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Mother of Missing Child Commits Suicide
Aired September 11, 2006 - 20:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
NANCY GRACE, HOST: Tonight: It`s a parent`s worst nightmare to tuck their 2-year-old child into his crib, go in the den to watch a movie and then to find the bedroom screen slashed, the baby gone. Tonight, the search for 2-year-old Trenton Duckett. Breaking developments: Trenton`s mother now confirmed dead from a self-inflicted gunshot. Tonight, we investigate the clues left behind.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If anybody has any information, whether they think it`s important or not, just come to the police. They may have seen Melinda or Trenton, anything that could be helpful in the investigation. We just -- we want Trenton home.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Good evening everybody. I`m Nancy Grace. On the five-year mark of 9/11, I want to thank you especially for being with us tonight and taking a cold, hard look at our justice system, a system we have fought dearly for.
Tonight, the search for Trenton Duckett, a 2-year-old little boy put to bed, according to his mother, she goes into the very next room to watch a movie. Two hours later, the child is gone, the only clue, a 10-inch slit in the window screen.
Out to Marilyn Aciego, reporter with "The Daily Commercial." Marilyn, thank you for being with us. What`s the latest?
MARILYN ACIEGO, "DAILY COMMERCIAL": Well, Nancy, working on a tip today, police are searching a construction site just south of Leesburg with cadaver dogs.
GRACE: Cadaver dogs. That only means, at this juncture, they are no longer looking for a live 2-year-old little boy. With us, Marilyn Aciego with "The Daily Commercial." Also joining us right now, a special guest out of Leesburg, Florida, Captain Steve Rockefeller, the captain of the Leesburg Police Department.
Captain, thank you for being with us. I understand you`re expanding your search. And what is the tip that led to this newest search?
CAPT. STEVE ROCKEFELLER, LEESBURG POLICE DEPARTMENT: Well, in the last day, we received a tip that Melinda and Trenton were seen down in this new housing subdivision down somewhere near that construction site. But the sighting was approximately one week before Trenton was reported disappeared. And as a result of that -- as a result of that tip, we wanted to get some folks down in that area. We call it more routine rather than a hot lead or a hot tip. And then the dogs actually alerted to something in the construction area. Actually, that was quite surprising to us because it was a routine tip.
GRACE: Another issue, Captain Rockefeller, is that you are now using cadaver dogs. Why?
ROCKEFELLER: Well, we have to face the very real possibility that Trenton is deceased. His mother, a grieving mother -- it would be considered -- I would consider it unusual for a grieving mother to commit suicide while we`re awaiting news of her missing 24-month-old. So obviously, that threw our investigators and our entire investigation for a loop.
We`re just going to continue to look for Trenton. We still want to encourage folks to continue looking for Trenton with flyers and different means because even if folks believe that Melinda had something to do with it, there is still a very real possibility that somebody was hiding Trenton out of some sense of keeping him away from the father or keeping him away from the mother.
We want folks to keep looking for him because there`s a very real possibility that somebody`s going to see him in a store or something. So we want to urge people to keep looking for him. But we have to face that possibility that he may be deceased, and we want to get him home. We want to get him home one way or the other.
GRACE: With us is Captain Steve Rockefeller with the Leesburg Police Department, and he is absolutely right. Tonight, in a final attempt, there is a chance this boy is still alive, a 2-year-old little boy allegedly taken out of his own crib while his mom was in the next room. He could be alive tonight, but the hours are passing. The days are passing. Please take a look, tip line 800-CALL-FBI. There`s a $5,000 reward.
Captain Rockefeller, as I tried to do last week, I tried desperately to establish a timeline as to where his mother, Melinda, had taken him throughout the day on Sunday. It`s my understanding the last person other than her to see him alive was her grandmother, whom I firmly believe was with the child on and off throughout the day on Saturday. What have you learned about the last day Trenton was known alive?
ROCKEFELLER: We still have very little information about the last day. We have learned that on Saturday, at least, that he was with his grandparents and Melinda at their home. We are very satisfied with that information. There was a polygraph of Melinda`s grandfather, and they did conduct multiple interviews. They`ve been very cooperative with law enforcement, FBI, local police. And we are very satisfied with their accounts of Saturday afternoon.
