MP of the week: Trenton Duckett

This week’s featured missing person is Trenton John Duckett, who disappeared from Leesburg, Florida on August 26, 2006, just two weeks after his second birthday.

This case is a fairly well-known one. Trenton went missing in the middle of his parents’ contentious divorce, and both parents publicly accused the other one of being behind his disappearance. The investigation quickly focused on his mother, Melinda, as Trenton was in her care when he disappeared. After her son went missing, Melinda apparently threw out his photos and some of his toys, which is odd to say the least.

Unfortunately, things ground to a screeching halt after Melinda’s suicide on September 8, thirteen days after her son’s disappearance. After getting aggressively grilled on national TV by Nancy Grace about her missing boy, Melinda hid inside her grandparents’ closet and shot herself.

Melinda’s family subsequently sued Nancy Grace and her network for wrongful death. The suit was settled out of court. It’s worth noting that Melinda had a history of depression, suicidal ideation and psychiatric hospital stays, so I don’t think her death can be put down to Nancy Grace’s interview, but that certainly didn’t help matters.

Trenton’s mother took whatever she knew to her grave. And since then there hasn’t been much activity in Trenton’s case. The cops seem to think Melinda probably killed him.

If still alive, Trenton would be 18 now. He would probably have no memory of his pre-disappearance life and, perhaps, no idea he’s listed as a missing child.

Trenton is half-white, half-Korean, with brown hair and brown eyes. I hope he’s still alive, but I think it’s unlikely.

Article about Nancy Grace settlement

I found this long article about the possible impact the Nancy Grace/Melinda Duckett settlement could have. As I have blogged before, Melinda is the prime suspect in her son Trenton‘s disappearance. She killed herself after Nancy Grace ripped into her for the TV show, and her parents sued, saying Nancy Grace was to blame. The settlement, as far as I can tell, doesn’t benefit them at all — all the money goes to fund the search for Trenton, and will be given to him if he’s ever found.

(I need to find some way to do a “possibly related posts” thingy. I’m tired of recapping a case every single time I blog about it.)

Nancy Grace/Melinda Duckett lawsuit settled

I have written before about the lawsuit filed by Trenton Duckett‘s grandparents against talk show host Nancy Grace and her network, CNN. In a nutshell: Melinda was, and remains, the prime suspect in Trenton’s 2006 disappearance. Nancy conducted an aggressive interview with her for the show, and only hours later, Melinda killed herself. Her parents said it was the interview that pushed her over the edge. This in spite of the fact that Melinda had a documented history of instability and suicide attempts and had been hospitalized multiple times for her mental problems.

Anyway, the suit has been settled after four years of wrangling: CNN agreed to set up a $200,000 trust fund to help finance the search for Trenton. If Trenton (who would now be six years old) is found alive before the age of thirteen, whatever remains in the fund will be given to him. If he is not found by then, or if he is found dead, the fund goes to the NCMEC.

I highly doubt Trenton will be found alive, but the NCMEC is certainly a worthy cause.

Melinda Duckett/Nancy Grace lawsuit

Justin sent me this article (a few months old) about Melinda Duckett’s family’s pending lawsuit against Nancy Grace, which is scheduled to go to trial late this month. For the uninitiated: Melinda is the prime and only suspect in the 2006 disappearance of her two-year-old son, Trenton. On September 7, which was twelve days after Trenton’s disappearance, Nancy Grace conducted an aggressive interview with Melinda for her talk show. Melinda committed suicide the next day, hours before the interview was scheduled to air. She was only twenty-one years old. Her family is suing Nancy Grace for wrongful death, alleging that the interview pushed Melinda over the edge and caused her to shoot herself.

I will freely admit that I can’t stand Nancy Grace. But I really hope this lawsuit does not go anywhere. This is not a Phoebe Prince situation. Melinda’s death is of course regrettable, and I feel very sorry for her parents and grandparents and whatever other family she has, but Nancy Grace did not make her kill herself. Melinda had a history of depression and unstable behavior, two prior admissions to mental hospitals (as documented in the article), and an extremely volatile relationship with her ex-husband with accusations and more substantial things thrown on both sides. Furthermore, the facts indicate that Melinda was almost certainly the person behind her son’s disappearance — God only knows what she did to him — so she had only herself to blame for the situation that lead to her death.