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Porchlight International for the Missing & Unidentified > Missing Persons Cases 2006 > Duckett, Trenton 08/27/06 2 years old

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Title: Duckett, Trenton 08/27/06 2 years old
Description: Leesburg, Fl


monkalup - September 6, 2006 03:01 PM (GMT)
http://www.dailycommercial.com/main.asp?Se...ArticleID=17612

Fliers generating leads
Police checking out numerous tips in search for missing toddler

Marilyn Aciego
Staff Writer

LEESBURG - After more than a week of canvassing neighbors, searching fields and rolling roadblocks, there is still no sign of Leesburg toddler Trenton Duckett.

Police set up a rolling roadblock distributing fliers on Griffin Road near Trenton's home at Windemere Villas Sunday night during the same time frame that Trenton disappeared Aug. 27. Fliers are also available at Leesburg Police Department for citizens to pick up and distribute.

"We are really getting the fliers out there," said Leesburg Police Capt. Ginny Padgett.

Padgett said the fliers have been generating leads.


"We are really encouraged by the leads we have been getting," she said.

Police spent last week searching areas all over Lake and Sumter counties and all the areas searched are "possibly linked" to Trenton, said Leesburg Capt. Steve Rockefeller. He said some of the areas searched were linked to Trenton by tips police received.

Police still aren't ruling anyone out as a suspect and said they could not comment if both parents are cooperating with the investigation.

"We are still looking at all directions, all facets of the investigation," Padgett said.

Melinda Duckett told police she put her son Trenton, 2, to bed at 7 p.m. Aug. 27, and, after watching a movie with two friends, discovered the boy was missing from the apartment around 9 p.m. She initially thought Trenton might be hiding somewhere in the apartment, but soon realized he was gone.

The Amber Alert for Trenton is still in effect. Police describe Trenton as Asian-Caucasian, between 30 and 36 inches tall, weighing 30 to 40 pounds and having brown hair and brown eyes. He was last seen wearing blue denim shorts, no shirt and no shoes.

Crimeline is offering a reward of up to $5,000 in Trenton's case. Callers to Crimeline will remain anonymous. Anyone with information on Trenton's whereabouts is asked to call 800-CALL-FBI (225-5324) or Crimeline at 800-423-TIPS (8477).

monkalup - September 6, 2006 03:20 PM (GMT)
http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/...-home-headlines

Grandfather, on death row, waits for news

Christine Dellert | Sentinel Staff Writer
Posted August 31, 2006


RELATED STORIES
Boy's mom pleads for tips
Aug 30, 2006
Police still hunt for missing boy
Aug 29, 2006
PHOTOS

The search for Trenton (STEPHEN M. DOWELL, ORLANDO SENTINEL)
Aug 30, 2006

Trenton Duckett, 2, of Leesburg
Aug 28, 2006




LEESBURG -- From his cell on death row, James Duckett waits for word on his missing 2-year-old grandson and relies on a prison chaplain to keep him informed.

The toddler disappeared Sunday night from his Leesburg bedroom, where investigators found a ripped window screen above his bed.

But authorities said Wednesday that they still hadn't come closer to finding Trenton Duckett and continued to ask for help from anyone who might know his whereabouts.

"Jimmy's got to be standing on his head," said Don Jordan, James Duckett's older brother.

"We're trying to give Jimmy something to hang on to," Jordan said. "The chaplain called and asked us to call as soon as we know something, but we don't know anything."

James Duckett, 48, already was in a North Florida prison when Trenton was born. But family members said he followed the boy's life through photographs and visits with his son -- Trenton's father -- Joshua Duckett.

A former Mascotte police officer, James Duckett was convicted in 1988 of raping, strangling and drowning an 11-year-old girl. The Florida Supreme Court upheld the conviction in October.

Jordan, who lives in Plant City, said Wednesday that he hoped Trenton's family past wouldn't hinder the investigation.

"That doesn't change anything for us," Leesburg Capt. Steve Rockefeller told the Orlando Sentinel this week, referring to James Duckett. "We are still looking at all possibilities."

Police are working with state and federal agents from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the FBI.

On Wednesday, law-enforcement officers were questioning neighbors in the Windemere Villas apartment complex where Trenton lives and interviewing nearby registered sex offenders.

Andrew Vita, a member of Team Adam, a unit of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, said his organization was helping to circulate fliers and talking with Trenton's relatives and parents, Joshua and Melinda Duckett, both 21.

"It's a very intense investigative effort," Vita said. "They [officers] are working all night long. Some people have been here for several days."

Trenton was described as a friendly and well-behaved child. He likes Chicken McNuggets and chasing ducks at the pond, according to his mother. And he recently started pronouncing his first words: car and ball.

Vita said he interviewed Joshua Duckett earlier this week but could not talk about the investigation.

Joshua Duckett also declined comment Wednesday. "He's [Joshua] not his same old self," Jordan said. "He's very subdued."

Jordan said Joshua and Melinda Duckett began dating in high school. They married in July 2005, one month before Trenton's first birthday.

In June, Melinda Duckett filed for divorce. Last month she was granted a temporary restraining order against Joshua Duckett and custody of Trenton, records show.

Jordan said now is not the time to point fingers or speculate based on the past.

"I just pray that little Trenton will come home safe," he said.

Anyone with information should call detectives Jim Dunagan or Richard Giles of the Leesburg department at 352-787-2121.

Anyone providing information leading to the apprehension and conviction of a person or people responsible in the abduction is eligible for a reward through Central Florida Crimeline.

Christine Dellert can be reached at cdellert@orlandosentinel.com or 352-742-5917.



monkalup - September 6, 2006 03:23 PM (GMT)
http://www.fbi.gov/wanted/kidnap/duckett_tj.htm

August 27, 2006
Leesburg, Florida

Trenton John Duckett



DESCRIPTION
Date of Birth: August 10, 2004 Place of Birth: Leesburg, Florida
Sex: Male Hair: Brown
Height: 3'0" Eyes: Brown
Weight: 35 to 40 pounds Race: Bi-racial (Asian/White)

THE DETAILS
Trenton John Duckett reportedly has been missing from his home in Leesburg, Florida, since August 27, 2006.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Individuals with information concerning this case should take no action themselves, but instead immediately contact the nearest FBI Office or local law enforcement agency. For any possible sighting outside the United States, contact the nearest United States Embassy or Consulate.

| Jacksonville Field Office | Kidnapping and


monkalup - September 6, 2006 03:24 PM (GMT)
another pic

monkalup - September 6, 2006 03:28 PM (GMT)
http://www.dailycommercial.com/main.asp?Se...ArticleID=17606

9/4/2006 12:43:00 AM Email this article • Print this article

JOSHUA DAVIDOVICH Daily Commercial Staff Missing toddler Trenton Duckett’s father, Joshua Duckett, center, stands among friends and family wearing “Team Trenton” shirts at the Leesburg Police Department on Sunday. Trenton’s mother, Melinda Duckett, reported the boy missing Aug. 27.

After a week, no sign of boy
Despite speculation of family involvement in abduction, police closing no doors
LEESBURG - A week into the investigation of missing 2-year-old boy Trenton Duckett, police have yet to rule out any suspects and continue to operate a "multidirectional investigation."

Police spokesman Capt. Steve Rockefeller said the department is still investigating leads as they come in. Officers recently canvassed an industrial area in Lady Lake, though Rockefeller called it a routine investigation.

Trenton's father, Joshua Duckett, and his side of the family appeared in front of the police station wearing "Team Trenton" shirts Sunday, though they remained mum on details of the family's situation.

"Right now we're just concerned about bringing Trenton home," relative Diane Nesvacil said.








Trenton's mother, Melinda Duckett, told police she put Trenton to bed at 7 p.m. Aug. 27, and, after watching a movie with two friends, discovered the boy was missing from the apartment around 9 p.m. She said she initially thought Trenton might be hiding somewhere in the apartment, but soon realized he was gone.

A cut window screen in the boy's bedroom has led police to believe foul play was involved.

Rockefeller admitted the relationship between Trenton's parents was rocky - Melinda filed for divorce on June 14 and filed for an injunction against Joshua, though that case was continued Aug. 4 - but said the family did not want that aspect to overshadow the investigation.

"We aren't hiding the fact there was bad blood," he said. "We are looking for the safe return of Trenton."

There has been speculation among friends and neighbors of Melinda's that Trenton may have been taken by a family member, but police are not ruling out any possibilities.

"We haven't closed any doors," Rockefeller said.

The Team Trenton T-shirts were donated by a local business, and along with fliers distributed by the police department, are helping to get the boy's face in the public in the hopes he will be spotted. A misprint on the shirts, though, gives the wrong phone number to call for tips. People are asked to call 787-2121, not 787-1212, if they have any information on the whereabouts of Trenton.

The Amber Alert for Trenton is still in effect. Police describe Trenton as Asian-Caucasian, between 30 and 36 inches tall, weighing 30 to 40 pounds and having brown hair and brown eyes. He was last seen wearing blue denim shorts, no shirt and no shoes.

Crimeline is offering a reward of up to $5,000 in Trenton's case. Callers to Crimeline will remain anonymous. Anyone with information on Trenton's whereabouts is asked to call 800-CALL-FBI (225-5324) or Crimeline at 800-423-TIPS (8477).

Staff writer Marilyn M. Aciego contriuted information to this story.



monkalup - September 6, 2006 03:30 PM (GMT)
http://www.wesh.com/news/9784939/detail.html

Police Seek More Help In Duckett Disappearance

POSTED: 6:58 am EDT September 4, 2006
UPDATED: 7:25 am EDT September 4, 2006

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ORLANDO, Fla. -- It's now been one week since Trenton Duckett, 2, vanished from his Leesburg apartment, and family members are desperate.

Trenton was last seen in his bedroom, and investigators are kicking the search into high gear after the public offered very little help, WESH 2 News reported.

Police in Leesburg manned a roadblock late Sunday in front of the apartment complex from which Trenton disappeared. They timed the roadblock to occur about the same time Trenton disappeared from the Windermere Villas apartment where his mother lives. Police stopped everyone who drove by, giving them a flyer and asking them if they saw or heard anything.


Meanwhile at a police news conference, relatives of Trenton's father wore T-shirts with the little boy's picture. They stressed that they want the focus to be on getting Trenton home -- not the estrangement between the boy's parents.

"Right now, we're just concerned about bringing Trenton home," said Diane Nescavil, a relative.

"Obviously we do have a separation in this case between the father and the mother. That's the case in many households, and right now, what the family wants to do is focus on the safe return of Trenton," Leesburg Police Department Capt. Steve Rockefeller said.

Trenton's father, Joshua Duckett, 21, did not speak, but he could be seen in the police station lobby burying his head in his hands. As for Trenton's mother, Melinda Duckett, she said over the phone that she's doing fine and chooses to spend her time not at the police station but handing out flyers.

Police in Leesburg plan to do more canvassing as part of their search for Trenton on Monday. Anyone with information about Trenton's disappearance should call 800-CALL-FBI.

monkalup - September 6, 2006 03:32 PM (GMT)
http://www.wesh.com/news/9774611/detail.html

Investigators Desperate For Leads In Toddler's Disappearance

POSTED: 8:17 am EDT September 1, 2006
UPDATED: 4:01 pm EDT September 2, 2006

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ORLANDO, Fla. -- It's been nearly five full days, and there's still no sign of a missing toddler from Leesburg.

Investigators said they're desperate for leads in the disappearance of Trenton Duckett, 2, WESH 2 News reported.

Officials said they'll work around the clock until they bring Trenton home. Investigators want to do a second round of interviews with family members, neighbors, and even registered sex offenders, who live near the apartment complex where Trenton disappeared.