They`ve been very supportive of Melinda and very supportive of law enforcement in the attempts to find Trenton, so we`re satisfied up until about 5:00 PM Saturday afternoon. What our problem is, is between 5:00 PM Saturday and 7:00 PM Sunday, when those two gentlemen came over to Melinda`s home to watch those movies. So we`ve got about a 26-hour window where nobody saw Trenton other than Melinda, and that`s the timeline that we are trying to narrow down.
We tried to narrow that down with Melinda. The investigators asked her about some specifics during that timeline. We only received some general, vague information about that time, about shopping and such, but no real specifics. And we`re still encouraging folks to come forward if they saw Melinda or Trenton anytime during that timeframe to help us narrow down that time.
GRACE: Captain Rockefeller, did you view our show from last week?
ROCKEFELLER: Yes, I did.
GRACE: Were you getting the same type of answers that I did when you tried to get a timeline, or just somewhere she went with the baby on Sunday?
ROCKEFELLER: That was essentially the same type of information that law enforcement had obtained up to that point, yes.
GRACE: With us, Captain Steve Rockefeller with the Leesburg Police Department along with Marilyn Aciego, reporter with "The Daily Commercial." We are taking your calls. We are trying everything we can think of here at the NANCY GRACE show to find this boy. There is a chance that he is still alive, a 2-year-old toddler, Trenton Duckett.
Elizabeth, let`s go to the lines. Amy in Pennsylvania. Hi, Amy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Nancy. I was just wondering, what do we know about Melinda`s psychiatric history? And also, what`s the story about her grandfather being on death row?
GRACE: I`m not familiar with the grandfather on death row. I`ll throw the other question to Marilyn Aciego with "The Daily Commercial." Marilyn, there have been certain news reports regarding Melinda. What can you tell us?
ACIEGO: There were some allegations of possible abuse back when there was -- when Josh and Melinda were going through the custody battle. But as for psychiatric stuff, the Sumter County sheriff`s office and the Sumter County court system will not release that as public record, so we have not been able to confirm that.
GRACE: You have not been able to confirm reports out of "The Orlando Sentinel"?
GRACE: OK. What do you know about a family member on death row?
ACIEGO: That`s actually Josh Duckett`s father. He is on death row right now for murdering and raping an 11-year-old child back in 1987.
GRACE: And of course, he was still incarcerated at the time that Trenton went missing, so he`s out of the picture as an suspect, correct?
GRACE: Amy, you`re absolutely correct. The first place police start -- back me up on this, Marc Klaas, president of Beyondmissing, is with the family -- why?
MARC KLAAS, BEYONDMISSING.COM: Well, because is the numbers always point right back to the family, Nancy. In the vast majority of missing child cases, particularly where there`s custody disputes, family members are involved.
I`d like to say something to expand a little on what the detective was talking about. Since she was gone for that long period of time, she really had ample opportunity to take that young boy anywhere almost in the state of Florida and get back to her residence. So I would suggest that landlords, real estate agents, property managers, farmers, ranchers or anybody else who has access to vacant residences or outbuildings take an opportunity over the course of the next day to look into those places to see if they might be able to find some sign of little Trenton.
GRACE: Marc Klaas, as usual, you`re right on. Everyone, in case you didn`t already know, Marc Klaas, tireless victims` advocate -- tireless advocate. Marc lost his own little girl, taken from their home, Polly Klaas. She was molested, murdered. The first thing he did was demand to be polygraphed, give a full statement, demand police search his apartment, his car, everything, so police could then search for the real kidnapper. And that`s advice I would give every parent.
I`d also like to point out that this child, Trenton Duckett`s, father has done the very same thing as Marc Klaas, submitted to a polygraph, cooperated, press conferences, put out flyers, anything. He appear on our show last week begging for help.
I want to go back to Captain Rockefeller. Captain, I believe you have done what Marc Klaas has suggested. Isn`t it true that you are now asking land owners to search their land, to search the trash, to search wooded and grassy areas?
