "It was just a sad, sad thing what happened with his son.” Stephen’s sister, is now left without a father and a brother behind bars, for what may be the rest of her life.


Resources

https://www.monstersandcritics.com/true-crime/murder-of-tara-lynn-grant-by-her-husband-stephen-grant-spotlighted-on-betrayed/

https://murderpedia.org/male.G/g/grant-stephen.htm

https://www.macombdaily.com/sports/he-used-me-au-pair-says/article_14275bca-092e-589b-9b99-eb3ba6bbb2d8.html

https://wickedwe.com/stephen-grant/

https://www.macombdaily.com/sports/jury-finds-stephen-grant-guilty-of-nd-degree-murder/article_b88750fc-f7f3-5b67-ab4f-f89615f9def5.html

https://abcnews.go.com/US/LegalCenter/story?id=3039832&page=1

https://www.macombdaily.com/sports/grant-s-dad-commits-suicide/article_4035617f-6ef7-5f5d-98a7-1d8c826cd1f0.html

https://www.freep.com/story/life/family/kristen-jordan-shamus/2014/08/27/tara-grants-sister-speaks-out-7-years-after-notorious-slaying/14712561/

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