A team of law enforcement officials from four agencies, including the FBI, canvassed the Windermere Villas Apartments Thursday night for the third time this week. They're hoping to dig up some tips.

On Friday, officers from the various agencies working this case searched an area near Lady Lake, along Rolling Acres Road and Oak. This was done because of a tip to the FBI tip line that the family was known to visit this area.

To date, investigators have canvassed over 200 residential units in the area utilizing Leesburg officers as well as F.D.L.E.'s specially trained C.A.R.T. (Child Abduction Response Team) personnel.

On Friday, officers were again canvassing an area, as well as searching on the ground in a Lake County area with the assistance of volunteer Search and Rescue dogs. This area is possibly associated with Trenton, but it does not represent a major break in the case. Amber alert signs are posted on the sides of roads in and around Leesburg. Trenton has been missing since Sunday.

His mother, Melinda Duckett, 21, said he was taken from his bed. She claimed she discovered him missing about two hours after she put him down.

"The very first thing that ran through my mind was he woke up and he was just hiding or playing or something," Melinda Duckett said. "I looked in his room. I panicked after that. I completely turned the house upside down."

Officials with the FBI said they repeatedly tried to make contact with Melinda Duckett at her apartment Thursday night but had no luck. She is in the middle of a contentious divorce from Trenton's father, Joshua Duckett. Melinda Duckett got a temporary restraining order against Joshua last month, and she was also awarded custody of Trenton.

WESH is asking the community to remain vigilant in their search for Trenton to assist in bringing him home safely.

Police and the FBI are asking anyone who may have any information about Trenton's disappearance to contact them.

To comment on this story, send an e-mail to Amanda Ober.

monkalup - September 6, 2006 03:39 PM (GMT)
http://www.wesh.com/news/9772694/detail.html

Police Issue New Plea In Search For Toddler

POSTED: 7:13 pm EDT August 31, 2006
UPDATED: 7:28 pm EDT August 31, 2006

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LEESBURG, Fla. -- Two-year-old Trenton Duckett has not been seen since Sunday night when he disappeared from his home in Leesburg.

Police said they need information from a new group of people around Leesburg, WESH 2 News reported.

The Amber Alert signs dot roads in and around Leesburg. Trenton's mother put him to bed around 7 p.m. Sunday, and when she checked on him two hours later, he was gone.


"The very first thing that ran through my mind was he woke up and he was just hiding or playing or something," Melinda Duckett said. "I looked in his room. I panicked after that. I completely turned the house upside down."

Police put out a new plea for information on Thursday. They want anyone who visited or drove by the Windermere Villas on Griffin Road on Sunday to call 800-CALL-FBI.

"I want to stress that we'd like to hear from anyone who was in the area of Windermere Apartments on Aug. 27, this past Sunday, between 5 p.m. and 10 p.m.," said Capt. Ginny Padgett of the Leesburg Police Department.

The National Missing and Exploited Children's Center printed fliers for any group to pick up and pass out. Police said the group's help in the search for Trenton is invaluable.

"We've brought things in like software to organized investigative leads that the police department doesn't have," said Adam Vita of the Missing Child Rapid Response Team.

Police said they need more leads.

The FBI and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement are also assisting in the search for Trenton.


To comment on this story, send an e-mail to Kathy Marsh.

monkalup - September 6, 2006 03:41 PM (GMT)
http://www.wesh.com/news/9759337/detail.html

Mother Of Missing Leesburg Toddler Begs For Help

POSTED: 10:09 pm EDT August 29, 2006
UPDATED: 10:20 pm EDT August 29, 2006

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LEESBURG, Fla. -- The mother of a missing 2-year-old made a desperate plea for help on Tuesday.

She said she put Trenton Duckett to bed on Sunday night, and that's the last she saw of him, WESH 2 News reported.

Melinda Duckett held one of Trenton's stuffed toys as she remembered Sunday night. She said at 7 p.m., Trenton was asleep in his bed. When she checked back at 9 p.m., he was gone.


"The very first thing that went through my mind was that he woke up and he was just hiding or playing or something. I looked in his room. I panicked after that. I completely turned the house upside down," Duckett said.

Leesburg police are turning the city upside looking for the toddler. Despite the searches and despite the flashing signs, there's been no sign of Trenton.

In a Tuesday afternoon news conference, police reached out. They said they want people to think about if there was an unfamiliar car near the boy's apartment.

Police said they believe people with important information are holding back. They also said they believe Trenton could be in danger.

"We are asking for the public's help in any way we can get it," said Capt. Ginny Padget of the Leesburg Police Department. "We need to find the child and return the child safely back to his family."

Investigators have interviewed family members and sex offenders who live in the area.

The boy's mother said she has a restraining order against the boy's father.

Police officers said everyone is a suspect.

"I want him back, obviously, and as soon as possible. There's nothing else that we want out of this," Duckett said.

Anyone with information is asked to call 800-CALL-FBI (225-5324).

Officials said Trenton weighs between 30 and 40 pounds and has short brown hair and brown eyes. He disappeared from his family's apartment on Griffin Road near U.S. Highway 27.
Copyright 2006 by WESH.COM. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.




monkalup - September 6, 2006 03:43 PM (GMT)
http://www.wesh.com/news/9745788/detail.html

Amber Alert Issued For Lake County Toddler

POSTED: 6:20 am EDT August 28, 2006
UPDATED: 7:40 pm EDT August 28, 2006

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LEESBURG, Fla. -- An Amber Alert was issued on Monday for a missing 2-year-old Lake County boy.

Trenton Duckett's parents said they last saw him in his bedroom at 7 p.m. on Sunday and noticed he was gone at 9 p.m., WESH 2 News reported.

Trenton was wearing denim shorts, and a blue and green striped shirt. The family lives in the Windermere Apartments on Griffin Road in Leesburg.


Investigators said they're very concerned, and the FBI has been called in to help search for the boy.

Detectives said they think Trenton was taken through his bedroom window. Investigators said they also found signs of forced entry into the apartment.

"When we were checking out the area, it was discovered that at least one entry point of the apartment has some signs of tampering. I can't really go into too many details about that, but that did lead us to be extremely cautious regarding foul play or something of that nature in this case," Leesburg Police Department Capt. Steve Rockefeller said.

Police have canvassed the neighborhood and they are questioning all family and friends, including the toddler's parents, who are separated.

"He's only 2 years old. He's really precious, fun, lovable," his grandmother Carla Massera said. "He's so sweet, you know. I can't see anyone wanting to hurt him."

"We're looking at this from all angles. We're not going to leave any stone unturned," Rockefeller said.

Anyone with information is asked to call 911 or 88-FL-MISSING.
Copyright 2006 by WESH.COM. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


monkalup - September 6, 2006 04:20 PM (GMT)
http://www.dailycommercial.com/main.asp?Se...ArticleID=17597

9/3/2006

DAVID MANNING Staff Photographer FBI agents who declined to give their names canvass the Windemere Villas apartments on Saturday. Trenton Duckett, 2, disappeared last Sunday night from his bedroom. Investigators continue to reinterview neighbors and search the area around the apartment complex.

Neighbors cautious
2-year-old has been missing a week; police have little to go on

Marilyn Aciego
Staff Writer

LEESBURG - It has been nearly a week since 2-year-old Trenton Duckett was reported missing to Leesburg police.

According to Leesburg Police Capt. Ginny Padgett, police are still conducting interviews with family members and neighbors in the disappearance of the toddler.

"We are encouraged by the leads and information obtained thus far," Padgett said.

Fliers have been distributed throughout Lake County and some even as far as Georgia, Leesburg Capt. Steve Rockefeller said. Two local pizza delivery chains are also distributing fliers with delivery orders.


Melinda Duckett told police she put her son Trenton, 2, to bed at 7 p.m. Aug. 27, and, after watching a movie with two friends, discovered the boy was missing from the apartment around 9 p.m. She initially thought Trenton might be hiding somewhere in the apartment, but soon realized he was gone.

Police aren't sure if the disappearance involves a family member or a stranger. But Trenton's neighbor Melissa Inglis - who has lived in the complex for two years - speculates Trenton was taken by a family member.

"I don't think it was a stranger abduction," she said.

Inglis, 24, said her 30-month old son and another neighbors' children are constantly out playing. The complex's playground is less than 150 feet from Trenton's front door.

Inglis said she never saw Trenton playing outside and finds it hard to believe a stranger would abduct a child they rarely ever saw. Inglis described the complex as quiet, and even though she doesn't believe a stranger took Trenton, she has taken some extra precautions.

She has put a baby monitor in her son's room and also put a bar in his window track to prevent it from being opened from the outside. The though of a child missing from her neighborhood upsets Inglis.

"If my child was missing, I'd been in the hospital on serious medication. Not walking around like nothing was wrong," she said.

The Amber Alert for Trenton is still in effect. Police describe Trenton as Asian-Caucasian, between 30 and 36 inches tall, weighing 30 to 40 pounds and having brown hair and brown eyes. He was last seen wearing blue denim shorts, no shirt and no shoes.

Crimeline is offering a reward of up to $5,000 in Trenton's case. Callers to Crimeline will remain anonymous. Anyone with information on Trenton's whereabouts is asked to call 800-CALL-FBI (225-5324) or Crimeline at 800-423-TIPS (8477).



monkalup - September 6, 2006 04:23 PM (GMT)
http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/...-home-headlines

Police enlist help to find missing Leesburg boy

Martin E. Comas | Sentinel Staff Writer
Posted September 3, 2006



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LEESBURG -- Almost a week after Trenton Duckett disappeared from his home, police investigators on Saturday continued their search for the 2-year-old boy with help from federal and state agents.

They again scoured the Windemere Villas apartment complex and nearby neighborhoods. Fliers with photos and information about Trenton have been distributed throughout Florida and as far north as Georgia.

But police did not provide any information on the boy's Aug. 27 disappearance.

Diane Nesvacil, cousin of Trenton's father, Joshua Duckett, 21, pleaded for help: "Just bring him back home so he can be with his father."

Leesburg police Capt. Steve Rockefeller urged people to pick up fliers from police and pass them around neighborhoods and post them in public places. "Someone knows something," he said.

Information about Trenton's disappearance aired briefly Saturday night on the television show America's Most Wanted.

Martin E. Comas can be reached at mcomas@orlandosentinel.com or 352-742-5927.

Ell - September 9, 2006 02:53 AM (GMT)
Breaking News: Body Of Melinda Duckett Found In Lady Lake
Trenton Duckettuser posted image

POSTED: 5:47 pm EDT September 8, 2006
UPDATED: 6:02 pm EDT September 8, 2006

LADY LAKE, Fla. -- Eyewitness News has an update on breaking news we're following in the search for two-year-old Trenton Duckett.

Channel 9 has confirmed through sources that the body found in a Lady Lake home is Melinda Duckett, Trenton's mother.

The home belongs to Melinda Duckett's grandparents.

Leesburg police said that Trenton, who has been missing for nearly two weeks, has not been found.

Eyewitness News will report more details as they become available.

Dianne - September 16, 2006 06:25 PM (GMT)
http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/story?id=2448050...TC-RSSFeeds0312

Nancy Grace Says 'Guilt' Likely Made Mother Commit Suicide

Talk Show Host Unapologetic About Hard-Line Interview With Missing Boy's Mother

Sept. 15, 2006 — Former prosecutor turned talk show host Nancy Grace is unapologetic about her aggressive approach to a mother who committed suicide after an interview about the woman's missing son.

Twenty-one year-old Melinda Duckett was the mother of 2-year-old Trenton Duckett, who has been missing since Aug. 27.