ROCKEFELLER: Yes. In the past couple of days, those have been part of our media releases. Of course, originally, we wanted everybody to be looking with the flyers and just looking for Trenton alive, but now we`re facing that possibility -- and we know that it`s not -- it`s not going to be a fun task, by any means, but this is something that the community can do to assist. Without a specific place to look, they can get out, these landowners, business managers, business owners, they know their properties better than anybody else. And if they know there`s a little place, a little corner, overgrown place, get out there and check it. Please get out there and check it for us. And that`s your part that you can do in this investigation. And anything that these folks can do, let`s get Trenton home.
GRACE: There was a very sad development before our show aired on Friday night, and that is the apparent suicide of Trenton`s mother. Captain Rockefeller, how, if in any way it did, did her suicide set this investigation back?
ROCKEFELLER: Well, obviously, with us trying to still narrow down that timeline, it -- we now can no long ask her those questions, even if it was a point of an attorney or something of that nature, where we could get her with an attorney in and speak with her, we don`t have that option and that`s been removed from us. So now it`s a matter of getting whatever we can. We`ve got items like a computer out of her grandparents` home and/or her apartment...
GRACE: Did she leave a suicide note?
ROCKEFELLER: There were writings. I can`t characterize it as a suicide note. I do know that there were writings, both handwritten and electronic, by her, and we are analyzing those in the state crime lab or the federal crime lab. I`m not sure which. There`s some confusion on that right now, on my part only. But it went to one of the crime labs.
GRACE: Right. You mean to analyze the computer to see what you could get out of it?
ROCKEFELLER: That`s correct. We`re going to look at those things. And I mean, even deleted files, obviously, can be retrieved to some extent. So we`re going to look at that in great detail. That may take still a matter of a few more days, but we`re looking into that very seriously and we`re hoping to get whatever we can out of that.
GRACE: Were other items taken from her home and the grandparents` home?
ROCKEFELLER: I believe we`re looking at right now at maybe a digital camera and just maybe some notebooks or handwritten documents. I don`t know what type, whether...
GRACE: Nothing with any DNA on it? Anything with any DNA on it?
ROCKEFELLER: No, nothing else of that nature. And none of those writings tell us immediately whether Trenton -- where Trenton is located.
GRACE: With us, special guest out of the Leesburg Police Department, the captain of the department, Captain Steve Rockefeller joining me, asking you to please help us find Trenton Duckett, a 2-year-old little boy.
Let`s go out to the lines. Ted in Ohio. Hi, Ted.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, how`re you doing?
GRACE: I`m good.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Concerning that little girl or little boy that was abducted, even though there was a 10-inch slit in the screen, was the screen open wide enough to get a baby through, or was it just slit?
GRACE: Excellent, excellent question, Ted. I tried to get that out of the mom on Friday.
Let`s go to Captain Rockefeller. Captain, I understand there was only a 10-inch cut in the screen. The mother, Melinda Duckett, advised me that was the only way someone could have gotten into the room from the outside of the home. A, was the cut from the outside or the inside? And B, was the cut sufficiently large to take a child through the screen, Captain?
ROCKEFELLER: It was feasible to take a small child, a small child the size of Trenton, through the window, provided there`s no kicking, and no screaming of that nature. I have to say it was feasible, although unlikely. That`s about the best way that I could describe it.
And as far as the cut, we have the FDLE crime lab in Tampa is the one that has the screen. We have submitted it, and that`s one of the things that they were looking at, to try their best to try to determine the angles of the cuts and...
ROCKEFELLER: ... to see whether it was cut from the inside or outside. And as of right now, we haven`t made a decision.
GRACE: And Captain, the window itself -- at the time you first observed the window, which purportedly Trenton was taken out of the window -- to get him out of that cut, you`d have to just be able to reach in, an adult reach in and pull him straight through. The cut was not big enough. The cut in the screen was not big enough for an adult to go through it and then come back out, is my understanding.
ROCKEFELLER: And I believe that that would be an accurate depiction of it, yes. I don`t believe an adult could have made it all the way in and all the way out. The window would have been destroyed, removed, or you know, the screen would have been further damaged.
GRACE: And was the window still only up about three inches, or was the window all the way up?
ROCKEFELLER: The window was up most of the way by that point.
GRACE: OK. The mom told me that she had left at it about three inches up and then discovered it all the way up. But the screen is very troubling, Captain. As I`m sure you see, the possibility of an adult going through a 10-inch slit in the screen is very difficult to comprehend.
