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Loose ends?
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Monday, 27 August 2007 01:15
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On the fateful night of August 27, 2006, a 911 call came in to the Leesburg Police Department. Two-year-old Trenton Duckett had been reportedly snatched through his bedroom window while his mother and her friends were watching a movie. The case received very little media or Internet coverage prior to the airing of an interview between Nancy Grace and Trenton's mother, Melinda Duckett. Grace hosts numerous cases, so what was it that made this particular case stand out? Prior to the airing of the interview, Melinda Duckett allegedly took her life in her grandparent's home.

High-profile crimes typically attract a variety of individuals. This case would be no different. Whether they're self-proclaimed psychics[1] and scammers,[2] who see an opportunity to make some money or those who seem to be a tad on this side of mentally imbalanced[3] or just your average armchair sleuth. In the beginning, they seemingly came in droves to pick over the carnage of the newly deceased. There were also a select few skeptics who looked on with horror and disbelief as the appalling beyond the pale behavior of 'so-called' adults unfolded before their eyes.[4]

The skeptical few were mostly 'e-shouted' down, through a combination of name-calling, profanity, and thinly veiled threats. When that did not silence them, along came the vulgar MySpace pages, obscene nyms, false ToS reports, eventually escalating to quite illegal behavior to include but not limited to DDoS attacks, hacking into people's bank accounts, and in some instances, contacting their employers and immediate family members. Such behavior, of course, only increased the skeptics resolve. Something was going on (why else would these people engage in such?) and they intended to get to the bottom of it.

In the days and months that followed Melinda Duckett's violent death, the media machine seemed to be at its pinnacle as it cranked out sensationalistic headlines and talk-show hosts nattered on about ten-inch slits,[5] bags and blood,[6] fraudulent email,[7] pornography[8] and bank embezzlement.[9] Law enforcement tantalized the public's hunger for gore by dribbling out Melinda's suicide notes,[10] though it remains unclear exactly how many notes were found.[11] Especially considering they originally claimed "there were no suicide notes"[12] in conjunction with the still unreleased pages. With the airing of each morsel, the public's outrage grew. And by mid-November, hate-filled remarks and racist epithets seemed to be the norm rather than the exception.

As days stretched into weeks and weeks stretched into months, and while the email remains a bone of contention between people who have little to no understanding of network protocol or disk drive technology, other rumors were being laid to rest. The ten-inch "slit" became a 10-by-32-inch u-shaped cutout,[13] the black plastic bags and blood turned into white plastic bags and rust,[14] and the bank embezzlement turned out to be yet more hot air. The source of these rumors? The Leesburg Police and Laurie Konnerth, apparently.[15]

By January, several individuals were speaking with both paternal and maternal family members, MCSO and the Leesburg Police Department were at odds, and scrutiny of the families' dysfunctional dynamics—of which there seemed to be an abundance—increased in intensity. By mid-month, Ms. Duckett's anomally-filled autopsy was released,[16] and by the end of January, MCSO dropped yet another bombshell. They believed that Melinda may have spirited Trenton away to South Korea.[17] In addition to their new theory, they revealed that Melinda attempted to borrow between three and five thousand dollars from friends[18] and that she had tried to schedule a visit with James Duckett, Trenton's paternal grandfather, the weekend her son went missing.[19] Duckett is on death row for the rape and murder of 11-year-old Teresa McAbee of Mascotte, Florida.[20] Some believe he may be additionally responsible for two unsolved murders[21] while others think he may be wholly innocent.[22]

By mid-March, a request was made to spread the word "far and wide" that Carla Massero was stonewalling MCSO, specifically Art King and Rhonda Stroup, who wanted her to take a polygraph. Like clockwork, Massero went to the press and like clockwork, she managed to look quite foolish as she bemoaned a handful of posters railing against her on an obscure Internet message board.[23] Since Massero was unable to pinpoint any leaks (there weren't any) she went with the hitman story,[24] apparently forgetting that rumor had been floating around the net since late last fall.[25]