Grace interviewed Duckett over the phone on Sept. 7 as part of a taped segment for Grace's show. Before the interview was over, the talk show host was pounding her desk and demanding, "Where were you? Why aren't you telling us where you were that day?"

One day later, Duckett shot and killed herself just hours before the taped interview aired on CNN Headline News.

In an exclusive interview with "Good Morning America" today, Grace said that she takes no responsibility for Duckett's suicide.

"If anything, I would suggest that guilt made her commit suicide," Grace told ABC News' Chris Cuomo.

"To suggest that a 15 or 20 minute interview can cause someone to commit suicide is focusing on the wrong thing," she said.


Interview or Inquisition?

Melinda Duckett reported her son missing from their Leesburg, Fla., home on Aug. 27. She said he disappeared from his crib while she watched a movie on television with friends.

Investigators have stopped short of calling Duckett a suspect but have focused increasing attention on her movements just before the boy vanished. Police have seized notes, a computer, camera and other items from her home.


Duckett's family members disputed any suggestion that she hurt her son. They said that the strain of her son's disappearance pushed her to the brink, and the media sent her over the edge.

"Nancy Grace and the others, they just bashed her to the end," Duckett's grandfather Bill Eubank told the Associate Press Tuesday.

Some media analysts agree, saying Grace's interview went too far.

"How is that questioning doing anything but making a person in a desperate situation feeling even more desperate?" said Hub Brown, a professor at Syracuse University's Newhouse School of Communications.

Grace, however, insists her line of questioning was reasonable.

"Long story short, Trenton Duckett is still missing," she said on "Good Morning America." "And now police are agreeing with me."


Grace said that Duckett would not provide a timeline for her whereabouts in the 24 hours before her son's disappearance.

Duckett also appeared to stumble over Grace's questions about whether or not she took a polygraph test or where, exactly, she was shopping with the boy before his disappearance.

Unanswered Questions — and a Mystery Remains

But now that Melinda Duckett is dead, none of those questions can be answered. Cuomo asked Grace if she felt her hard line stance has compromised the police investigation.

"No I don't," Grace said. "Any interview followed hours and hours of police interrogation of Melinda Duckett. Unfortunately, Melinda Duckett had attempted suicide in the past."

Grace added that in murder and missing persons cases, it's common sense to look at the last person seen with the victim.


"And she [Duckett] admitted to her own lawyer…she grabbed a shotgun, diaper bag and the baby hours before he went missing and went on an eight hour odyssey through a national forest for target practice," she said. "And that is actually where police are searching today with cadaver dogs."


Police concluded their search Thursday night in Ocala National Forest for 2-year-old Trenton. They say they have no physical evidence linking Melinda Duckett to the area of the forest canvassed by investigators. A search of construction site earlier this week also turned up nothing.


Trenton Duckett's family is holding a prayer vigil in Leesburg for the boy.


Grace said the focus should not be on the interview, but on finding Trenton Duckett. "While I sympathize with her family and know as a first-hand victim of crime myself, you look for somebody to blame, anybody," she said. "And today the family is blaming me. … But I would suggest their efforts go towards finding this baby."


Dianne - September 16, 2006 06:34 PM (GMT)
http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=2440803&page=1

By BOB JAMIESON

Sept. 14, 2006 — Authorities in Leesburg, Fla., may be close to naming a missing toddler's mother as a suspect in the boy's disappearance despite the mother's suicide after a grilling by broadcaster Nancy Grace.

Capt. Ginny Padgett of the Leesburg Police Department said Melinda Duckett, 21, "has not been labeled a suspect. However, we are focusing more on her at this time."

Police, aided by Florida state investigators and FBI agents, have searched for more than two weeks for 2-year-old Trenton Duckett after his mother told authorities she found his crib empty on the night of Aug. 27.

Melinda Duckett died last Friday from an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound that her family blamed on media attention, particularly a grilling by Grace the day before.

Whatever the outcome of the case, some media critics believe Grace went too far in her interview.

"What's troubling to me," said Hub Brown, a professor at Syracuse University's Newhouse School of Communications, "is that when you're doing these interviews you have to balance whether you're doing harm to the people involved."

Grace, the former prosecutor and uncompromising victims' advocate, focused on where Duckett and her son had been the day before she reported the disappearance.

"Where were you?" asked Grace. "Why aren't you telling us where you were that day? You were the last person to be seen with him."

Duckett answered, "And we've already gone out and distributed fliers and spoken to … "

"Right," Grace interrupted. "Why aren't you telling us and giving us a clear picture of where you were before your son was kidnapped?"

"Because," said Duckett, "I'm not going to put those kinds of details out."

Grace: "Why?"

Duckett: "Because I was told not to."

Grace then pressed even harder.

"Ms. Duckett, you are not telling us for a reason," she said. "What is that reason? You refuse to give even the simplest facts of where you were with your son before he went missing."

Brown, the Syracuse professor, said Grace's tactics are questionable.


"The prosecutorial stance that Nancy Grace is taking … it's not helping," he said. "It's not like she's going to get any information."

And it may even be more serious, he said.

"How is that questioning doing anything but making a person in a desperate situation feeling even more desperate?" Brown asked.

Police acknowledge that they, too, have had difficulty pinning down details of Duckett's whereabouts with her son on Aug. 26, the day before she told police her son's crib was empty and that the screen of a nearby window had been slashed. They have appealed for witnesses in an effort to reconstruct the movements of the mother and the son.

Duckett's grandfather Bill Eubank, in whose home the apparent suicide occurred, is quoted by The Associated Press as saying, "She wasn't one anyone ever would have thought of to do something like this."

He added, "Nancy Grace and the others, they just bashed her to the end."

But Duckett's ex-husband, Joshua Duckett, the missing boy's father, disagreed.

"At first, the media was rough on me, too," he said, "I don't feel the media was unfair to either side."

Leesburg police have searched Melinda Duckett's apartment, confiscating a computer, digital camera and personal notes, but would not comment on what those revealed, if anything. Nor would police comment on a report in the Leesburg Daily Commercial that Duckett bought a shotgun at a pawn shop the day before her son disappeared.

As they continue to search construction sites and other places in Leesburg, Padgett said police have not yet given up hope of finding the boy alive but have no specific leads. The suicide however, she said, has complicated the investigation.

A spokeswoman for Nancy Grace called the apparent suicide "a sad development."

Did Grace's interview cross any ethical line? In the modern media age, Brown said, it's hard to know.

"In cable television now, it's a shout fest, law of the jungle, survival of the loudest," he said. "It might make good television. It doesn't make good journalism."


monkalup - September 16, 2006 09:08 PM (GMT)
http://www.dailycommercial.com/main.asp?Se...ArticleID=17726

/16/2006 Email this article • Print this article

DAVID MANNING Staff Photographer Friends of the Duckett family listen in the rain at a candlelight vigil for missing two-year-old toddler Trenton Duckett in front of Leesburg City Hall on Friday.

Vigil held for Trenton
Supporters gather in rain to pray for boy's safe return

Marilyn Aciego
Staff Writer

LEESBURG - More than 100 people came to Towne Square in Leesburg on Friday night for a prayer vigil to show support and pray for the return of Leesburg toddler Trenton Duckett.

The vigil started at 7:30 p.m., just as a downpour began in downtown Leesburg. People huddled under umbrellas and struggled to keep their candles lit. Leading the night with a prayer and song, friends and family of Trenton's father Josh surrounded him and pledged their support.

Trenton was reported missing Aug. 27 by his mother Melinda. Melinda Duckett died of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound Sept. 8.

Talking to reporters Friday night, Joshua Duckett said, "Look at all these people surrounding us that want to help. You have to stay positive."


monkalup - September 16, 2006 09:10 PM (GMT)
http://www.dailycommercial.com/main.asp?Se...ArticleID=17727

/16/2006 Email this article • Print this article

DAVID MANNING Staff Photographer Mourners exit Melinda Duckett’s memorial service at the Chapel of Christian Faith Church in The Villages on Friday.

Missing boy's mom mourned at service

Bill Koch
Staff Writer

THE VILLAGES - Hands rose and eyes moistened during the singing of the hymn "Victory In Jesus" at Melinda Marie Eubank Duckett's funeral service Friday.

"I heard an old, old story how a savior came from glory, how he gave his life on Calvary to save someone like me," sang about 200 people at Church of Christian Faith in The Villages Friday afternoon.

The 21-year-old Leesburg woman and South Sumter High School graduate died Sept. 8 of an apparently self-inflicted shotgun wound.

Pastor Charles Holmes recounted stories from the Bible about characters who had gone through troubled times.



monkalup - September 16, 2006 09:14 PM (GMT)
http://www.local6.com/news/9860857/detail.html

Source: Hand-Drawn Map Lead Not Credible In Missing Boy Case

POSTED: 6:20 pm EDT September 15, 2006
UPDATED: 2:15 pm EDT September 16, 2006


A hand-drawn map showing the possible whereabouts of Melinda Duckett before her son vanished nearly three weeks ago was checked and found not to be credible, sources close to the investigation told Local 6's Mike Deforest.

Since Duckett committed suicide last week, authorities said they have been leaning toward the scenario that she may have staged Trenton Duckett's disappearance.

Shortly after Duckett's suicide, sources told Local 6 News that her divorce attorney shared information about her possible whereabouts the day Trenton vanished.


According to a hand-drawn map published in the Orlando Sentinel, Duckett and her son drove to a gun range in the Ocala National Forest where she was going to fire a rifle she had recently purchased.

Duckett then reportedly got lost driving down Interstate 75 to Florida's Turnpike and some how ended up at the Altamonte Mall, where she told her attorney that she changed Trenton's diaper, the report said.

She then drove to the T.D. Waterhouse Center before getting on the turnpike to head home, the report said.

Police are not publicly commenting on the map, but sources close to the investigation told Local 6 News Friday that they thoroughly checked out the attorney's claims and found them not to be credible.

Witness Comes Forward


A search of the Ocala National Forest will continue Saturday.

Investigators told Local 6 News Friday that a continuing search that began in the Ocala National Forest Thursday was based on an independent witness who claims to have seen and talked with the woman and her son driving around the forest.

"The mother and child were in the car and a partial, at least, conversation took place between the eyewitness and the parties," Leesburg police Capt. Steve Rockefeller said.

During Thursday's search, a child's toy elephant was found, but it apparently does not belong to Trenton.

Gun Investigated

Local 6 News also learned that crime lab technicians are analyzing a .20-gauge shotgun recovered from Duckett's home to see if it is relevant in Trenton's disappearance.

"Melinda did purchase a firearm during the month of August, which is the same month of the reported abduction," Rockefeller said.

The gun Melinda used to kill herself belonged to her grandparents, the report said.

The 21-year-old mother was studying for a career in law enforcement and had experience shooting guns.

"We heard that she did do some shooting, some target practice-type shooting," Rockefeller.

Joshua Duckett, Trenton's father, also confirmed Thursday that when Melinda Duckett was pregnant with Trenton, she was checked into a mental health facility because she was talking about committing suicide

Anyone with information into Trenton's whereabouts is urged to call 800-CALL-FBI.

Watch Local 6 News for more on this story.

monkalup - September 16, 2006 09:18 PM (GMT)
http://www.local6.com/news/9815793/detail.html

Family: Media Coverage May Have Pushed Missing Boy's Mom Over Edge
2-Year-Old Remains Missing

POSTED: 8:49 pm EDT September 9, 2006
UPDATED: 3:34 pm EDT September 13, 2006

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Family members of a mother who committed suicide while a search continued for her missing 2-year-old son said the intense media coverage in the case may have pushed her over the edge, according to a Local 6 News report.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
VIDEO: See Portion Of Grace Interview (inside story)
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Leesburg authorities said Melinda Duckett's body was found Friday in a home at 638 Rainbow Lane in the Villages of Lady Lake. Police said the house belonged to the woman's grandparents.