We`ll all be right back. We are desperately trying to help in the search for a 2-year-old boy, Trenton Duckett.
Let`s go to tonight`s "Case Alert." Yet another cruise ship passenger missing on the high seas. A 36-year-old woman disappears on the Carnival Cruise Line`s Imagination during a four-day trip to Mexico and Key West. She was with her family. Now, she was last seen by her 14-year-old son on Sunday morning, early hours. This unidentified mom reported missing only when the ship arrived in the port of Miami this morning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSH DUCKETT, MISSING CHILD`S FATHER: (INAUDIBLE) that`s gone through what I`ve been through so far. And I mean, it does make you a stronger person overall. And I mean, I`ve got my support group here, obviously, I`ve got my parents. I`ve got family. I`ve got friends. Mark Lunsford`s here. I mean, that`s a big help.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Welcome back. Tonight, we are trying to help in the search for a 2-year-old toddler. The mom puts him to bed in his crib, goes to the next room to watch a video. A parents` worst nightmare, the child reportedly taken through a slash in the screen window. The child gone. Now, to add to the mystery, the mother committing suicide just a few days ago. Can you help us find Trenton Duckett?
This is what police had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We looked to eliminate subjects from our multi- pronged investigation, and the first area that we started to reduce our efforts was in the area of Josh and his family. And that continues to be reduced daily by the information we`ve been able to substantiate of his timeline, whereabouts. And then because of the events this weekend, we substantially reduced the possibility of an outside abduction, and we are definitely looking more into the area that Melinda possibly had something to do with this. And that`s just by the process of elimination. And that just is a naturally occurring thing in this case.
The fact that you`ve got a -- you know, a grieving mother with a missing 24-month-old, and then the fact we have the apparent suicide two weeks into the event, it just -- it makes our investigators naturally suspicious of those circumstances. We have to look at the possibility that maybe there was -- she was grieving and she couldn`t handle the stress of the event. Yes, we`re looking into that possibility, but we also have to look into the more likely possibility that she may have had something to do with the disappearance of Trenton. And that`s something right now that we are looking very much into, and we`re going to continue looking into it until we can disprove it or have to look otherwise.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: This child could still be alive.
Let`s go out to the lines. Liz, let`s go to Stan in Kentucky. Hi, Stan.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi. How are you, Nancy?
GRACE: I`m good, dear. What`s your question?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My question is, you are such a good interviewer and everything. I just wonder, with the pressure that you put on the mother with your questions your last show, is there any possible way that you feel you might have somehow pushed her over the edge or contributed to her suicide?
GRACE: You know, Stan, speaking as one that knows firsthand, when you suffer a tragic loss, you look for somebody to blame. You look hard. I do not feel that our show is to blame for what happened to Melinda Duckett. The truth, Stan, is not always nice or polite or easy to go down. Sometimes it`s harsh, and it hurts.
I`d like to also point out that Melinda committed suicide before that interview ever aired. It had never gone to air. The purpose of this show is all about finding Trenton Duckett. That`s what we`re about. And I`d like to also point out that, seemingly, police agreed with my line of questioning. You`ve got to know that we are deeply saddened to learn about her death, Melinda Duckett`s, the mother of Trenton, the day after she taped our program. It was last week.
I hope the viewers keep in mind that this show is one of the single most active in looking for missing children. And as part of that, I often -- always, I would hope, I ask parents the same questions I would ask any mom and dad about an investigation in a missing child case, where they were when the child went missing, what happened, what`s the timeline, anything to help find that missing child. I also ask whether the parents have taken a polygraph, as I did with Melinda. And at that point, and at this point, Trenton is still missing, and our focus is on finding him.
Back out to Captain Rockefeller. I understand also that there are a lot of viable leads coming from out of state. How seriously are you taking them?
ROCKEFELLER: We`re taking them very seriously. For example, after the airing of your show the other night, we received, I don`t know, in the neighborhood of five to ten leads from Dallas, Texas. A 2-year-old was recovered in Dallas that had been recovered and looked a lot like Trenton. And it took us several hours to get pictures faxed back and forth. And we did not give up on that lead until we could totally clear it. It was not him. And there have been several leads like that, and we`re taking them all very seriously.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We were the only people that baby-sat for Melinda. She would not leave him with anyone else because she never trusted anybody else. And I don`t (INAUDIBLE) I love him dearly, and I would love to bring him home.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Where is 2-year-old Trenton Duckett? Let`s bring in the FBI, the former feds, Don Clark, former FBI Houston bureau, and Harold Copus, private investigator, former FBI agent.
