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Missing boy's mom's death ruled suicide

The 21-year-old was found shot in the head at her grand-parents' home. Her 2-year-old son disappeared two weeks ago.

By JOHN FRANK
Published September 10, 2006


LEESBURG - When the mother of a missing 2-year-old committed suicide Friday, it raised an overwhelming question: why?

Authorities have said nothing more about a motive or a suicide note, but Melinda Duckett's adoptive parents said suicide didn't make sense.

"If your child's missing, you don't commit suicide," Duckett's mother, Beth Eubank, told the Lockport Union-Sun & Journal in Lockport, N.Y. "If your child is missing, you try to find them."

Duckett, 21, was found shot in the head in her grandparents' home in the Villages of Lady Lake.

Her son, Trenton Duckett, disappeared from his bedroom at a Leesburg apartment complex where he lived with his mother. Police think he was taken through a hole cut in a window screen. He was reported missing Aug. 27.

Friends, family and investigators have been looking for answers, poring over Duckett's statements in the hours leading to her death.

She gave indications that she was a distressed young mother on the verge of buckling under the weight of the difficult situation.

When an Orlando television reporter visited the grandparents' home just hours before Duckett was reported dead, grandmother Nancy Eubank said Duckett was "worn out, nervous and heartbroken."

The day before, Duckett taped an interview with cable TV news host Nancy Grace, which aired hours after her body was found Friday.

In the telephone interview, Duckett complained about her estranged husband, 21-year-old Joshua Duckett, and criticized the tactics of the police and news media.

She refused to answer questions about why she didn't take a polygraph test like the one her husband passed earlier in the week. Her attorney, Kimberly Schulte, has said she advised her client not to take the polygraph test.

Melinda Duckett ended the interview by handing the phone to her grandmother, who explained that the pressure is "just about more than she can handle right now."

Nancy Eubank also defended her granddaughter. "Melinda has not hurt his baby," she said on the program.

Joshua Duckett spoke for the first time Saturday about Melinda and their rocky relationship that started at age 17.

He said that she was adopted as a child from Korea.

Her parents sent her to live with her grandparents during high school because she was misbehaving.

"It's honestly a tragedy," he said. "There was ill will. But there's still those feelings because you can't stop loving someone overnight."

Joshua and Melinda Duckett were married in July 2005, a month before Trenton's first birthday.

"They met in high school, went together and things evolved, and they ended up having to get married," said Don Jordan, Joshua Duckett's uncle, who lives in Plant City. "A young couple has a tough time getting started that way, and they just didn't make it."

Joshua Duckett said he hopes their troubled background doesn't distract from the search for Trenton.

"One life's been lost," he said, "there's no use losing another."

 

[Last modified September 10, 2006, 01:15:05]


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