Local 6 News reported that Melinda Duckett's grandparents said media coverage may have been too much.

Two days before she died, Melinda Duckett told Local 6 News that she was frustrated that the media and police were scrutinizing her whereabouts before her son vanished.

And in a taped interview that aired hours after Melinda Duckett's suicide, CNN news anchor Nancy Grace grilled the woman about her alibi on national television.

"Where were you?" Grace asked Melinda Duckett. "Why aren't you telling us where you were that day? You were the last person to be seen with him."

"We were just shopping, going around…" Duckett said.

"Shopping where?" Grace asked.

"Well, we didn't go any where specific," Duckett said.

"If you went shopping, you had to go into a store -- what store did you go into?" Grace said.

"I wasn't (going to get) into any specifics," Duckett said.

The boy's father, Joshua Duckett, said he did not think the media was unfair in their coverage.

"At first, the media was rough on me too and I had a lot of fingers pointed at me and stuff like that," Duckett said. "To me, I don't feel the media was unfair to either side."

"Despite Melinda Duckett's apparent suicide, police are not yet publicly calling her their primary suspect," Local 6's Mike DeForest said. "They say everyone is still a possibility at this point."

Saturday, investigators searched Melinda Duckett's apartment but so far there was no sign of a suicide note.

Joshua Duckett said he is optimistic his son will be found but the death of his estranged wife complicated things.

"It hits you like a ton of bricks," father Joshua Duckett said. "It makes it that much harder."

According to authorities, Trenton Duckett was last seen in his room. His mother said she first noticed he was missing around 9 p.m. Leesburg police said a screen on a window in the boy's room was cut and that he was apparently taken through the opening.

Melinda Duckett had earlier told Local 6 News that the day before Trenton vanished, she and the child were driving around visiting friends and family.

Detectives are still searching for witnesses who can either back up her account or contradict it.


The search continues for the missing boy.

monkalup - September 16, 2006 09:38 PM (GMT)
http://www.local6.com/news/9818553/detail.html

Police Fear Missing Central Fla. Boy Will Not Be Found Alive
Family: Media Coverage May Have Pushed Mom Over Edge

POSTED: 7:31 am EDT September 11, 2006
UPDATED: 2:18 pm EDT September 11, 2006

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ORLANDO, Fla -- Investigators in the search for a missing 2-year-old boy in Leesburg, Fla., are leaning toward the possibility that the boy will not be found alive and are asking people to search remote areas on their property this week.

"The search for Trenton Duckett is changing a bit this morning," Local 6's Jessica Sanchez said. "Leesburg police are acknowledging (that) it is possible the 2-year-old may not be found alive."

Sanchez said police are asking people in Leesburg, Fruitland Park and the Lady Lake area who have property in remote areas to search the region for clues or a body.


"They may have a good idea that, you know, that corner of property I got might be a good place," Leesburg police Captain Steve Rockefeller said. "Well, grab a friend, go out there and start looking. That's what I enourage people to do at this point."

According to authorities, Trenton Duckett was last seen in his room. His mother, Melinda Duckett, said she first noticed he was missing around 9 p.m. Leesburg police said a screen on a window in the boy's room was cut and that he was apparently taken through the opening.

However, the investigation into the boy's whereabouts was dealt a major setback when Melinda Duckett's body was found Friday in a home at 638 Rainbow Lane in the Villages of Lady Lake. Police said she died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound at her grandparents' home.

Local 6 News reported that Melinda Duckett's grandparents said media coverage may have been too much and pushed her over the edge.

Two days before she died, Melinda Duckett told Local 6 News that she was frustrated that the media and police were scrutinizing her whereabouts before her son vanished.

And in a taped interview that aired hours after Melinda Duckett's suicide, CNN news anchor Nancy Grace grilled the woman about her alibi on national television.

"Where were you?" Grace asked. "Why aren't you telling us where you were that day? You were the last person to be seen with him."

"We were just shopping, going around…" Duckett said.

"Shopping where?" Grace asked.

"Well, we didn't go any where specific," Duckett said.

"If you went shopping, you had to go into a store -- what store did you go into?" Grace said.

"I wasn't (going to get) into any specifics," Duckett said.

The boy's father, Joshua Duckett, said he did not think the media was unfair in their coverage.

"At first, the media was rough on me too and I had a lot of fingers pointed at me and stuff like that," Duckett said. "To me, I don't feel the media was unfair to either side."

"Despite Melinda Duckett's apparent suicide, police are not yet publicly calling her their primary suspect," Local 6's Mike DeForest said. "They say everyone is still a possibility at this point."

Saturday, investigators searched Duckett's apartment but so far there was no sign of a suicide note.

Anyone with information into Trenton's whereabouts is urged to call 800-CALL-FBI.


Watch Local 6 News for more on this story.

monkalup - September 16, 2006 09:43 PM (GMT)
http://www.local6.com/news/9824171/detail.html

Crews Dig At Construction Site For Missing Central Fla. Boy

POSTED: 7:05 pm EDT September 11, 2006
UPDATED: 6:01 am EDT September 12, 2006

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Searchers in Lake County, Fla., used heavy machinery at a construction site Monday night in the search for a 2-year-old boy who vanished from his Leesburg home several weeks ago but found no clues into his disappearance, according to Local 6 News.

Police said Monday night's search for Trenton Duckett was based on a tip received in the last 24 hours, Local 6 News reported.

Sky 6 showed video of police K-9s searching a subdivision construction site about a half mile north of Florida's Turnpike and Highway 27 near Leesburg.


"A dog did alert to something out here and a crime scene van is on the scene," Local 6's Jessica D'Onofrio said. "Before (crews) were digging big piles of dirt but now it appears they are just carefully skimming the surface."

According to authorities, Trenton was last seen in his room. His mother, Melinda Duckett, said she first noticed he was missing around 9 p.m. Leesburg police said a screen on a window in the boy's room was cut and that he was apparently taken through the opening.

However, investigators are now leaning away from the theory that an intruder snatched the boy from his home. Now, authorities are more suspicious of the boy's mother.

Melinda Duckett's body was found Friday in a home at 638 Rainbow Lane in the Villages of Lady Lake. Police said she died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound at her grandparents' home.

Saturday, investigators searched Duckett's apartment but so far there was no sign of a suicide note.

Monday, police asked residents to search their properties for the boy's body, according to the report.

Anyone with information into Trenton's whereabouts is urged to call 800-CALL-FBI.

monkalup - September 20, 2006 12:10 AM (GMT)
http://www.thevillagesdailysun.com/article...news/news03.txt

Police: Missing boy’s mother seen without him before filing report

By RICHARD CONN, DAILY SUN

LEESBURG — Police said Monday that the mother of missing 2-year-old Trenton Duckett was spotted twice without her son several hours before she reported him missing.

Detectives have received “credible information” that Melinda Duckett was seen without the toddler about 8 a.m. Aug. 27 at a Leesburg business and was also spotted walking from her car to her apartment about 3 p.m., said Capt. Steve Rockefeller.

“These possible sightings can possibly be explained in many ways, but taken at face value, they do contradict Melinda’s statements to agents and investigators,” Rockefeller said.

Police asked anyone who may have been baby-sitting or watching Trenton during these times to call (800) CALL-FBI.

Melinda told police that she put Trenton to bed about 7 p.m. and discovered him missing some two hours later. Melinda committed suicide Sept. 8 at The Villages home of her grandparents.

Meanwhile, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office asked the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission to trap an 8-foot alligator that law enforcement dive teams searching for the boy found Sunday while scouring murky Farles Lake in the Ocala National Forest, said sheriff’s Capt. James Pogue.




“This happened three weeks ago,” Pogue said. “If (the boy) had been placed at the water’s edge, the next possibility could be an alligator.”

If the alligators are caught, their stomachs will be examined for any evidence such as bone, fabric and hair remnants, according to Florida Fish and Wildlife officials.

The trapper would also catch and kill any other alligators of a similar size found, Pogue said.

The search in Farles Lake could last through the week, as Pogue said divers had focused their efforts on a single cove. The work is treacherous due to the thick, swampy muck that permeates the lake, he said.

“It’s 6 feet to 15 feet at its deepest,” Pogue said. “They are pretty much doing a hand search and bringing up everything they can find.”

With new leads continuing to pour in, Rockefeller said officials with all agencies involved in the investigation will gather at several “high-level” meetings today to determine whether to steer the search for the boy in a different direction.

Richard Conn is a reporter with the Daily Sun. He can be reached at 753-1119, ext. 9067, or at richard.conn@thevillagesmedia.com.



monkalup - September 20, 2006 12:12 AM (GMT)
http://www.dailycommercial.com/main.asp?Se...ArticleID=17761

/18/2006 11:09:00 PM Email this article • Print this article
Duckett seen twice without child
Witnesses say they saw Melinda, but not Trenton, the day of his disappearance

Staff Report

LEESBURG - Two acquaintances of Melinda Duckett told police they saw her without her son, Trenton, on Aug. 27, just hours before she reported him abducted from their Leesburg apartment, police said Monday.

According to the witnesses, Duckett visited a Leesburg business around 8 a.m. and was seen walking from her car to her apartment around 3 p.m. that day - both times without 2-year-old Trenton.

The Leesburg Police Department said Monday that the sightings, which they called "credible" in a press release, contradicted statements Duckett made to investigators before her Sept. 8 suicide.

Police thanked the community Monday for coming forward with information that could help them form a timeline of Melinda and Trenton Duckett's whereabouts in the weekend leading up to his disappearance.



monkalup - September 20, 2006 12:14 AM (GMT)
http://www.wesh.com/news/9885228/detail.html

-Team: Trenton Duckett's Toys, Pictures Found In Trash

POSTED: 12:26 pm EDT September 19, 2006
UPDATED: 7:05 pm EDT September 19, 2006

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ORLANDO, Fla. -- Law enforcement sources in Lake County told the WESH 2 I-Team that Melinda Duckett became a potential suspect almost immediately after she reported her 2-year-old son, Trenton, missing because of her initial reactions.

Police asked to search her apartment on Aug. 27 -- the night she reported Trenton missing. She consented, but investigators also went to court to get a search warrant.

"There were two search warrants served. One on the original night of the disappearance, or I guess that would actually be the following morning, early in the morning hours, and that was as the case wore on and it became apparent after interviewing the parents that the child had indeed disappeared," said Capt. Steve Rockefeller of the Leesburg Police Department. "The case migrated to a full-blown crime scene. So, at that point, rather than searching the house with consent, we chose to search the house with a warrant and consent."


When they received the court-approved search warrant, police entered Duckett's apartment at the Windermere Villas in Leesburg for a more thorough search on Monday, Aug. 28. They said they found some suspicious items.

Law enforcement officials told the WESH 2 I-Team that police found freshly painted walls in some places, and in the back of the building, trash that was allegedly thrown out of Duckett's apartment was filled with Trenton's toys.

But what grabbed investigators' attention was pictures, officials said. They said a lot of pictures of Trenton, including the sonogram printout from when Duckett was pregnant, were all thrown away in the trash.

"We did do a trash pull, that's common. And we pulled items from her house that night, but as far as items that were taken, that would be evidence and I have not been authorized to talk about anything like that," Rockefeller told WESH 2 News on Tuesday.

Investigators said the photos are what made them take a hard look at Duckett from the beginning of the investigation. Detectives said they are still trying to figure out how those clues might relate to Trenton's disappearance.

Police said there's no evidence as to who threw the photos away, but Duckett was staying in the apartment.

Duckett killed herself on Friday, Sept. 8, two weeks after her son disappeared.

