TRENTON DUCKETT – Missing August 27, 2006 – UPDATED 10.02.2013


Trenton Duckett

Trenton Duckett

Trenton Duckett was born on August 10, 2004 to parents Melinda Eubanks and Joshua Duckett. Melinda and Joshua dated during high school, and married in July 2005, a month before Trenton’s first birthday. Trenton was reported missing just 17 days after his 2nd birthday on August 27, 2006. A phone call from Melinda that stated she had been at home watching TV and when she went to check on her son (who was reported to be sleeping in his bedroom) he was gone. This phone call would open the book on what had been a troubled and tragic life for this little boy.

During his first two years of life, Trenton had been shuffled back and forth between his parents, his paternal grandmother, his maternal great-grandparents and into foster care.

Trenton Duckett Age Progressed to 9 Years Old

Trenton Duckett Age Progressed to 9 Years Old

The department of Children and Families was first notified and became involved on April 6, 2005, just shy of 9 months after Trenton was born. In the initial report Melinda was accused of threatening to cause physical harm to the young boy, unless Joshua (the boy’s father) would talk to her. In this report the case worker also noted that Melinda had scars on her arm from cutting herself. It also noted that the mother had squeezed the child so tightly, the little boy was crying out and screaming. Over the next few months the growing violence between the Ducketts would grow, and DCF would become more involved. Both parents were court ordered to various classes, and evaluations and custody between the two would continue to shuffle. The full chronological report regarding the history the Ducketts had with DCF and the court system is as follows.







Initial report received by Sumter County.  Allegation indicates that Melinda Eubanks threatened to harm child, Trenton Duckett, unless his father, Joshua Duckett, goes to her home and talks with her.  Melinda is alleged to have scars on her arms due to cutting herself.  She is also alleged to squeeze Trenton so tight that he screams.



Supplemental report received that there are concerns for Trenton`s safety.


Supervisory and Review/Staffing

Review and staffing completed.  Case does not meet High Risk citeria.


Father files petition to establish paternity, custody and for other relief

Case #2005 DR 542.  Sumter County



Additional report received alleging Melinda is despondent and making threats against herself and child.  Allegation indicates that Melinda’s behaviour has worsened since she had the child and she has been Baker Acted.


Child Removed and Sheltered

Court documents indicated that the child was removed on 04/30/2005 and sheltered with father in the home of paternal grandmother, Carla Massero.  CPI chromos in HSn have 2 dates for the removal.  04/20/2005 and 04/30/2005


Shelter Review

Child placed with father and mother given supervised visitation.  05/02/2005


CPT Referral

CPT takes case as a consult as child has been observed with no injuries and is sheltered with the father.


Judge Hallman orders custody evaluation

Order in Sumter legal file.


Mother files a counter petition for paternity, primary residential responsibility, child support, visitation and other relief


ESI Staffing

Case staffed to Kids Central (CMA – Children’s Home Society) for court ordered protective services.  Services recommended included parenting, psychosocial evaluation on Joshua and psychological evaluation on Melinda, with a recommendation to follow through with any treatment recommendations.

05/20/2005 @ 1:00 PM

Arraignment Hearing – Sumter County

Mother denied allegations and case plan resolution scheduled for 05/27/2005.


2005-358822 CLOSED

Report closed with some indicators for inadequate supervision – neglect, and no indicators for other physical injury – threatened harm.

05/27/2005 @ 2:00 PM

Case Plan Resolution

Meeting of both parents, their attorneys, Family Care Manager (FCM) and CWLS to attempt to resolve differences and to attempt to discuss case plan.


Change of Plea Hearing – Sumter County

Mother maintains denial of allegations and case plan has not been accepted.  Visitation to be set up at the CAC and home study to be completed on relatives to accommodate supervised visitation for mother.



