A Mother's Call for HelpOn August 27, 2006 two-year-old Trenton Duckett was reported missing by his 21-year-old mother, Melinda Duckett. According to Duckett, she put her son to bed and was watching movies in the other room with friends. Around 9 p.m., she went to check on her young son and found that Trenton Duckett was gone. The only clue the Florida, Leesburg's police had to go on was a cut in the window screen of the boy's room.
An Amber Alert was issued and police from six local agencies armed with bloodhounds along with local volunteers began searching for the missing boy. Roadblocks were set up and flyers with pictures of the missing boy were distributed. But as the days went on, there was little information coming in for the investigators to go on in their search.
A Troubled MarriageMelinda and Joshua Duckett first began dating in high school and married in July 2005, a month before Trenton turned a year old. But soon the two split up and began arguing over who would keep baby Trenton.
In June 2006, Melinda filed for divorce and was later granted a temporary restraining order against Joshua after he sent a threatening email to Melinda from his MySpace account, which Joshua denies ever sending. In the email, Joshua alledgedly threatened to hunt Melinda and Trenton down and kill them.
Grandfather Duckett on Death RowJoshua Duckett dealt with a history of family violence. His father, James Duckett, was a Macotte, Florida police officer when in 1987, he was arrested and later convicted for the rape, strangulation and drowning of an 11-year-old girl. He is currently on death row in Florida.
Reportedly, Joshua and his mother also have a past speckled with fighting. In 2005, Joshua was denied a request for a court injunction against his mother for making repeated harassing calls to his home and threatening to kidnap Trenton.
Joshua Duckett Cooperated With PolicePolice questioned Joshua and were satisfied that he was was telling the truth when he told them he was in Sumter County with his mother when the report was first issued about the disappearance of his son. It has also been reported that Joshua agreed to a polygraph and the police were satisfied with the test results.
Joshua Duckett told the news media that he had not seen his son since June 2006 and made a public plea saying, "Whoever has him, please return him safe. I love him to death. He's my pride and joy, and I just want him returned safe." He also said he was doing everything he could to help police and cooperating fully with their investigation.
A Questionable Time SequenceAbout a week into the investigation, police began to question the time sequence into when Trenton went missing and when he was first reported missing. Investigators reported there was a possibility that Trenton could have been missing up to two days before Melinda contacted police. Police could not find anyone who saw Trenton since he was picked up from day care on Friday, August 25, other than Melinda.
In an attempt to put together a timeline of events, investigators ask anyone who saw Trenton, his mother, Melinda Duckett, 21, or his father, Joshua Duckett, on Saturday, Aug. 26, and on Sunday, Aug. 27, to call 800-CALL-FBI.
Mark Lunsford Helps In The SearchMark Lunsford, whose nine-year-old daughter Jessica was kidnapped from her bedroom and killed, came to the area and helped hand out flyers with Joshua Duckett. Lunsford, who is now a child advocate, hoped his presence might help increase the national media to focus on the missing child.
Disturbing ReportsOn Thursday, September 7, the report came out that Melinda, unlike any other family members, had refused to take a polygraph. Although this in itself is not an admission of guilt, many have speculated as to her reasons for not wanting to be polygraphed.
Another Fatal Blow to the InvestigationOn Friday, September 8, Melinda Duckett shot and killed herself while at her grandparents' home. She left no suicide note or any other clues as to what happened to her son. Her grandparents said prior to her suicide she was extremely exhausted and distraught over her son's disappearance.
Still MissingFor authorities, this is just one more major glitch to an already difficult case. Although Duckett's suicide is considered a "major development into the investigation of Trenton" as it stands - the whereabouts of the toddler is still unknown. Now with Melinda dead, investigators can only wonder what clues she took with her.