This past Sunday, divers in Farles Lake in the Ocala National Forest found a garbage bag.

On the bag, investigators discovered a substance that some believed was blood and holes that appeared to be from alligator bites. The bag was sent to a Florida Department of Law Enforcement lab in Jacksonville for analysis, and forensic tests showed that the substance on that bag is not blood.

Law enforcement officials also said divers found a large piece of asphalt about 10 feet away from the bag. The lake is in a remote woodland where there are no paved roads.

Lake County's sheriff's divers were back out at Farles Lake on Tuesday to search for more clues or possible evidence in this case.

The search in the Ocala National Forest has also turned up what could be a child's shoe. Forensics experts are examining the shoe.

Also, Nancy and Bill Eubank, Melinda Duckett's grandparents, were at the Leesburg Police Department on Tuesday to discuss a fund that their church is setting up in Trenton's name. They said they wanted to make sure their paperwork is legal.

The fund will give $5,000 to anyone who provides information that helps investigators find Trenton.

They were at the police station at the same time as Joshua Duckett -- Trenton's father -- and his family. The two sides of the family have had strained relations.

Duckett offered the Eubanks two shirts that said "Team Trenton."

"I hadn't talked to them since me and Melinda separated," Duckett said. "I tried to reach out to them numerous times now to try and get them to get on the same page as we are, and I haven't gotten any response. And today I seen them in person, I tried to reach out to them by giving them our Team Trenton shirts and I got no response there."

The Eubanks' church fund is in addition to the reward offered by Crimeline. In order to get that reward, tipsters need to call 800-423-TIPS. However, police are also urging anyone with information to call the main investigative number at 800-CALL-FBI.

Police said people seeking a reward should call both numbers with tips.


To comment on this story, send an e-mail to Stephen Stock.
Copyright 2006 by WESH.COM. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.




monkalup - September 20, 2006 12:17 AM (GMT)
http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/...-home-headlines


UPDATE
Police in Duckett case investigating tip about shoe

Christine Dellert | Sentinel Staff Writer
Posted September 19, 2006, 1:46 PM EDT


OCALA NATIONAL FOREST -- Police received a tip this morning about a child's-size shoe found about a mile from where search crews have spent the past three days looking for any sign of missing 2-year-old Trenton Duckett.

Leesburg police Capt. Ginny Padgett said investigators weren't sure of any connection between the toddler and shoe. The shoe's exact size and style are unknown.

Padgett said police consider it a "routine lead." It doesn't mark "a major break in the case" at this point, she added.

Dive teams from the Marion County Sheriff's Office are in the forest again today, searching Farles Lake after investigators spoke last week with a man who said he possibly saw Trenton's mother, Melinda Duckett, in the forest the weekend of the boy's reported abduction.

Teams have searched that area of the forest the past three days.

Trenton has been missing for 23 days. His mother told police that Trenton disappeared from his bed two hours after she put him to sleep the evening of Aug. 27.

Two weeks later, Melinda Duckett committed suicide in her grandparents' house in The Villages.

Law enforcement agents from local, federal and state agencies plan to meet at the Leesburg Police Department today to discuss the next steps in the missing boy's investigation.





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monkalup - September 20, 2006 12:32 AM (GMT)
http://www.thevillagesdailysun.com/article...news/news03.txt

Dive teams search Farles Lake in Duckett case

by Daily Sun Staff

OCALA — Divers with Marion County and Lake County sheriff’s offices searched Farles Lake in The Ocala National Forest on Sunday for evidence in the investigation of 2-year-old Trenton Duckett’s disappearance.

Leesburg Police Capt. Steve Rockefeller said no new evidence was found in Sunday’s search, but the dive teams will continue to search the lake today.

Rockefeller said the multi-agency task force, which includes Leesburg Police, Marion County Sheriff’s Office, Lake County Sheriff’s Office, Florida Department of Law Enforcement and FBI, will hold a joint meeting on Tuesday to determine the direction the investigation needs to go.

The search in the Ocala National Forest was prompted by a witness who claimed to have had a partial conversation in the forest near Farles Lake with a woman who resembled Melinda Duckett on the weekend that Trenton disappeared, Rockefeller said. He added that the witness claimed to have seen the woman driving with a small child in a car similar to Duckett’s 2000 Mitsubishi Eclipse.

Trenton Duckett was reported missing Aug. 27. Melinda told police that she put the boy to bed about 7 p.m. and discovered him missing approximately two hours later. Police have said that the screen had been cut on a window in Trenton’s bedroom, suggesting that the boy may have been abducted through the window. Melinda committed suicide Sept. 8 at The Villages home of her grandparents.

Trenton is described as approximately 3 feet tall and weighing between 30 and 40 pounds. He has brown hair and brown eyes.




Anyone with information regarding Trenton’s disappearance or current whereabouts is urged to call authorities at (800) CALL-FBI (225-5324).



monkalup - September 20, 2006 12:33 AM (GMT)
http://www.dailycommercial.com/main.asp?Se...ArticleID=17750

9/18/2006 Email this article • Print this article

JOSHUA DAVIDOVICH Daily Commercial Staff Divers regroup after searching murky Farles Lake all day Sunday for clues in the case of missing 2-year-old Trenton Duckett.

Search comes up empty
Divers scour lake in Ocala National Forest, find no sign of Trenton

Joshua Davidovich
Staff Writer

OCALA NATIONAL FOREST - Dive teams again failed to find any sign of missing toddler Trenton Duckett as murky water in an Ocala National Forest lake made for slow going.

Three weeks after Trenton's mother, Melinda Duckett, reported the 2-year old missing, more than 20 divers scoured Farles Lake on Sunday in a search for any clue of Trenton's whereabouts.

Officials said the search has been slow because of the lake's swampy nature; in two days divers have covered only a small section of the lake.

"It's slow going because the weeds are so thick," said Marion County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Susan Livoti. "They are doing it by feel because they can't see."








Alligators up to eight feet in length are also a concern for divers, Livoti said, though there have been no encounters so far.

Investigators began searching the lake, which is in a clearing on Forest Road 595 about four miles west of State Road 19, after specially trained dogs became interested in a spot on the shoreline. Teams from both Marion and Lake counties have been diving, while other investigators have searched the lake's perimeter.

Marion County provided a helicopter, both to scour for clues and to keep an eye out for alligators.

Investigators began searching the area after receiving a tip that Melinda Duckett may have been spotted in the area with Trenton on Aug. 27, the day she reported him missing. Duckett died of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound Sept. 8.

The Leesburg Police Department will step back from the search today to have a series of meetings to regroup and evaluate the direction of the investigation.

"We are meeting to debrief. The investigation is still very active," Leesburg Police Capt. Steve Rockefeller said.

Rockefeller said police are relying on tips to help with the investigation.

Anyone who may have any information about Trenton's disappearance is urged to call 800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5324).




monkalup - September 20, 2006 12:35 AM (GMT)
http://www.dailycommercial.com/main.asp?Se...ArticleID=17740

9/17/2006

DAVID MANNING Staff Photographer Cindy O’Neill, a Sarasota K-9 officer, searches with her dog Tuff in the Ocala National Forest on Saturday. More than 50 police and search and rescue voluenteers are combing the area near Farles Prairie for missing 2-year-old Trenton Duckett based on a tip that Melinda Duckett, the boy’s mother, was seen in that area on the weekend of his disappearance.

No sign of boy yet
Officers, dogs comb forest for 2-year-old

Bill Koch
Staff Writer

LEESBURG - Investigators finished searching a 6-mile stretch of road in the Ocala National Forest early Saturday evening for a clue in the Aug. 27 disappearance of 2-year-old Trenton Duckett, officials said.

Authorities plan on "regrouping" Monday morning at the Leesburg Police Department to determine the next step in the search for the missing Leesburg boy, said Leesburg Capt. Steve Rockefeller.

"We've covered about 95 percent of the area we wanted to cover," he said.

Dive teams from the Sheriff's offices of Lake and Marion counties expect to continue searching lakes in the Farles Prairie area around Forest Road 595 today. They are also searching lakes along five miles of Forest Road 588, which intersects F.R. 595.



Seventeen cadaver and specially trained scent dogs combed the area with their handlers looking for clues. Two dogs were treated by a special Sarasota-based search and rescue unit for heat exhaustion. Twelve dog teams searched six designated areas.

Rockefeller said the teams were unable to find evidence that may lead to Trenton Duckett's whereabouts. His mother, Melinda Duckett, 21, who reported her son as abducted, died Sept. 8 of an apparently self-inflicted shotgun wound.

Authorities received three tips Saturday, one involving a dead animal, Rockefeller said. The first two tips didn't produce any fresh leads, he said. Investigators have not been able to look into the third tip yet.

Rockefeller said police are relying on tips to help with the investigation.

Anyone who may have any information about Trenton's disappearance are urged to call 800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5324).




monkalup - September 23, 2006 02:45 AM (GMT)
http://www.thevillagesdailysun.com/article...news/news03.txt

Mother named prime suspect in toddler’s disappearance

By DAN SULLIVAN, DAILY SUN

LEESBURG — Leesburg police identified Melinda Duckett as the prime suspect for the first time Thursday in the disappearance of her son, 2-year-old Trenton Duckett.

Police also released an affidavit of probable cause, which details evidence showing that a threatening e-mail sent from Joshua Duckett’s MySpace account to Melinda Duckett was actually composed and sent by Melinda to herself.

“By sending the threat to herself and providing it as evidence during an injunction for protection hearing against Joshua Duckett, Melinda Duckett committed the offense of offense against intellectual property and perjury in an official proceeding,” Leesburg police Capt. Steve Rockefeller said at a Thursday press conference.

“Investigators have also established proof that Joshua Duckett did not send the e-mail,” Rockefeller said.

Rockefeller added that multiple pieces of evidence obtained in the investigation of Trenton’s disappearance have led investigators to label Melinda Duckett the prime suspect. Those pieces of evidence include Melinda’s vague account of her whereabouts on the weekend of the boy’s disappearance, her refusal to take a polygraph test, photographs of the boy and other personal items found in the trash, and her Sept. 8 suicide.

“That’s an unnatural act for a grieving mother,” Rockefeller said of the suicide.




The affidavit of probable cause released Thursday sheds new light on the bitter relationship between Melinda and Joshua Duckett, Trenton’s father. The document alleges that Melinda Duckett logged into Joshua Duckett’s MySpace account on July 4 and sent a message to herself, which threatened, among other things, that Joshua would kill both Melinda and Trenton.

Melinda used the e-mail as the basis for filing a petition for an injunction to prevent domestic violence against Joshua, effectively cutting off any contact Joshua had with Trenton.

The subsequent revelation that Melinda had written and sent the e-mail to herself was the basis for investigators charging that she committed the crimes of offense against intellectual property and perjury in an official proceeding.

In examining Melinda’s cell phone records from the day that Trenton disappeared, investigators have established that Melinda drove to multiple locations in the tri-county area, including Ocala and Wildwood.

“Melinda said she, along with little Trenton, had been to the Altamonte and Orlando area shopping,” Rockefeller said.

“She also indicated she had driven around and had been lost in different areas. Her cell phone records indicate calls were made or received in Wildwood at approximately 12:30 p.m.; Minneola at 12:45 p.m.; and in Tavares at 3:42 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 27. We are asking businesses in these areas to review their surveillance tapes for Melinda, Trenton, or her silver 2000 Mitsubishi Eclipse,” Rockefeller said.

Rockefeller added that investigators received a lead Wednesday that indicated Melinda was seen in a Leesburg department store about 9 a.m. Aug. 27. He stressed that this lead is still being pursued.

