Melinda Duckett put her 2-year-old son, Trenton, to bed around 7:00 pm on Sunday, August 27, 2006. She and a couple of friends then settled into the living room of her Leesburg, Florida apartment to watch some movies. Melinda went into Trenton’s bedroom to check on him at 9:00 pm and found only an empty crib. Trenton was gone.

Trenton was the son of Melinda and Joshua Duckett, high school sweethearts who got married in July 2005 but separated in July 2006. Josh and Melinda were both 21 years old and had a tumultuous relationship. When Trenton went missing, his parents were involved in a bitter custody dispute; both Melinda and Josh wanted full custody of the toddler. Now, neither of them knew where the little boy was.

Melinda called the Leesburg Police Department and reported Trenton missing at 9:00 pm on Sunday, and officers immediately descended on the Windemere Villas apartment complex where she lived. As they searched through Melinda’s small apartment, she pointed out that there was a 10-inch cut in the window screen in her son’s bedroom. Detectives told reporters that it appeared the child had been removed from the apartment through that window.

Because Trenton was so young, the Leesburg police started a large-scale search for him right away. The FBI and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement both sent agents to look for Trenton in the hopes that having more people on the case would help it end quickly. They interviewed people in the apartment complex by going door-to-door and asking if anyone had seen anything strange that night.

Early Monday morning, the boy went missing, and the police put out an Amber Alert. They thought he was in immediate danger, but they admitted they still didn’t know what had happened to him. No one who lived in Windemere Villas remembered hearing or seeing anything strange the night Trenton went missing, and the toddler had not been seen since.

A press conference was held on Tuesday, and Melinda begged for help in finding her son. He was smart, friendly, and well-behaved, and he loved chasing ducks at a nearby pond. She told reporters that he was just starting to talk. She said she was busy handing out flyers about missing people at local businesses and doing anything else she could to help with the investigation. “As long as it helps us find him.”

The search for Trenton had not made much progress by Tuesday. More than 100 police officers went back to the Windemere Villas apartment complex to search the area again and keep talking to people who live there. Though six bloodhounds were used to search the complex, they were not able to find Trenton’s trail.

Even though it was discouraging that they still couldn’t find the boy, Leesburg Police Capt. Steve Rockefeller said, “We have been getting some leads and some tips.” He also said that investigators thought there were several people with important information that they were not sharing, but he wouldn’t say anything else about it.

Police spent most of Wednesday talking to registered sex offenders who lived in Trenton’s area, but they couldn’t link any of them to his disappearance. Team Adam, a part of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, helped the police by handing out flyers about Trenton and talking to his family. Andrew Vita, a member of Team Adam, told reporters that the police were ready to do anything to find Trenton. “There is a lot of work going into the investigation.” There’s work going on all night. The police have been here for a few days.

Detectives were told by people who lived in the Windemere Villas apartment complex that they hadn’t seen much of Trenton before he went missing. People who lived nearby told the police that they didn’t even know there was a child living in the apartment because they rarely saw him playing outside. They said that Melinda often had people over, but she didn’t throw loud parties or act badly toward her neighbors.

The police said on Friday that they had no proof that Trenton had been hurt and that he might be being held somewhere nearby. They said that his parents had a custody dispute, and they were looking into the possibility that this fight was what caused him to disappear. Investigators said that in the months before Trenton went missing, both parents made accusations of abuse and violent threats against each other.

The year before, Melinda was hospitalized against her will because she said she was going to hurt herself, and Josh said she also said she was going to hurt their son. At the time, the couple lived in Bushnell, Florida. Bushnell police confirmed that they had been called to the couple’s home several times when their arguments got out of hand. They had also been called when Melinda was accused of neglecting her son, but it turned out that the accusation was false.

Reporters asked Melinda about her stay in the hospital, but she refused to talk about it. She only said that she had been too busy being a mother to think about anything else and never meant to hurt herself or anyone else. Josh wouldn’t talk to reporters about his marriage to Melinda. He only said that he was helping the police and wanted to find his son.

A week after Trenton went missing, police went back to the Windemere Villas apartment complex and pulled over every car that went by. “This was done to get in touch with people on the same day and at the same time that Trenton disappeared,” Leesburg Police Capt. Ginny Padgett told reporters. Even though they talked to people in more than 500 cars, they didn’t learn anything useful that helped them with their investigation.

At a news conference on September 5, 2006, Josh Duckett spoke in public for the first time. This man said that his son was a “ball of joy” who was always “bouncing off the walls.” He said that his relationship with Melinda was not great, but he insisted that finding Trenton was the most important thing. “There’s some bad blood, but that’s not the main problem.” He told them he was putting up thousands of missing flyers and working with the police as much as possible to find his son.

Melinda didn’t show up to the news conference, but she did tell reporters that she was still helping the police and that she had passed a voice stress test earlier this week. The police wouldn’t say anything about her results.

Capt. Rockefeller told reporters that detectives were trying to find out where Trenton was the two days before he disappeared. “There are other people who said they saw him that Saturday, but we’re still looking for more.” He said that detectives had talked to the two men Melinda was with when Trenton went missing. Both of them said they had not seen the child at all while they were there.