Early April brought new informationHi there. I've been lurking around some of the boards and saw this today. Are they still talking about the porn videos of Mindy? It makes me crazy that Josh actually answered that he hadn't seen them! If you want, you can let it out that I (you can name names) have seen the videos personally and that Josh is actually starring in them. LE all have the videos now and there is no doubt as to their authenticity. regarding Melinda's alleged pornography. An interesting package was being delivered via snail mail to various parties, including law enforcement. Why might the filming of sex acts between two consenting adults in the privacy of their own home matter? Or does it? Generally not however the package also contained a dated still shot from the accompanying video of Joshua Duckett in a compromising position. And, in light of the fact that this was the very same video that he not only used to demonstrate that Melinda Duckett was an unfit parent in a complaint to DCF on October 31, 2005, but it contained scenes that the media had excerpted and plastered on their headline news last fall[26] even though law enforcement knew of, and considered the video irrelevant, from the onset of their investigation. What then was the purpose of leaking the video to the media? That is, outside of further fueling public anger toward the deceased girl while at the same time shoring up sympathy for the innocent daddy whose mommy has a "really nice double-wide" in Croom-a-Coochee?[27]

Speaking of Carla Massero. By mid-April, those who have been following this case were introduced to 27-year-old Jason Fort, a racing buddy of Joshua Duckett and son of close family friend, Iris Payne. The latter was named in an injunction alleging harassment that Joshua filed against his mother in August of 2005.[28] Fort is also Massero's new paramour.[29] And though she kicked her husband, Kevin Massero, to the curb in February of 2006, and began 'dating' her friend's son, there is no record of an official divorce. Court documents show that Kevin Massero spent the majority of the last year in and out of jail for a variety of infractions[30] and was incarcerated as recently as February 10, 2007, for posession of cocaine.[31] Yet another rumor—claims of false allegations regarding Kevin's controlled substance use—laid to rest.

With the approach of the end of summer, Trenton's third birthday, and the anniversary of his disappearance, came increased intensity in the harassment department, whispers of a pending arrest, and allegedly staged crime scene photos.[32] For example, how did the picture that was on the floor in Fox News shot[33] end upright and on the little table in the crime scene photos?[34] Furthermore, who moved the pillows on Trenton's bed? And what about the suitcase containing numerous 'infant-sized' clothes, a single toddler-sized coat, and a framed picture[35] of Joshua Duckett's late friend, Timothy James Nordle Jr?[36] In short, the photos raise more questions than they answer. As for the media, why did they make a production over the throwing away of an inaccurate flier?[37] [38] And why are "sources" telling the media that "Melinda Duckett was getting rid of any evidence that he had ever lived there" when there is ample evidence available indicating otherwise?[39] What picture are they trying to paint and who is helping them paint it?

Staged crime scene photo allegations notwithstanding, Leesburg police are adamant: "Melinda Duckett still remains the only suspect in this case," and they are "certain he was not kidnapped and that his mother did not turn him over to a third party."[40] Although Joshua was mysteriously missing from the press conference, Massero attended and parroted Rockefeller's assertion: "the family continues to believe Trenton is alive" and "their family doesn't believe in the abduction or hand-off theory,"[41] MCSO disagrees. Although they still believe Melinda was behind Trenton's disappearance, they continue to believe that a hand-off occurred.[42]

In the mean time, the New York Eubank's wrongful death suit against Nancy Grace, et al has been wending its way through the Florida federal court system, co-defendent, Joshua Duckett's motion to dismiss was granted, the plaintiffs motion to enjoin Laurie Konnerth—Trenton Duckett Family Charitable Trust Fund signatory—was denied,[43] and James Duckett filed a 213 page writ of habeus corpus citing 16 points of error, among which included, issues of witness tampering, withholding of exculpatory evidence, and inadequate counsel. Duckett's attorney puts forth a compelling argument that he was wrongly convicted.

In all, and when considering Melinda's reported fear, the attempted borrowing of money, and the failed attempt to visit the senior Duckett, in conjunction with the odd events surrounding his arrest, conviction, and sentencing, a very murky picture emerges. Add to that, the real-life harassment of those who are skeptical that Melinda was involved in the disappearance of her son, and one cannot help but to wonder, just what is going on here? One is left with the sense that someone has been attempting to tie up loose ends in the form of intimidation through scare tactics and a possible kidnapping of a two-year-old little boy to shut somebody up. It is not any one thing, per se. Rather, it is the totality of events and people involved along with the numerous statistical exceptions, that together, defy logic. Then again, perhaps we have timewarped to a parallel universe.

Sarcasm aside, if this particular Gordian knot can be untangled, then just perhaps, we will find answers to questions long ago asked. More importantly, just perhaps we will find little Trenton Duckett. One can only hope.

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