Elsewhere, officials with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office reported Wednesday that records showed that Melinda had visited an ATM in Leesburg at 10:49 a.m. on Aug. 27 and had used her cell phone within a five-mile radius of the Paddock Mall in Ocala sometime after that.

Officials said Thursday that they had established that Melinda was in the area of the Paddock Mall starting at 12:08 p.m. and remained there for 30 to 45 minutes.

“The time frame is speculative due to no indication of the exact roads she traveled, her average speed and the amount of traffic,” Marion County sheriff’s spokeswoman Sue Livoti said in a press release.

Rockefeller noted Thursday that investigators had received no reports from any witnesses who saw Trenton anytime after he was seen by his grandparents on the afternoon of Saturday, Aug. 26.

“We still need the public’s help in establishing Melinda’s whereabouts,” Rockefeller said. He encouraged local businesses to examine surveillance tapes from Aug. 27 for any recorded sightings of Melinda that day.

“Just because we have cell phone hits doesn’t mean we only want to focus on those areas,” Rockefeller said.

Melinda’s grandmother, Nancy Eubank, said Thursday that her granddaughter could not have harmed her child.

“This girl loved her baby and would never hurt him,” Eubank said. “We feel like we’ve been treated the same as the JonBenet Ramsey case, where the investigators kept hounding the mom and dad until the killer got away.”

Eubank said she and her husband helped Melinda throw some of Trenton’s belongings away in the days after his disappearance.

“We threw away stuff full of that fingerprint dust,” Eubank said. “It’s very difficult to wash that stuff off and we wouldn’t give that back to him like that.”

Eubank blamed media pressure for Melinda’s suicide.

“Nancy Grace said this show was about finding Trenton. Then, once it started, she absolutely trashed Melinda,” Eubank said.

“(Melinda) said to me, ‘It’s my fault, I didn’t protect him.’”

Trenton’s father Joshua Duckett placed the blame for his son’s disappearance on the state child welfare system.

“I hold the majority of the system partly responsible for all that’s happened,” Duckett said. “There were a number of things that DCF was supposedly investigating.”

Duckett said Melinda had threatened to harm Trenton or herself numerous times, including one in which she allegedly held a knife to the boy’s leg. Nevertheless, Duckett said he doesn’t believe Melinda would have harmed the child.

“I feel that she stashed him somewhere,” Duckett said. “I’m not really worried about putting somebody in jail. I just want my son back. That’s my goal.”

Melinda Duckett told police that she put Trenton to bed about 7 p.m. on Aug. 27 and discovered him missing approximately two hours later. Police have said that the screen on a window in Trenton’s bedroom had been cut.

Anyone with information pertaining to the investigation is urged to contact authorities at (800) CALL-FBI (225-5324).

VNN anchor/reporter Jessica Kiss contributed to this report.

Dan Sullivan is a reporter with the Daily Sun. He can be reached at 753-1119, ext. 9059, or dan.sullivan@thevillagesmedia.com.



monkalup - September 23, 2006 02:48 AM (GMT)
http://www.wesh.com/news/9901688/detail.html

MySpace Posting At Center Of Ducketts' Divorce

POSTED: 10:41 am EDT September 21, 2006
UPDATED: 8:06 pm EDT September 21, 2006

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The WESH 2 I-Team has obtained a posted Web message that includes a death threat and racist remarks.

It's a message, court records show, that was at the center of a feud between Melinda and Joshua Duckett, and caught in the middle was 2-year-old Trenton Duckett.

The I-Team obtained a copy of the Web posting on Aug. 29, just two days after Trenton was reported missing.


Melinda Duckett talked to the I-Team about the message that same day. The I-Team has spent the time since investigating who wrote it, and the circumstances behind it.

The message was posted on Joshua Duckett's MySpace.com homepage on July 3, 2006, at 8:15 p.m. The language is coarse and the message is filled with obscenities.

And it would appear to foreshadow Trenton's disappearance and point to a possible suspect.

In part it reads:

"I hate you because you ruined my life and took my son."

'"I am going to hunt you and your darn son down one day and kill both of you."

"I don't even think Trenton is my son anyway and your (sic) going to pay for what you've done to my life."

"When I get my hands on your f----- (racial slur) a-- you'll regret what you've done … and I'll bury your son with you."

But according to a criminal complaint filed with the Bushnell Police Department on July 11, Joshua Duckett told investigators his "estranged wife was the person behind the incident, though (the detective) was presented no evidence to that effect."

The Bushnell report showed that Joshua "Duckett advised (the detective) that he thinks his wife somehow accessed his password, and changed his information, and also typed and sent the letter to herself."

Although Bushnell police could not independently confirm that information, Joshua Duckett repeated that claim to I-Team reporter Sally Schulze when she confronted him with the Web posting.

"No. I didn't write it. I mean, we're in a court thing right now, or we were in a court thing. And I've actually turned my computer over to a computer expert to prove that I did not write it," he said.

"Where do you think it came from?" Schulze asked.

"I can't say. I mean, I have my speculations, but I can't really go into those right now," he said.

"So, is there someone out there who you think might be behind this and therefore is behind what happened to Trenton?" Schulze asked.

"Yes," Duckett said.

I-Team reporter Michelle Meredith asked the same questions of Melinda Duckett days before she died.

"Did you send us this?" Meredith asked.

"Uh, actually, one of the reporters, everything involving this can be picked up at the Lake County Courthouse," Duckett said.

"Yeah, but I mean, is this a real e-mail sent to you?" Meredith asked.

"Everything that is in here is what was sent to me," Duckett said.

"Is it your ex-husband?" Meredith asked.

"Um. The divorce is pending. He has not signed any court papers yet. I don't know why he's refusing to," Duckett said.

"But this is a real e-mail?" Meredith asked.

"Yes. Word for word. Yes," Duckett said. "It does put panic in, but that is why we obviously went and got the restraining order."

"Do you feel like he's involved?" Meredith asked.

"Like I said, anyone could be. And the main thing, honestly, right now, at this point, I don't care about any of that. I just want him back -- not him, Trenton -- and, the rest of it can just follow suit or be, you know, forgotten or anything," Duckett said.

"But this is threatening," Meredith said.

"I know. And that's exactly why we took the action that we took. We were very concerned and worried. And not even for myself, but I mean, a 2-year-old cannot take care of himself," Duckett said.

To the I-Team's knowledge, police still have not determined who wrote and posted the message. It is at the heart of the divorce proceedings between the Ducketts, as well as court restraining orders and a police report.

And it was posted less than two months before Trenton disappeared.

Authorities still hope a tip from the public will lead them to Trenton. Anyone with information should call 800-CALL-FBI.


To comment on this story, send an e-mail to Stephen Stock.

monkalup - September 23, 2006 02:50 AM (GMT)
http://www.wesh.com/news/9896822/detail.html



Family Friend Says Melinda Duckett Threatened To Hurt Son

POSTED: 6:43 pm EDT September 20, 2006
UPDATED: 7:32 pm EDT September 20, 2006

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Melinda Duckett threatened to hurt her son if her husband didn't do what she said, according to Josh Duckett and a witness who talked to police after an incident involving the couple last Christmas.

The statements are on audiotape obtained exclusively by the WESH 2 I-Team.

According to the Bushnell Police Department, investigators with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and FBI investigators have not heard the tape yet.


Melinda and Joshua Duckett's volatile relationship rocked back and forth between Lake and Sumter counties. They had residences in both counties.

According to both Bushnell and Leesburg police reports, Trenton was trapped in the middle of a marital feud fueled by threats.

"She was going to hurt Trenton if Josh didn't stop," said witness Jeffrey Scott on Dec. 27, 2005. "If she doesn't get what she wants, and things not going her way, she likes to make little threats."

In chilling detail, Scott told Bushnell police how he listened in on Josh Duckett's phone as Melinda Duckett threatened to hurt Trenton if her husband would not get back together with her.

"She threatened to, I guess, put her hands on Trenton and stuff like that just so Josh would hear Trenton cry and comply with her and whatever she wanted," Scott said.

The interview was part of an investigation into a suspicious fire at a business owned by Josh Duckett's mother. It was an arson fire where Melinda Duckett was one of several suspects that Bushnell detectives were seriously investigating.

"Me and Melinda were arguing at the time," Josh Duckett told investigators. "I was having problems with Melinda and we were feuding at that time," he said.

Josh Duckett told a fire investigator on the scene that he was sure his wife had set the fire, although he later took that back.

"Melinda wanted child support and stuff at that time. And if she was wanting child support, it wouldn't benefit her or anything to do anything to that because that was where my income was. That was my job. That was our life. That's where every bit of money that we had came from," Josh Duckett said.

On April 16, 2005, Josh Duckett was even more clear to police investigators. In an interview with Bushnell police, he told investigators that "he thought Ms. (Melinda) Eubank (Duckett) was going to hurt their child" and "that Ms.(Melinda) Eubank (Duckett) starts making their baby cry" and "he is afraid that Ms. Eubank will injure their child if he doesn't tell her what she wants to hear," according to police reports.

Melinda Duckett obtained a restraining order against her husband in Lake County, according to court records obtained by the WESH 2 I-Team. In the records, she claimed she was threatened by Josh Duckett.

Both parents were warned by police and by the Florida Department of Children and Families to stop filing false abuse reports concerning Trenton.


To comment on this story, send an e-mail to Stephen Stock.
Copyright 2006 by WESH.COM. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.






monkalup - September 23, 2006 03:03 AM (GMT)
http://www.local6.com/news/9902762/detail.html

Police: Accomplice Likely Involved In Central Fla. Boy's Disappearance
Mother Named Prime Suspect In Case

POSTED: 12:35 pm EDT September 21, 2006
UPDATED: 4:02 pm EDT September 21, 2006

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Investigators in the search for a missing Leesburg boy said they now believe that a second person was likely involved in the 2-year-old's disappearance, Local 6 News has learned.

Since Trenton Duckett was reported missing last month, police have had their suspicions that his mother, Melinda Duckett, 21, may have been responsible for the boy's disappearance, Local 6's Mike DeForest said.

However, Local 6 News said police named Duckett as a prime suspect in the case. Duckett committed suicide after she reported Trenton missing.


There appears to be evidence that a second person may have been involved in the incident, police said.

"Police are also telling us that there is a very likely possibility that there was an accomplice involved -- someone else who helped played a role in young Trenton's disappearance," Local 6's Mike DeForest said.

E-Mail Questioned

Local 6 News also learned Thursday that Duckett apparently presented investigators with an e-mail that she said she received from her estranged husband Joshua Duckett.

In the e-mail, it appears that Joshua Duckett threatened to kill the child and Melinda Duckett, DeForest said.

Joshua Duckett said that he didn't write the e-mail and that someone else wrote the e-mail.

More information about the e-mail was expected to be released Thursday night.


New Timeline


With newly released ATM and cell phone records, authorities are also getting a better idea of Melinda Duckett's travels.

A witness claims to have seen Duckett by herself inside a Leesburg business at about 8 a.m. the day her son disappeared, Local 6 News reported.

ATM records show that Duckett was still in Leesburg at about 10:39 a.m. on the same morning.

Marion County officials said they believe Duckett then traveled within five miles of Paddock Mall in Ocala, where new cell phone records show her leaving the area at 12:28 p.m.

A witness later spotted Duckett back at her Leesburg apartment shortly before 3 p.m. without her son, police said.

Six hours later, when Duckett reported her son missing from his apartment bedroom, the woman allowed police to search her home and a trash bin outside.

"That's when investigators made a bizarre discovery," DeForest reported. "Inside the trash, detectives uncovered a box full of unused garbage bags, along with photographs of Trenton, a sonogram and several of the boy's toys."