Report received in Lake County.  Allegation indicates that Melinda dangled Trenton over water. Endanger child to deliberately provoke father.  Also alleged that she squeezes child’s chest leaving marks.  Child removed from mother, but father has moved back in with the mother in violation of court order.  Parents agree to a safety plan with the CPI to live in separate households.


Father Retracts Allegations Affidavit files with the court 06/15/2005

Father instructs his attorney to voluntary dismissal for case involving his son and wife.  The letter indicates that his mother, Carla Massero, the influence behind his accusations.  Fathers affidavit is filed with court on 06/15/2006.


CWLS Staffing

CWLS attorney advises CPI that FCM should advised court that father violated court order.


CPI Notifies FCM

CPI notified the FCM of the father’s violation of the court order as advised by CWLS.


Status Review

Status review filed with the court by the Family Care Manager (FCM) recommends that Trenton be removed from the father, Joshua.  Advises court of violation of court order as recommended by CWLS.  Report also indicates concerns that child cannot be placed with mother, but does not recommend placement alternatives.


Parents Married

Joshua Duckett and Melinda Eubanks marry.


Psychiatric Evaluation Filed with Sumter Court LifeStream Behavioral Center

Psychiatric evaluation completed 06/29/2005, on Melinda by Dimitrios Helzivalasson, M.D., was filed with court.  According to evaluation, there is no medication or intervention needed.  CPI file copy was received via FAX on 12/22/2005


Pretrial Hearing – Sumter County

Trenton is to continue in the custody of his father, Joshua Duckett, and Melinda Duckett shall have supervised visitation to take place at maternal grandmother’s home.  Melinda agrees to psychological evaluation and that she will follow up with any recommendations.


Psychological Evaluation Self-referred and paid by mother.

Evaluation completed by Danielle Arbutina.  Couples counselling and social skills training are recommended.  Evaluation also notes that there are no psychological reasons that would preclude Melinda from being a capable and loving parent.  It also recommended that reunification with her son would benefit her and her son’s mental stability.  Evaluator review Lifestream Psychiatric Evaluation.  All other information was self-reported.


Child Custody Evaluation Completed

The Sumter County Court ordered a child custody evaluation to be completed by Ruth Harvey-Gilligan, LCSW, earlier in July.


Tracker A05-006756 Completed

Melinda Duckett emailed Governor Bush expressing concern that the CPI and case manager had failed to return her calls and she was unaware of the status of her case.  Ms. Duckett was contacted by OPA to address issues.


2005-399577 Closed

Report closed with no indicators for other physical injury – abuse, and some indicators for failure to protect – neglect.


Child Custody Evaluation Received

Evaluation received by Judge Hallman.  Evaluation recommends that there be shared parental responsibility, with Joshua, Trenton’s father as the primary residential parent, with supervised visitation for Melinda.


Child Custody Evaluation faxed to CWLS

Child Custody Evaluation in the legal file.


Adjudicatory Hearing – Sumter County

Child to remain in placement with his father.  Court permitted parties to attempt to resolve issues, but they were unable to do so and a pre-trial hearing set.


Mother files notice of voluntary dismissal as to counter petition

Petition in Sumter legal file.


Judge Hallman dismissed mothers counter petition.


Mother file Certificate of Completion of Positive Parenting

Notice of filing in Sumter legal file.


Father filed Certificate of Completion of Parenting Kids God’s Way

Notice of filing in Sumter legal file.


Parents Separate

Father reported to CPI during investigation of 2005-480907 that he and Melinda had separated in October 2005.


Judicial Review

Case plan has yet to be accepted.  Guardian Ad Litem Report (10/05/05) recommends child be placed with Carla Massero, paternal grandmother, and that father, mother and maternal great grandparents be granted visitation.  CHS recommended maintain custody with the father.  Court approved reunification of Trenton with his mother.  Father was agreeable and was granted unsupervised visits.  GAL recommends Trenton be placed with paternal grandmother.  Waived 10-day period for exceptions.