Don, where do we go from here?
DON CLARK, FORMER HEAD FBI HOUSTON OFFICE: Well, I tell you what, Nancy. First of all, this police department is doing an exceptional job down there. They`ve got it headed in the right direction. They`ve got two phases here to go. But one thing they`ve got to do now is that I think they really, in addition to looking for little Duckett, that`s for sure, but they really have to focus on the mother now. And they`ve got to do everything they possibly can to develop that timeline as to where she might have been.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He`s very loving. He`s just so sweet. You know? I couldn`t see anybody wanting to harm him. You know, he`s precious. I just hope that Trenton`s returned safely.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Our full show into trying to find a 2-year-old toddler, Trenton Duckett, taken near Leesburg, Florida, near the Orlando area. Let`s go to the G-men, our three former feds from the FBI, Don Clark, Harold Copus and Jack Trimarco. Harold, weigh in. At this juncture, how would you approach the case?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In one of the things that we haven`t concentrated on, Nancy, is we keep hearing about this slit in the screen. I`d really be worried and would like to ask the captain, where is that bed in relation to that screen.
GRACE: I can tell you that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.
GRACE: Harold, I asked the mother that, and no one disagreed. So I believe it to have been placed just below the bed. I mean, just below the window pushed up against the wall near the window.
And as the mother told me, if the child was standing up in bed -- she said the child was asleep when she left it. The child was standing up, according to her, you could reach in and just take the child out.
Now, I don`t know how you would get the window up the whole way with just a 10-inch slit. I don`t know how you to get that window up all the way up to pull a child out, Harold.
HAROLD COPUS, FORMER FBI AGENT/PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR: I don`t know either. And I think that`s what makes this suspicious. And I liked what I heard about the polygraph exam that hadn`t been done. I understand the computer. I believe now we start looking at what may be in the writings. I think you put all these things together and then we have to concentrate where is this young boy, because we need to find him.
GRACE: What do you mean you liked what you heard about the polygraph?
COPUS: Well, she didn`t take that polygraph and maybe she didn`t want to. But that really says to me, that`s focusing in on who I think could be involved in this thing a little bit more than normal.
GRACE: Well, you`re right about that. And to Jack Trimarco, who is actually a specialist. He was a polygraph unit chief at the L.A. FBI.
Welcome to the show, Jack. Thank you for being with us. Actually, several people took polygraphs, Joe. Excuse me, Jack. For one, the husband did, the father. The friend, one of the two friends that were at the home that evening and a grandfather. So Jack Trimarco, I think that is very probative.
JACK TRIMARCO, FORMER POLYGRAPH UNIT CHIEF, L.A. FBI: Well, Nancy, at least with the FBI, whenever we will have a missing child, or a -- an abduction, we will always polygraph the mother and the father, the last person to have been with the child and the person who reports the disappearance to the police.
We know that about 30 percent of the time, everything`s going to stop right there.
Now, for many, many years, through the `50s and `60s and `70s shame on us in law enforcement, because there were -- those were the days when we used to exclude the parents, the natural parent, as not being able to have harmed their own child. And of course, now we will know that that`s just not true.
It`s not a large percentage of people, but we`ve seen through Susan Smith and the like that natural parents do hurt their children. And so we need to eliminate those parents right from the get-go, and once we do, as Mr. Klaas will tell you, they become part of the investigative team. Once we know that we can share any investigative developments with them, they become part of the team, a very viable and important part of the team.
GRACE: Jack, you mean once they pass the polygraph, but Melinda Duckett wouldn`t even take one. The father immediately took it. And I couldn`t get from the mom why she wouldn`t take one.
TRIMARCO: Well, Nancy, you know, that is a very emotional time. I mean, the worst possible scenario for a polygraph examiner is to have to approach a mom and dad who have just lost their child to an abductor and ask them to take a polygraph test. However, I must say...