"It strikes me as very odd," the boy's father, Joshua Duckett, said. "I have all of my photos and all of my sonogram pictures from when she was pregnant. To me, it's a shock that you would want to throw stuff like that away."


Watch Local 6 News for more on this story.

monkalup - September 23, 2006 03:04 AM (GMT)
http://www.local6.com/news/9898014/detail.html

New Timeline Released In Missing-Boy Case

POSTED: 12:32 am EDT September 21, 2006
UPDATED: 12:52 am EDT September 21, 2006

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A new timeline focusing on the whereabouts of a missing boy's mom was released Wednesday night and it contradicts what the woman told Local 6 News and police before she committed suicide.

For 24 days, police have been trying to pinpoint where Melinda Duckett, 21, was the day her son Trenton, 2, vanished.

With newly released ATM and cell phone records, authorities are getting a better idea of Duckett's travels.


A witness claims to have seen Duckett by herself inside a Leesburg business at about 8 a.m. the day her son disappeared, Local 6 News reported.

ATM records show that Duckett was still in Leesburg at about 10:39 a.m. on the same morning.

Marion County officials said they believe Duckett then traveled within five miles of Paddock Mall in Ocala, where new cell phone records show her leaving the area at 12:28 p.m.

A witness later spotted Duckett back at her Leesburg apartment shortly before 3 p.m. without her son.

Six hours later, when Duckett reported her son missing from his apartment bedroom, the woman allowed police to search her home and a trash bin outside.

"That's when investigators made a bizarre discovery," Local 6's Mike DeForest said. "Inside the trash, detectives uncovered a box full of unused garbage bags, along with photographs of Trenton, a sonogram and several of the boy's toys."

"It strikes me as very odd," the boy's father, Joshua Duckett, said. "I have all of my photos and all of my sonogram pictures from when she was pregnant. To me, it's a shock that you would want to throw stuff like that away."

Search crews continued looking for Trenton or clues to his whereabouts in the Ocala National Forest Wednesday.


Watch Local 6 News for more on this story.

monkalup - September 24, 2006 08:52 PM (GMT)
http://www.thevillagesdailysun.com/article...news/news03.txt

Leesburg police release more evidence in Duckett case

By DAN SULLIVAN, DAILY SUN

LEESBURG — Investigators released copies of an apparent suicide note Saturday, left by Melinda Duckett, as well as the audio of a 911 call in which her son, 2-year-old Trenton Duckett, was reported missing.

Both items revealed little new information about what Melinda, whom investigators have labeled as their prime suspect in the disappearance, may have known regarding her son’s whereabouts.

The note apparently left by Melinda, which was undated and unsigned, was addressed simply to “Public” and appeared to place the blame for her suicide on the media. Later in the note, Melinda wrote that the decision to take her own life was one she made quickly and without much thought.

Investigators said they retrieved the note from the dashboard of Melinda’s car during a search following her Sept. 8 suicide.

On the 911 recording, an unidentified male talked with the dispatcher while trying to get information about Trenton from Melinda, who seems to be frantically searching her apartment for the boy.

Toward the end of the recording, Melinda herself came on the line and answered questions from the dispatcher about Trenton.




The 911 recording and note were released because they no longer contained sensitive investigative material, police said Saturday.

Trenton’s father, Joshua Duckett, told reporters Saturday that the wording of the note gives him hope that Trenton may still be alive.

“It surprised me in the fact that there’s not that much detail,” Duckett said. “My focus isn’t on her Melinda), it’s on my son. My son’s been my focus since Day 1.”

Trenton Duckett was reported missing Aug. 27. Melinda, his mother, committed suicide Sept. 8, after giving police a vague account of her whereabouts before the boy vanished. Investigators have spent the last several weeks creating a timeline of where Melinda was throughout the weekend of Aug. 26 and 27.

Anyone with information regarding Trenton’s disappearance or current whereabouts, or Melinda’s whereabouts on the weekend of Aug. 26 and 27 is urged to call authorities at (800) CALL-FBI (225-5324).

Dan Sullivan is a reporter with the Daily Sun. He can be reached at 753-1119, ext. 9059, or dan.sullivan@thevillagesmedia.com.



monkalup - September 24, 2006 08:55 PM (GMT)
http://www.dailycommercial.com/main.asp?Se...ArticleID=17820

Mother breathless, upset on tape of 911 call made night of disappearance
LEESBURG - Panic, confusion and weeping are heard on the 911 call made to police when 2-year-old Trenton Duckett was discovered to be missing on Aug. 27.

The first voice Leesburg Police Department's 911 operator hears that evening belongs to a man.

"Melinda Duckett's son is missing," the man says. "Hold on one second. I have to find the address. Melinda?"

The operator asks the man, who sounds distracted, how old Trenton Duckett is.

"Three years old. No. One. Two. Three," the man says. "Um. He was in (his) room. I came over and was watching a movie. He was in his bed, I guess, sleeping.

"We checked on … He's not there."

The operator asks the man to spell "Duckett," what Trenton is wearing and where Melinda Duckett is.

"I don't know (what Trenton is wearing)," he says. "I'm trying to find her. She's out trying to find him."

Trenton is wearing "sleeping clothes," the man says.

About halfway through the four-minute, 13-second tape released by police Saturday at the request of media, Melinda Duckett gets on the line, sounding breathless at times, panicky and disorientated.

The operator asks Melinda Duckett what her son is wearing.

"I don't know. He was ready for bed," Duckett says. Trenton has "his shirt off. Um. No shoes."

Her voice is labored and she breathes heavy into the telephone. Her voice changes abruptly and becomes emphatic and angry sounding.

"I know who fricking did it," she says.

The operator again asks what Trenton is wearing.

Duckett says "a pair of jean shorts. He's 3 years old. Ah."

"And how long has he been gone," the operator asks.

Her voice turns to a near whisper as if she's crying: "I don't know."

"I was … watching a movie that was two hours long, and I had checked on him before … (someone) came down to the house," Duckett says.

"Has he ever done this before," the operator asks.

"Has he ever done what before?" Melinda Duckett says, sounding almost startled at the question.

A moment later, the operator says: "Is there a back way out of the house?"

The response is garbled: "I'm …(I) went outside."

The operator then seems to answer a question from someone on another line or in the room. The other voice can not be heard on the 911 tape. "She … The last time she checked. It was two hours,"

"Are you at the house right now, Melinda?" the operator asks.

In a desperate and exasperated tone, Duckett says: "Yes!"

"Okay. Alrighty. Stay at the house. I'm gonna have officers right there to you," the operator says.

Duckett is heard breathing hard again as if she's weeping.

"Okay?" the operator says again. Duckett is heard muttering affirmatively.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Tape, note reveal little
Melinda Duckett's last words in note have no info about Trenton

Bill Koch
Staff Writer

LEESBURG - Joshua Duckett said he was surprised at the lack of detail in his estranged wife's apparent suicide note.

"Normally she's very detailed," Josh Duckett said of Melinda Duckett, who died Sept. 8 of an apparently self-inflicted shotgun wound in her grandparents' home in The Villages.

"As far as what's in the letter, it doesn't shock me," he said.

Duckett said he plans on focusing on the search for his 2-year-old son, Trenton, who was reported missing Aug. 27 by his mother Melinda Duckett at her Leesburg apartment.








Leesburg police released a note from Melinda Duckett that she left on the dashboard of her car the day she died.

In the letter addressed to the "public," Melinda Duckett blamed media pressure for the stress that led to her apparent suicide. She also fondly mentioned her son.

"Your focus came off of my son," Duckett said in the unsigned two-page letter. "I love him and only wanted him safe in my arms.

"You created rumors and twisted words. Usually I am strong and what others say does not affect me. However I am young, have worked my arse off and still being faced with ridicule and criticism."

Duckett showed little emotion publicly in the days following her son's reported abduction, and criticized media reports for implying her calm demeanor may have implicated her.

"I only wish you do not push anyone else," she said in her note. "I do not bleed my emotions to the public and throughout this situation you did not understand that. There were many more errors you made in understanding me, but time is short and I have more important people to speak to."

Duckett said her focus during the investigation was always on finding Trenton.

"This (writing the note) is a last minute idea, but I have felt myself sinking after 1 week mark of Trent being gone," she said. "I love him dearly and he is all I was breathing for. He was and always will be my essence and as he grows, I want him to know that."

Duckett said she hopes people come to understand her better.

"I have refrained from any negative comments in the hopes that individuals will realize their wrong doings, Thank you for your time."

Joshua Duckett said he had no clue as to Melinda's mental condition, having not seen her for about eight months.

"I don't know what was going through her head," he said.

Duckett also blamed Florida's Department of Children and Families for failing to grant him custody of Trenton or putting the boy in protective custody in a dispute with Melinda Duckett.

"If they had done their job, none of this would have happened," he said.

Joshua Duckett refrained from criticizing Melinda Duckett at a press conference Saturday afternoon at the Leesburg Police Station.

"I'm not going to smash her here," he said.


monkalup - September 24, 2006 08:58 PM (GMT)
Leesburg Police say investigators plan to follow up on a pair of leads Monday in Marion County.


Investigators plan to meet with a business acquaintance of their prime suspect in the case, the boy's mother, Melinda Duckett.

Police say the tipster contacted authorities Saturday night after watching a story on "America's Most Wanted" about Trenton's disappearance.

"There’s no real information about Melinda's involvement in Trenton's disappearance or Trenton's whereabouts, but anyone we can speak to that we haven't already spoken to that knew Melinda may yield some different information, so we're hopeful about that," Capt. Steve Rockefeller from the Leesburg Police Department said.

Based on another tip, police say investigators will conduct another search of the Ocala National Forest on Monday.

They'll take a look at a small area of the forest not checked by investigators during a search last week.

Sunday marked the four-week mark since Trenton was reported missing.

Here is a timeline of events up to now:

Trenton's mother reported him missing on August 27. Leesburg Police issued an Amber Alert saying he was apparently abducted through his bedroom window at the Windermere Apartments.

Federal and state agents canvassed the area, interviewing neighbors and handing out fliers, looking for clues into the boy's disappearance but found nothing.

Over the Labor Day weekend, investigators searched a heavily wooded area in Lady Lake, directly across from Trenton's grandmother's house, but again came up empty.

Police say Melinda Duckett took her own life September 8th, using a gun owned by her grandfather. Leesburg Police released the contents of two notes found in Melinda Duckett's car after her suicide. They also released new 911 tapes.

Dispatch: "911. Do you need police, fire, or ambulance? (pause)"

Bill Eubank: "My granddaughter just killed herself."

Nancy Eubank (background): "She killed herself. She's in the closet dead."

Dispatch: "Sir, what kind of weapon was used?"

Bill Eubank: "I don't know. I guess..."

Dispatch: "Was it a 235?"

Police say one note they found with her was addressed directly to the public.

“Public:

I’m sorry this is short. Usually I plan things out and am better with my writing.

Your focus came off of my son. I love him and only wanted him safe in my arms. You created rumors and twisted words. Usually I am strong and what others say does not affect me. However I am young, have worked my [explicative] off and still being faced with ridicule and criticism.

I only wish you do not push anyone else. I do not bleed my emotions to the public and throughout this situation you did not understand that. There were many more errors you made in understanding me, but time is short and I have more important people to speak to.”

Police say there was also a second note, which appeared to be a continuation of the first.

“There are so many people I would write to if I could and had the time. This is a last minute idea, but I have felt myself sinking after one week mark of Trent[on] being gone. I love him dearly and he is all I was breathing for. He was and always will be my essence and as he grows, I want him to know that.

I have refrained from any negative comments in the hopes that individuals will realize their wrongdoings. Thank you for your time.”