Ten days after Trenton went missing, police said that everyone, including Josh and Melinda, could be a suspect in his disappearance. The next day, they changed their minds and told reporters that Josh had a polygraph test less than 24 hours after his son was reported missing and that they were “satisfied with the results.” But Melinda refused to take the polygraph test, saying that she had just hired a lawyer who told her not to. “We’re focusing a little bit less on Joshua,” Capt. Rockefeller said.

Trenton’s disappearance was talked about on Nancy Grace’s hour-long CNN show almost two weeks after he went missing. She had become very interested in the case and hoped that the extra attention would help find the missing toddler. “One person might see this kid and know something about them.” I need to find Trenton Duckett. I need to know where this child is.

On September 7, 2006, Nancy Grace talked to both Josh and Melinda. The episode about Trenton’s disappearance was set to air the next day. The whole thing had been very scary for Melinda because Nancy Grace didn’t seem to believe she was telling the truth about what had happened to her son. Around 3 p.m. on September 8, 2006, Melinda k*illed herself with her grandfather’s shotgun in his closet. This was just a few hours before her interview was set to air on national TV.

When Melinda’s family spoke out in her defense, they said she k*illed herself not because she felt guilty about what happened to Trenton but because she was being picked on by the news media. Bill Eubanks, her grandfather, told reporters, “Nancy Grace and the others, they just beat her up until the end.”That child and she loved each other so much…”She wouldn’t hurt a fly,”

Once Melinda was de*ad, police confirmed that she was the main suspect in Trenton’s disappearance. They still didn’t know for sure where Melinda and her son were the day before he disappeared. Melinda said they went shopping and then drove around for a while in her Mitsubishi Eclipse. Capt. Rockefeller asked the public to help him check her story. “Please call us if you think you saw Melinda and Trenton during that time.”

The family of Melinda said that the news media was to blame for her death, but Josh said that the police and reporters had looked at him just as closely. “They asked me things. She only had to be honest when she answered the questions, just like I did. At first, people were also pointing fingers at me. But I told them the truth and showed that I had nothing to do with it.

Investigators were saddened when Melinda k*illed herself, but they were still determined to find Trenton. It was true that Capt. Rockefeller didn’t think the boy had been taken by a stranger. “It’s more likely that Melinda had something to do with Trenton going missing.” Although he didn’t know if the child was still alive or de*ad, he did say that it had been 26 hours since anyone other than Melinda had seen Trenton.

Melinda bought a shotgun at a pawn shop two days before Trenton went missing. However, this was not the gun she used to k*ill herself. Josh told the police that Melinda had shot at a rifle range before, but he didn’t know that she had bought a gun so soon before his son went missing.

Melinda’s lawyer, Kimberly Schulte, told the news media some of the things she had learned from her client before she died, three weeks after Trenton was last seen. Kimberly says that Melinda drove around with her son on the Saturday before he went missing. She brought her brand-new rifle with her because she wanted to go target shooting in Ocala National Forest. But she said she got lost and couldn’t find the shooting range. She had driven around aimlessly for eight hours, stopping only to change Trenton’s diaper in the Altamonte Mall parking lot. She hadn’t asked anyone for directions.

When asked about her client’s claims, Kimberly said that Melinda’s story sounded unbelievable but added, “Melinda wasn’t good at following directions.” “She lost her way.” The client gave her a hand-drawn map of the route she had taken, she said. “She had nothing to hide.” Kimberly said she had no idea what was going on with Trenton. “She didn’t do it, I promise.” No. May I tell you that she did it? No. Yet I know she loved that child.

Investigators said they thought Melinda had hurt her son almost from the beginning. They pointed out that some of his toys and pictures were found in a dumpster at the apartment complex just one day after he was reported missing. A picture of Melinda’s sonogram taken while she was pregnant with Trenton was also found in the trash. It looked like Melinda got rid of everything in her apartment that made her think of her son before she even called the police to report that he was missing.

She threw things away, and Josh was shocked when he found out about it. “It seems very strange to me.” I mean, I still have all of my pictures of him and the sonograms I took when she was pregnant. He said he had always thought Melinda was telling lies about what happened to his son. “I’ve had my doubts from the beginning.” “But those are just thoughts.” He held on to the hope that Trenton was somewhere alive and well.

Detectives and cadaver dogs searched parts of Ocala National Forest for clues about where Trenton was but couldn’t find any. They said they didn’t have any proof that Melinda k*illed the child, but they also said they didn’t have any proof that he was alive.

Despite what Melinda had told her lawyer about driving around with Trenton for hours the day before he vanished, at least two witnesses claimed to have seen Melinda alone in Leesburg that day. It was possible that Trenton had never been in the apartment at all on Sunday; whatever happened to him may have taken place on Saturday.

There have been dozens of searches for Trenton over the years, but no trace of him has ever been found. Detectives believe that he was most likely kil*led by his mother, but with no solid evidence to back this theory up, he remains classified as a missing person. Josh continues to hold out hope that his son is still alive and he will one day be reunited with him.

Trenton John Duckett was just 2 years old when he vanished from Leesburg, Florida in August 2006. Detectives believe his mother was involved in his disappearance but they do not know if he is alive or d*ead. Trenton has brown hair and brown eyes, and at the time of his disappearance, he was 3 feet tall and weighed 35 pounds. He was last seen wearing denim shorts and a blue and green striped shirt. If you have any information about Trenton, please contact the Leesburg Police Department at 352–787–2121.

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