Before she killed herself, Melinda Duckett wrote a letter addressed to the "public" describing the anger she felt at being "faced with ridicule..."
LEESBURG, Fla. — Before she killed herself, Melinda Duckett wrote a letter addressed to the “public” describing the anger she felt at being “faced with ridicule and criticism” as rumors swirled about her role in the disappearance of her son, Trenton, 2.
“Your focus came off of my son,” the 21-year-old wrote. “I love him and only wanted him safe in my arms. You created rumors and twisted words.”
When she finished writing, police said Duckett placed the neatly written, unsigned, two-page letter on the dashboard of her car and walked into her grandparents’ home. She fetched her grandfather’s shotgun and went inside a closet, placed the gun under her chin and fatally shot herself.
The letter, Duckett wrote, was “a last minute idea but, I have felt myself sinking after 1 week mark of Trent being gone. I love him dearly and he is all I was breathing for. He was and always will be my essence and as he grows, I want him to know that.”
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Family members later said Duckett was feeling overwhelming stress from the intense media scrutiny after her son’s disappearance Aug. 27.
Duckett killed herself Sept. 8, a day after national talk-show host Nancy Grace grilled her about refusing to take a lie-detector test and about where she was in the hours before she reported her son missing. The show aired on CNN Headline News the day Duckett died.
“I only wish you do not push anyone else,” Duckett wrote.
After releasing the letter Saturday, along with a recording of a 911 call reporting the toddler’s disappearance, Leesburg Police said the letter can be considered a suicide note. However, investigators would not say whether it means Trenton Duckett is still alive.
“I think she was expressing her feelings at the time,” Leesburg Capt. Ginny Padgett said. “I didn’t glean anything from it that it would lead us to Trenton.”
Investigators said they did not know when the letter was written. But they said it was found in Duckett’s silver 2000 Mitsubishi Eclipse parked in her grandparents’ driveway the day she killed herself.
Joshua Duckett, Melinda’s ex-husband and Trenton’s father, said it was encouraging news, in regard to the part of the letter mentioning about his son growing up.
“That kind of stands out to me,” he said. “It gives us a little more hope.”
The 911 call released Saturday was made Aug. 27 when Melinda Duckett and an unidentified man reported the toddler’s disappearance.
“Melinda Duckett’s son is missing,” the man calmly told a dispatcher. “He was in the bed sleeping. She went in to check on him and he was not there.”
The dispatcher then asked to speak with Duckett, and the man can be heard calling for her three times.
She then comes to the phone, panting. The dispatcher asks her what her son was wearing.
“I don’t know, he was ready for bed,” she said, breathing heavily. “Um, he might have had his shoes off. … his shirt off. … He had a pair of jean shorts. He’s only 2 years old.”
She then tells the dispatcher: “I was watching a movie that was two hours long. I had checked on him before anyone came down to the house.”
Melinda Duckett later told police that she was watching the movie “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels” with friends when Trenton was abducted from his room. Police interviewed two men who were at the apartment at the time.
Last week, investigators said one of the friends was Chris Pearce, and that he answered all questions from investigators and passed a polygraph test. Pearce said he never saw Trenton.
Police would not identify the man on the 911 tape because of state privacy laws.
Last week, police said that Melinda Duckett was the prime suspect in the investigation and that they could have arrested her within four days of her son’s disappearance. But they were hoping she would lead them to the toddler.
Police said Saturday the search for Trenton will continue.