Pre-Trial Hearing – Sumter County

Parents agreed to amends case plan that is accepted by the court.  Adjudication withheld as to the mother.



Report received in Orange County.  Melinda is alleged to have scratched Joshua during an argument in the car.  She is also alleged to have threatened to kill Trenton and held a knife against his leg.



Report received by Lake County.  Allegations are same as 2005-480466 that Melinda scratched Joshua during an argument in the car.  She is also alleged to have threatened to kill Trenton and held a knife against his leg.


Shelter Hearing

Shelter petition approved.


2005-480466 Closed

Report closed as duplicate to 2005-480907


Family Team Coaching Case Close

Due to child being out of the home, Family Team Coaching services (Family Builders) are terminated.


Relative Placement

Trenton is removed to maternal great-grandparents, Nancy and Bill Eubanks.


Tracker A05-010547 Completed

Carla Massero, paternal grandmother, emailed Governor Bush regarding her concerns about the safety of Trenton due to the ongoing custody battle between his parents.  Contact was made with Ms. Massero and although information could not be shared with her regarding the case, she was aware that child was with maternal grandparents and family receiving services.


Mother files letter of completion of couples counselling

Notice of filing in Sumter legal file.


Arraignment Hearing – Lake County

Trenton is returned to his mother, Melinda, during hearing with General Magistrate, Heidi Davis.  CPI expressed concern to CWLS about the court’s decision.


Mother files Letter of completion for couples counselling and Mother’s letter of completion of anger management course.

Notice of filing in Sumter legal file.


Continued Arraignment Hearing – Lake County

Court finds a transfer of venue appropriate and case is transferred to Sumter County.  Visitation and child support addressed.  Parents have completed case plan.  Note:  There is no documentation the father ever completed his case plan.


Psychological Evaluation Results (Dr. Steven Sanders by Danielle Arbutina Psychometrist)

Psychological evaluation is received.  Melinda is diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive personality disorder.  Couples counselling is recommended to address anger and resentment toward her husband.  According to evaluation. There is no psychological reason that would preclude Melinda from being a capable and loving parent.  The evaluation also indicated that reunification of Trenton and Melinda would benefit her greatly and support mental stability of Trenton.


2005-480907 Closed

Report closed with no indicators for asphyxiation, some indicators for deadly weapon injury, verified for family violence threatens child against both parents and verified for failure to protect against Joshua.



Report received in Sumter County.  Allegations indicate that Kevin Massero, paternal step-grandfather ha a history of using cocaine and Trenton has been left in his care.  It is also alleged that Joshua lives with Kevin, as does Carla Massero, paternal grandmother.



Report received in Lake County.  Melinda is alleged to have told father that she will hurt Trenton if he does not do what she wants him to do.


2005-511209 Closed

Report closed as duplicate to 2005-510460.  Maltreatment of physical injury – threatened harm is added as allegation to 2005-510460.


Judicial Review

Case plan for both parents in progress.  Trenton remains in the custody of his mother, Melinda.  Kevin Massero, step-grandfather, ordered to have no contact with Trenton.  Joshua approved for unsupervised visits with Trenton.  Case plan amended to reflect that batterer’s intervention program, which had been recommended for Joshua, is not required and additional co-dependency and couples counselling is to be amended into case plan for both parents if they reunite.  Immediate referral for counselling by FCM.  If not possible FCM to contact court.


CPT Referral

CPT takes case as a consult as child has been observed with no injuries.


Notice of filing attached addendum to psychological evaluation 07/13/2005 by Dr. Steven Sanders

Dr. Sanders’ diagnosis includes perfectionist personality features (due to overachievement).  In the addendum, Dr. Sanders reports mother completed courses in anger management and co-dependency from this office.  Notice of filing in Sumter legal file.


2005-510460 Closed

Report closed with no indicators for physical injury, no indications for substance-exposed child, and no indicators for inadequate supervision.  Closed with no additional services as protective services case still open.


