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Commentary, sarcasm and snide remarks from a Florida resident of over thirty years. Being a glutton for punishment is a requirement for residency here. Who am I? I've been called a moonbat by Michelle Malkin, a Right Wing Nut by Daily Kos, and middle of the road by Florida blog State of Sunshine. Tell me what you think.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

More on Trenton Duckett

Isn't he a good looking boy? How anyone could do harm to someone like this is beyond me.

But someone has harmed Trenton Duckett. The boy is still missing.

OCALA NATIONAL FOREST -- Dive teams from the Lake and Marion County Sheriff's Offices searched Farles Lake in the Ocala National Forest today for any sign of missing 2-year-old Trenton Duckett, police said.

Today's search for the baby is smaller than yesterday, and most investigators involved with the case are resting, debriefing and choosing their next move, Leesburg Police Capt. Steve Rockefeller said.

Yesterday, officials mounted the largest search yet for the Leesburg boy reportedly snatched from his bed 22 days ago.

More than 100 searchers, plus 17 dogs, ATV's and dive teams, turned up nothing in the forest yesterday. Investigators scoured 11 miles of desolate roadway, the thick underbrush beside it and nearby lakes inside the forest. They said a tipster had a conversation there with Trenton's mother Melinda Duckett on the day she reported Trenton missing.
Trenton's mother, Melinda Duckett, took her own life on September 8th. Because of this, suspicion has fallen on the mother and with good reason.

As I blogged before, Nancy Grace of CNN made up her mind about who is responsible for Trenton's disapearance. TFM has even bought into that theory. However Lauren Ritchie at the Orlando Sentinel has written two columns, the latest was published today, that shows there was much drama about Trenton before he died and not all of it produced by his mother.

Today, the story resumes with events leading to his disappearance and Melinda's decision to fatally shoot herself on Sept. 8. One incident was critical, and it happened April 30, 2005.

After a long day in which the couple had a running argument during a series of cell-phone calls, the young father rang Melinda once again and used the speaker-phone option on his cell phone so a group of his friends and others standing outside his mother's flower shop could hear the conversation. One of the listeners in the circle was Joyce Wells, police chief in Bushnell and friend of the Duckett family.

She heard Melinda stop yelling, sigh, then say that she couldn't take it anymore and was going to "end it." In a police report, Wells acknowledged that Melinda didn't say what she would end or how.

Next thing Melinda knew, however, she was explaining her comments to a psychiatrist at a mental-health facility in Leesburg, where Wells had her involuntarily committed under the state's Baker Act. Social workers took Trenton. What a misuse of the Baker Act.

Two months later, Melinda and Josh married in a ceremony at a Dade City farm converted to host special events. The couple's decision to wed defies logical explanation -- it came after two years of bitter battles.

Two weeks before the ceremony in Pasco County, Duckett signed a sworn statement recanting the accusations he'd repeatedly lodged with state workers and police officers about his son's mother. He stated that "difficulty" with his telephone made it hard to understand what Melinda said during that conversation on April 30. Melinda is a good mom who has Trenton's best interest at heart, he asserted.

Best? Worst? Best? Worst? It depended what day Josh was asked.

Here, we must take a deep breath.

There is more turmoil to be told, much more. It seems almost as if the people surrounding Trenton lived for conflict. It is impossible to detail it all. Josh's friends from Bushnell were involved in the fray; his mother, Carla Massero, took part. Then, a month after the marriage, Josh unsuccessfully sought an injunction against Massero. He swore in statements that his mother harassed him and his wife and threatened to take their baby from them. At one point in the disputes, Melinda bit Massero's arm.

This level of drama is absurd to most of us.

After two months of relative quiet, the couple in late October left a court-ordered counseling session early because Trenton was fussy, and they began driving around, arguing about their finances. They got into a physical tussle over the car keys while parked at the West Oaks Mall in Orange County, and their fragile alliance fell apart, sparking more months of dispute over a variety of issues, including child support Josh had failed to pay.

Melinda filed for divorce June 14, and on July 3 -- their one-year wedding anniversary -- she received a vicious e-mail vowing to kill her and her son. She called her parents in New York, hysterical, when she opened it July 4.

Who sent the threat? Melinda says Josh; he denies it. A judge, however, on July 5 issued an injunction prohibiting Josh from seeing Melinda and the boy.

Seven weeks later, Trenton was gone.

As the days pass, it seems increasingly likely that the youngster who learned just the day before his disappearance to choose what shirt to wear is gone for good.

The mysteries, however, remain. It is all too mind-boggling. The scenarios, as Josh remarked several days ago, are nearly endless.

And while it hardly seems possible that a child could so thoroughly vanish from this community, it appears that this one has. After all, he was adrift in life with a young mother whose maturity level wasn't the highest, who had tenuous ties to Lake County and who struggled through a sham of a marriage laced with accusations and constant battles to keep her son.

Is the boy living with some faraway relative? Are his remains in the Lake County landfill?
I certainly hope its the former. Graham's column shows that the Melinda Duckett theory is not the only possible explanation for the disappearance of Trenton. Did myself and others jump to conclusions? Could Nancy Grace really have pushed Melinda Duckett over the edge?

If Melinda Duckett is exonerated, Nancy Grace will get one of my knucklehead awards. CNN should fire the woman also if it turns out Melinda Duckett is innocent.

We don't know that right now. One interesting thing, I saw the very end of Nancy Grace's show last Friday. There was mention of some advertisement for a baby seat, and supposedly placed by Melinda Duckett. Is there anyone out there who saw Friday's show or even the ad who can fill me in? I've done a web search looking for info on the car seat angle and came up empty. So please leave a comment to this post with your email address if you can help me out.

TFM will continue to follow this story, even though its emotionally draining for me. My own son Daniel died three years ago. I don't understand how two parents and families could fight like they did over this child. God bless Trenton Duckett.

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