GRACE: Jack, why would you ever -- why would you ever put the concerns or the feelings of two adults, a mom and a dad, before doing whatever you had to do to find that child?
TRIMARCO: Nancy -- Nancy, my point is that for a polygraph examiner, amongst all of the emotion and the anger and these feelings of loss, you have to run a polygraph test and come to the truth.
And I must say that I`ve never had parents say no to me. They`ve always said yes, and they`ve always said yes enthusiastically once you explain to them that they are not a suspect. They are simply eliminating themselves from suspicion, and once that it`s policy, then they`re much more at ease and we get through it. And I`ve only had two people under those circumstances fail the polygraph, and both of them later confessed and led us to the bodies.
GRACE: Jack Trimarco, along with Harold Copus and Don Clark, all three former FBI, I want you to take a listen to what the mom, Melinda Duckett, said last week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Melinda, have you taken a polygraph?
MELINDA DUCKETT, MOTHER OF ABDUCTED BOY: I`ve spoken to the investigators, and Joshua is on the outside loop of it. And as far as the investigative techniques are concerned about polygraph stress test, physical searches, interviews, et cetera, my family and I have fully cooperated with law enforcement...
GRACE: Have you taken a polygraph?
DUCKETT: ... and the federal and everything. Hold on. And locally, they don`t have the necessary experience, and that`s why the FBI was called in to begin with. I`ve been instructed to only speak with them, with their unit, and anything that they release to the media or the public is up to them.
GRACE: Have you taken a polygraph?
DUCKETT: What or anything -- like I said, anything that I do or anything something in cooperation with them. I`m doing everything they want me to. But as far as details and everything, I mean, I`m leaving everything up to them.
GRACE: Right. Have you taken a polygraph?
DUCKETT: I`ve done everything they`ve asked me to.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: And in fact, she had not. Let`s go to the lines. Julie in Missouri, hi, Julie.
CALLER: How are you?
GRACE: I`m good. I want to find Trenton. What`s your question?
CALLER: Yes, my question is, did the other friend take a polygraph, and the one that did take it, did they pass?
And also, I have had a father that committed suicide, and they`re the only ones to blame. So just so everybody out there knows that.
GRACE: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, Julie, for saying that.
Let`s go out to Captain Steve Rockefeller, the captain of the Leesburg police department.
I understand she had two male friends over that evening. One has gone to serve the country in the military. The other one is there, is still around town. One has taken a polygraph that I understand passed it.
ROCKEFELLER: That`s correct. We interviewed both and we interviewed them multiple times separately, independently, and one of them was given a polygraph. And the -- we were satisfied with the results of that polygraph.
Let`s go out to the lawyers. Joining us tonight two veteran defense attorneys: Anne Bremner out of the Seattle jurisdiction, high profile lawyer and Ash Joshi, former prosecutor, current defense attorney out of the Atlanta jurisdiction.
Welcome, colleagues. You know, it has been over two weeks, Ash. What should law enforcement be doing now?
ASH JOSHI, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Well, I think they`re doing -- everything we`ve heard, Nancy, sounds like it`s right on the mark. I think they`re doing every possible thing that can be done.
GRACE: Right. What do you think? What is your theory on what else they could do?
JOSHI: You have to keep working on these two guys, because they`re the only people who have any knowledge of what Melinda was acing like and how she was thinking.
GRACE: Good point. I was just about to correct you and say, "But they didn`t see Trenton that night. What do they know?" But you`re right. Regarding her demeanor, Ash Joshi, what she was talking about, what her state of mind was, what did she do, what did she say when she went back there and she saw that child was not in the crib?
Anne Bremner, how important is it that police establish this time line? The mom is now dead by suicide.
ANNE BREMNER, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Absolutely, Nancy. It`s very important. And the thing is, there`s two things that I think are important in looking at this. You`ve got to find the person that did it, but you`ve also got to clear the person that didn`t.
And just because she didn`t take a polygraph, Nancy, doesn`t mean she did something wrong. Ted Bundy passed a polygraph.
And the second thing is with respect to her suicide, you know and we all know, that a suicide can be for any variety of reasons. You could look at Kurt Cobain. You can look at Ernest Hemingway, look at Virginia Woolf. The only time...
GRACE: Why? Why do you want me to look at them?