Police say there was no date on the note. She did reference that it had been a week, but Melinda Duckett's suicide came some 12 days after her son was reported missing.

When asked why investigators didn't arrest Melinda Duckett, they said they feared she would have been less cooperative.

Duckett's grandparents told News 13 they blame tough questioning by police and the media for driving their granddaughter to suicide.

CFNews13. com Trenton Duckett Stories
Amber Alert Issued - August 28, 2006
Mark Lunsford Offers His Help to Bring National Attention to Trenton Duckett Disappearance
Melinda Duckett Commits Suicide
Melinda Duckett's MySpace Blog Entries (caution: graphic language)

Captain Rockefeller who is the spokesperson for this search says as of early September, the Leesburg Police Department has spent more than $25,000 looking for Trenton but he says their City Council says investigators should do whatever it takes to find the missing boy.

In the past weeks, police have searched parts of the Ocala National Forest. This began after investigators got a tip from someone saying they saw Trenton and his mother there the weekend the boy disappeared.

Dive teams from Marion County Sheriff's office and the Lake County Sheriff's office probed Lake Farless in the Ocala National Forest but to no avail.

They have no solid proof that Trenton and his mother were ever there in the first place but after the initial tip came in from someone who lives in the area saying they believe it was Melinda who asked for directions to the Farless Lake Campsite, other witnesses have come forward and basically said the same thing.

Investigators also say that they could not confirm some of Melinda's whereabouts from store surveillance video where she told her attorney she visited the weekend Trenton was reported missing.

Captain Rockefeller who is the spokesperson for this search says as of early September, the Leesburg Police Department has spent more than $25,000 looking for Trenton but he says their City Council says investigators should do whatever it takes to find the missing boy.

If you know anything or saw Trenton or his mother on the weekend of August 27, you are asked to call Leesburg police or the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI.


http://www.cfnews13.com/StoryHeadline.aspx?id=18857





monkalup - September 24, 2006 09:01 PM (GMT)
http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/orl-du...-news-headlines



Note found on Duckett's dashboard (PDF)

LEESBURG -- Before she died, Melinda Duckett wrote a letter addressed to the "public" describing the anguish she felt at being "faced with ridicule and criticism" as rumors swirled about her role in the disappearance of her 2-year-old son, Trenton.

"Your focus came off of my son," the 21-year-old wrote. "I love him and only wanted him safe in my arms. You created rumors and twisted words."

When she finished writing, police said, Duckett placed the neatly written, unsigned, two-page letter on the dashboard of her car and walked into her grandparents' Lady Lake home. After getting her grandfather's shotgun, she went inside a closet, placed the gun under her chin and pulled the trigger.

The letter, Duckett wrote, was "a last minute idea but, I have felt myself sinking after 1 week mark of Trent being gone. I love him dearly and he is all I was breathing for. He was and always will be my essence and as he grows, I want him to know that."

Family members later said Duckett was feeling overwhelming stress from the intense media scrutiny after her son's disappearance Aug. 27.

Duckett killed herself Sept. 8, a day after national talk-show host Nancy Grace grilled the young mother about refusing to take a lie-detector test and where she was in the hours before she reported her son missing. The show aired on CNN Headline News the day Duckett died.

"I only wish you do not push anyone else," Duckett wrote. "I do not bleed my emotions to the public and throughout this situation you did not understand that. There were many more errors you made in understanding me, but time is short and I have more important people to speak to."

After releasing the letter Saturday, along with a recording of a 911 call reporting the toddler's disappearance, Leesburg police said the letter can be considered a suicide note. However, investigators would not say whether it means Trenton Duckett is still alive.

"I think she was expressing her feelings at the time," Leesburg Capt. Ginny Padgett said. "I didn't glean anything from it that it would lead us to Trenton."

Investigators said they did not know when the letter was written. But they said it was found in Duckett's silver 2000 Mitsubishi Eclipse parked in her grandparents' driveway the day she killed herself.

The note was examined at an area crime lab, and investigators determined it was very likely written by Melinda Duckett, Padgett said.

Father encouraged

Joshua Duckett, Melinda's ex-husband and Trenton's father, said it was encouraging news regarding the part of the letter mentioning his son growing up.

"That kind of stands out to me," he said. "It gives us a little more hope."

However, he refused to speculate on what led Melinda Duckett to write the letter.

"I don't really know what was going through her head," he said. "My focus isn't on her; it's on my son."

Confused call

The 911 call released Saturday was made Aug. 27 when Melinda Duckett and an unidentified man reported the toddler's disappearance about 9:15 p.m.

"Melinda Duckett's son is missing," the man calmly told a dispatcher. "He was in the bed sleeping. She went in to check on him, and he was not there."

The dispatcher then asked to speak with Melinda, and the man can be heard calling for her three times.



She then comes to the phone, panting. The dispatcher asks her what her son was wearing.

"I don't know. He was ready for bed," she said breathing heavily. "Um, he might have had his shoes off. . . . his shirt off. . . . He had a pair of jean shorts. He's only 2 years old."

In a seemingly desperate voice, she tells the dispatcher: "I was watching a movie that was two hours long. I had checked on him before anyone came down to the house."

Melinda Duckett later told police that she was watching the movie Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels with friends when Trenton was abducted from his room. Police interviewed two men who were at the apartment at the time.

Last week, investigators said one of the friends was Chris Pearce, and that he answered all questions from investigators and passed a polygraph test. Pearce said he never saw Trenton.

Police would not identify the man heard on the 911 tape because of state privacy laws.

Tale of twists

The apparent suicide note is among a long, puzzling string of twists and turns in the case of Trenton Duckett's disappearance.

Last week, police said Melinda Duckett was the prime suspect in the investigation and that they could have arrested her within four days of her son's disappearance. But they were hoping she would lead them to the toddler.

Authorities said they could have charged Melinda in connection with a bogus e-mail they say she used to help her claim that Trenton may have been snatched by Joshua Duckett.

Apparently, according to investigators, Melinda Duckett had hacked into Joshua's MySpace.com account in July and wrote and e-mailed a threatening message to herself. She then used it to file a police complaint and later obtain a court order limiting Joshua's contact with Trenton.

Investigators also said they followed Melinda in the days after she reported Trenton missing. But they would not comment on whether they placed a tracking device on her car or used other surveillance techniques.

FBI agents were on their way to Melinda's grandparents' home in The Villages on the day she shot herself. They were planning to speak with the grandparents, Nancy and Bill Eubank.

Police said Saturday that the search for Trenton will continue.

"We're still encouraged by the number of leads we've been getting," Padgett said.

Martin E. Comas can be reached at mcomas@orlandosentinel.com or 352-742-5927.

monkalup - September 26, 2006 07:54 PM (GMT)
http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/orl-du...-news-headlines

Cops found 2 more notes in mom's car

Christine Dellert | Sentinel Staff Writer
Posted September 26, 2006



LEESBURG -- Before killing herself, Melinda Duckett wrote to her grandparents and law enforcement but left little that would lead police to her missing 2-year-old son, authorities said Monday.

Police found both letters in Duckett's car beside a suicide note addressed to the public, which investigators released Saturday.

But authorities would not release or discuss the notes intended for police and family members, saying neither letter offers new evidence in Trenton Duckett's disappearance. Melinda Duckett, 21, reported the boy missing in a call to police around 9 p.m. Aug. 27, and she killed herself Sept. 8.

"We're looking at volumes of information," Leesburg police Capt. Steve Rockefeller said.

"But as far as where Trenton is or Melinda's involvement . . . there isn't anything to indicate that."

Duckett's parents and her grandparents could not be reached for comment Monday to discuss the letter addressed to them.

Meanwhile, search crews from the Marion County Sheriff's Office received tips -- and a map -- that led them Monday to four possible grave sites in and around the Ocala National Forest, said Sheriff's Office spokesman Capt. James Pogue. By Monday evening, they had found nothing.

Nearly a month after Duckett reported her son missing, Leesburg police said they're scaling back their investigation, acknowledging they may never find Trenton.

Leads are still coming in, especially with continuing national media coverage during the weekend, Rockefeller said. But the number of investigators working the case has been cut in half.

As the search continues, police face questions about how they have managed the investigation.

Authorities immediately denied retrieving any suicide notes after Duckett shot herself in her grandparents' home in The Villages on Sept. 8. But police Monday clarified their initial statements.

"What we said was there are writings and we are not going to characterize those," Leesburg police Capt. Ginny Padgett told the Orlando Sentinel. "We said there were no notes that would lead us to Trenton or his demise."

Melinda Duckett's estranged husband, Joshua Duckett, said Monday that police had told him about the notes hours after her death. "I knew about them all," he said. "I just didn't know what was in them."

She did not leave him a letter.

Joshua Duckett said he has only read the note Melinda addressed to the public, describing the anguish she felt at being "faced with ridicule and criticism" as the case gained more attention and blame shifted in her direction.

Last week, investigators said they could have arrested Duckett within four days of her son's disappearance but chose not to in hopes that she would cooperate with police. The charges would have stemmed from a false, threatening e-mail she sent to herself in July from Joshua's account.

Investigators also began monitoring Melinda Duckett soon after her son reportedly disappeared, but police Monday would not say what methods were used.

Duckett's divorce attorney Kimberly Schulte said Duckett quickly figured out that FBI agents were following her and eagerly cooperated with authorities.

But Rockefeller said Monday that Melinda Duckett was frequently unavailable to meet with detectives.

While deputies again combed through the forest Monday, Leesburg police said they are working to retrieve more of Melinda Duckett's cell-phone records from the two weeks after the reported abduction.

"We're still trying to reach people on the other end of her phone," Rockefeller said.

Police said they have been careful about releasing investigative information to the public, especially before Melinda Duckett's death.

"We would have never released that we were doing any tracking of her cell phone while she was alive because that would have told her everything," Rockefeller said.

Christine Dellert can be reached at cdellert@orlandosentinel.com or 352-742-5917.



monkalup - September 26, 2006 07:56 PM (GMT)

monkalup - October 4, 2006 03:57 AM (GMT)
http://www.dailycommercial.com/main.asp?Se...910&TM=42851.71
10/2/2006 11:22:00 PM Email this article • Print this article
News info leads Duckett search in different direction

Marilyn Aciego
Staff Writer

LEESBURG - Leesburg police on Monday released information that shows Melinda Duckett may have gone in a different direction than first thought on the day before her son was reported missing.

In a press release, Leesburg Capt. Steve Rockefeller said Duckett used a credit card, previously unknown to investigators, to buy gas at a BP station at the corner of U.S. Highway 27 and County Road 48 in southern Leesburg on Aug. 26.

She paid at the pump, and no surveillance is available of the transaction, according to the release.

The purchase was made at 5:25 p.m., less than 11?2 hours after 2-year-old Trenton was last seen by anyone but Melinda. Police believe this means they now must include the southern end of Lake County in their search area.








Duckett told her attorney, Kimberly Shulte, that she drove to the Ocala National Forest after leaving her grandparents' house in Lady Lake. The gas station is in the opposite direction of the forest.

Melinda Duckett reported Trenton missing around 9 p.m. Aug. 27. A timeline put together by police indicates the last time anyone besides Duckett saw the boy was when she left her grandparents' home at around 4 p.m. Aug. 26. Duckett died of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound at her grandparents' home Sept. 8.

Police have concentrated most of their search efforts in the Ocala National Forest, which is in the northern end of the county and goes into neighboring Marion County. Police said the forest is still a significant area in the investigation, but are now asking people in South Lake if they remember seeing Trenton, Melinda or her 2000 silver Mitsubishi Eclipse.

Anyone with information on Trenton's or Melinda's whereabouts on Aug. 26 or 27 is asked to call 800-CALL-FBI.








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