Permanency Judicial Review Hearing – Sumter County JR report does state “Permanency”

Melinda found in substantial compliance with case plan and retains custody of Trenton.  Joshua, not in substantial compliance, however, reunification with the father is no longer the goal since parents do not intend to reunite.  GAL 03/23/2006 report recommends child continue placement with mother and case closure.  Recommendation of FCM to terminate protective supervision.  Court relinquishes jurisdiction and closes protective supervision effective 05/23/2006.  GAL discharged immediately.


Protective Services Case Closed

Status review completed and protective services case closed.  Report filed with court as result of closure staffing.


Mother files for Dissolution of Marriage

In Lake County



Report received by Lake County.  Allegations indicate that father sent email to Melinda threatening to harm her and Trenton.


Temporary Injunction for Protection

Melinda was granted a temporary injunction for protection against domestic violence with minor children.  A hearing was set for 07/12/2006.


Injunction Hearing

Court continues temporary injunction.  Hearing postponed, however no indication in any files that this was rescheduled and whether injunction was granted.  There was a motion to consolidate with dissolution of marriage petition.


DR542 Case Closed

Court order states case closed due to a paternity settlement agreement.


Temporary Injunction for Protective Hearing

Attorneys requested a continuance which was granted.


CPT Referral

CPT takes case as a consult as child has been observed with no injuries, father is out of home and injunction for protection is in place.


CWLS Staffing

CPI staff case with CWLS and it is determined that there is no legal sufficiency.


CPI refers to ACCESS

CPI made contact with Melinda and was advised that she lost her job and money is tight.  She is referred to ACCESS to apply for food stamps and assistance.


Application for ACCESS

Melinda completes ACCESS web-app at Department of Children and Families office in Tavares.  ACCESS staff indicate that child is with her.


ACCESS Interview

Melinda interviewed to determine eligibility for ACCESS programs.



Trenton is reported missing by Melinda at approximately 9:00 PM


LEO Contact

CPI contacted Leesburg Police Department regarding open investigation.  Mother and father being questioned regarding child’s disappearance.  FDLE agent contacts CPI in afternoon to discuss abuse investigation and indicates that father’s home has been searched and warrant is being executed for search of mother’s home.  LEO also indicate that email threat may have been fraudulent.


Mother files motion to consolidate injunction with dissolution of marriage.

Hearing set for 09/13/2006 @ 10:00 AM before Judge Semento



Report received by Lake County alleging child has been abducted and father has unsupervised visits and mother has threatened child in the past.

Trenton Duckett and Melinda Eubank Duckett

Trenton Duckett and Melinda Eubank Duckett

On August 27, 2006 two-year-old Trenton Duckett was reported missing by his 21-year-old mother, Melinda Duckett.  An Amber Alert was issued and police from six local agencies armed with bloodhounds and local volunteers began searching for the missing boy. Roadblocks were set up and fliers with pictures of Trenton were distributed. But as the days went on, there was little information coming in for the investigators to go on in their search. Melinda claims to have put her son to bed and was watching movies in the other room with friends. Around 9 p.m., she says she went to check on her young son and found that Trenton Duckett was gone. The only clue the Florida, Leesburg’s police had to go on was a cut in the window screen of the boy’s room.

Due to the fact that some parts in her story either didn’t make sense or had variations, police soon suspected Melinda may have had something to do with her son’s disappearance. Upon entering her apartment they noticed quite a few things that struck them as odd. Although she first agreed to allow them to search her apartment, they decided they would get a search warrant. When they received the court-approved search warrant, police entered Duckett’s apartment at the Windermere Villas in Leesburg for a more thorough search on Monday, Aug. 28. When police went back into the apartment to start their search, they noticed freshly painted walls in some places, and in the back of the building, trash that was allegedly thrown out of Duckett’s apartment was filled with Trenton’s toys. But what grabbed investigators’ attention was pictures, officials said. They said a lot of pictures of Trenton, including the sonogram printout from when Duckett was pregnant, were all thrown away in the trash. Investigators said the photos are what made them take a hard look at Duckett from the beginning of the investigation.

Investigators said since two days after Trenton was reported missing, they began closely checking cell phone activity from Trenton’s mother, Melinda Duckett. Calls from her cell phone have helped officials build a time line of her activities following the disappearance.

Joshua Duckett

Joshua Duckett

Activities on Melinda Duckett’s computer are also being scrutinized. A posting on Joshua Duckett’s homepage, which threatened Melinda and Trenton Duckett was found by investigators on Aug. 31 to have actually been written by Melinda. In part it reads: “I hate you because you ruined my life and took my son.” ‘”I am going to hunt you and your damn son down one day and kill both of you.” “I don’t even think Trenton is my son anyway and your (sic) going to pay for what you’ve done to my life.” “When I get my hands on your f—– (racial slur) a– you’ll regret what you’ve done … and I’ll bury your son with you.” It was also reported that Melinda had also sent herself an email muttering more less the same words that were posted on the homepage, making it appear that Josh had written it. Josh advised (the detective) that he thinks his wife somehow accessed his password, and changed his information, and also typed and sent the letter to herself. According to investigators, Melinda Duckett was trying to set her estranged husband up.

While investigators continued looking into both Melinda and Joshua Duckett, other members of the investigation were busy searching for the boy in various parts of the area including the Ocala National Forest. Tips were called into the tip hotline from campers that were there shortly before the little boy went missing. While searching there, the police found a stuffed animal that didn’t offer any definitive answers or clues. Searchers also found a garbage bag with what appeared to be alligator bite marks and blood on it. The bag was sent off, but determined not to be blood.

Meanwhile, both parents were given “voice stress tests”. The father of young Trenton passed this, as well as a polygraph test administered by investigators. However, when the “voice stress test” was administered to the mother of the boy it showed significant signs of deception. While she agreed at first to take a polygraph test, when asked questions about the day Trenton went missing Melinda decided to walk out of the test and not answer the questions. Although, not a sign of guilt her failure to complete this test strengthened investigators suspicion that Trenton’s own mother may have had something to do with his disappearance.

On September 7, 2006 both Joshua and Melinda appeared on CNN’s Nancy Grace. Melinda was interviewed by phone, and the recorded segments were to be aired on September 8. Nancy started off asking the father some questions, then had the mother join in on the conversation. Nancy asked Josh questions ranging from where he was when he learned about his missing son, where he worked, what time he had to be at work, why he was in bed at 9:45, to what his visitation with the child and when was the last time he had seen him. Mr. Duckett stated that when he would spend time with his son, they would do family type things. He stated that Trenton knew not to talk to stranger, and would most definitely scream out if a stranger attempted to take him. He also said that it was hard to believe that Trenton wouldn’t have woken up if someone took him from his bed, because the child was a very light sleeper and would often wake up when moved after falling asleep.

Nancy then turned her questions to the boy’s mother. The boy’s mother immediately stated the opposite of what the father had just stated. She insisted that Trenton was not a light sleeper, and could easily be moved from room to room when sleeping. She also claims that the child was very friendly, always talked to strangers, and would not have cried if someone attempted to take him. Nancy tried to ask Melinda if she had taken a polygraph test, but Melinda tried her hardest to avoid the question. Nancy then asked the father, he told Nancy that he had taken one and passed. Melinda, finally (after several times asked) stated that she did not think the investigators had enough experience, but never answered the question. Later, Nancy would question her about her whereabouts the day Trenton went missing. Melinda was asked which stores she might have visited during the day. Nancy’s thinking was that maybe a store camera would have seen someone following them. However, Melinda refused to answer saying that she didn’t trust the media to release that information. After a few minutes of further questioning, Melinda Duckett walked away from the telephone handing it to her grandmother.

In early May, Duckett posted a long rambling message titled, “Light Of My Life.” She wrote her message in all capital letters.

In it, she wrote, “One component that I hold extremely valuable in my life is my son. His name is Trenton and I have a feeling that many of the people I talk to do not know about him … and even after they read this, being the fact that they are trying to date me instead of being friends and do not want a child involved.”

“I have had to fight to keep my son, whom I am extremely proud of,” she wrote in another posting.

Also, she blogged, “I live for my son right now and because I have matured beyond my years and been forced to take on tasks that the average 20 year old does not normally have to deal with, I want everyone to know how proud I am to be how I am.”

In a message posted in early June titled “Can’t Understand” — again these words were written in all capital letters — she wrote, “Why can not anyone understand, the burdens I hold within my hand. Life can not be all fun for I, so many issues that I have to hide.”

Fifteen days later, another message was titled “Move On” and it was apparently meant for a specific person. She wrote, “I set my expectations too high. They were already in place before you came by. It’s not your fault for this disaster, the actions were made and the warnings after.”

The last time someone logged into Duckett’s MySpace account was Sept. 7

On September 8, 2006 Melinda’s body was found at her grandparents home in Lady Lake Florida. She had killed herself with her grandfather’s shotgun. The sides are divided on the reason’s she would have taken her life. Most think it was because she knew she was guilty, while others think the talk show host pushed her over the edge.  Melinda’s parents filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Nancy Grace and CNN in December 2006.  In November 2010, the lawsuit was settled.  CNN agreed to set up a $200,000.00 trust fund to finance the search for Trenton.  If Trenton is located alive before his 13th birthday, the money will go to him; if he is not found alive by then, the money will be donated to The National Center For Missing And Exploited Children.

Two suicide notes were found.

This is the link for the note addressed to her family

These are the links for the notes addressed to the public

Trenton’s father Joshua continues looking for his son to this day. Although more details about Melinda’s life were discovered, there were very few leads that have given detectives on the case any hope of finding this little boy. However, if you have any information about this child you are still being asked to contact investigators. You can also make donations, offer prayers, and volunteer with “Team Trenton” (a group of family, friends, and volunteers working to find this child) by visiting their website:

It is possible that we may never know what happened, or where little Trenton Duckett is. That one person that may have had such information, has likely taken it to her grave.


~ by LTWH on September 9, 2008.

4 Responses to “TRENTON DUCKETT – Missing August 27, 2006 – UPDATED 10.02.2013”

  1. Six years of researching this case have revealed the lies Josh Duckett and his mother Carla Massero have told. I have published 197 articles with documents and pictures to expose those lies. In addition, Josh Duckett and his mother Carla Massero are abusing the mother of Josh’s other son Ryder and Ryder himself. They are calling DCF, the police and giving lies all because a court case is coming up November 30, 2012. History speaks for itself. I have recently spoken with someone close to the Duckett family who has revealed that the baker act of Melinda Duckett and the false allegations of her harming Trenton was planned in order to get custody of Trenton. Now Carla is planning the same for the mother of Ryder.

  2. I would just like to point out that Josh Duckett still looking for Trenton seems unlikely especially as the website link above hasn’t been updated since Trenton was 4 years old so at least 4 years since any updates????? Doesn’t seem like he is trying very hard to find his son. I am also of the opinion if Melinda had hurt Trenton she would most likely have taken her own life at that time rather than weeks later, especially when she knew that the local police were obviously biased in favour of Josh Ducket and his mother! just my opinion but if you check out this website it has a lot of evidence showing just how Josh Duckett and Carla Masserro managed to get their way.

  3. Everything points to Melinda guilt. Sadly I believe she killed Trenton and when she realized she might not get away with it she killed herself. The fact that she hacked into her ex’s account and sends her a threatening letter to keep him away from his son shows her true personality and it isn’t pretty. For you people who believe Josh was involved, your either family or friends of the murderer Melinda or not very bright.

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