BREMNER: Because, Nancy, Nancy, that you could look at all different types of angst or depression.
GRACE: She would not tell me where she was the day, the whole day of Sunday.
BREMNER: But you know what, Nancy, she -- what we just heard on your show are people saying her suicide indicates she did it. There`s no indication of that whatsoever.
GRACE: Let`s go to headline`s Glenn Beck.
GLENN BECK, HOST, "GLENN BECK": Coming up, Nancy, tonight a special edition of the program on this, the fifth anniversary of 9/11. Tonight it is not just sadness; it is also honest questioning and some hope. Tonight, I`m going to ask the governor of New York, George Pataki, weather Ray Nagin was right. The World Trade Center, it`s a -- it`s a hole in the ground, isn`t it?
Also, we are no closer to catching the guy responsible for all this than we were a couple of years ago. What`s up with the hunt for Osama bin Laden?
And debunking the myths surrounding 9/11. Stick around.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are thoroughly investigating all possibilities. We have no reason to change our investigative focus on to a singular person or group of people.
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GRACE: Before we sign off tonight, let me remind you, there still is a very real chance this child could still be alive. Two-year-old Trenton Duckett, a parents` worst nightmare tucking him into his crib, only to come in two hours later, see a slit in the window screen and the baby gone.
To compound the mystery it, Trenton`s mother has committed suicide. She was the last one with the child, the only one that holds the answers to questions about the time line that day, that Sunday.
To Robi Ludwig, psychotherapist. Robi, as Jack Trimarco said earlier, for a long time, parents were never viewed as possible suspects. And I understand that. It`s hard to question a parent`s love. Robi, why do parents kill? It`s something nobody seems to understand, including me.
ROBI LUDWIG, PSYCHOTHERAPIST: Yes, it`s really hard to imagine how a parent can go there, especially a mother, because we don`t really like to think of mothers as murderers, especially when it comes to their children.
But this is what we know about maternal suicide, that when mothers kill, very often it`s due to a mental illness where they can be depressed, psychotic, or even suicidal. So in some cases, mothers kill because they view the child as an extension of themselves. So if, unfortunately, this woman somehow viewed her child as an extension of herself, she would off her child and then eliminate herself.
Again, we really don`t know what happened here. This could be a fragile personality who was reacting to the trauma and loss of her child, and this is what she did. So there`s still a lot of questions.
GRACE: Anne Bremner, a response?
BREMNER: O.J. Simpson, remember, he had the note where he looked like a suicide note. Guess what? He was acquitted. The prosecutors didn`t even use that in the courtroom. So the question of her trying to kill herself, et cetera, being involved in this doesn`t equate.
And the fact is, grief-stricken, horrible situation, a tragedy compounded by a tragedy. This woman -- you can`t speak ill of the dead here, Nancy. This is somebody that has not done -- done anything wrong.
GRACE: The big problem with your reasoning is that O.J. didn`t commit suicide. According to his civil jury, he committed double homicide. Correction.
BREMNER: He had a suicide note. He had a suicide note.
GRACE: Blah, blah.
BREMNER: He did.
GRACE: A note, a note. Right, a note, OK.
BREMNER: It`s the same kind of argument, Nancy, in this case. This woman, there`s no indication of her guilt and the child may well be alive.
GRACE: Let me correct you on another point, Anne.
BREMNER: To make sure that you get the word out so people look for clues to find this child, Nancy.
GRACE: Anne, we are not about convicting Melinda Duckett.
BREMNER: That`s true.
GRACE: We are here to try to find Trenton Duckett.
BREMNER: That`s true, but in the process, let`s make sure we have the right person. And in the process, let`s make sure that we don`t malign somebody. I`m not just saying that you are. I`m just saying let`s be careful to not come to conclusions where they`re not there yet. They`re just not.
GRACE: Take a listen to this.
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GRACE: Was he sleepy that night? Was he ready to go to bed or did he resist?
DUCKETT: No, extremely. He was tired. We had had a long day out. And my son is not a light sleeper whatsoever. You can move him from room to room and he`ll still be asleep.
And on top of that, he is very friendly and very outgoing to everyone. He can walk in a room full of strangers and make friends with people. And so I mean, if he met someone knew, he would start playing with them. He wouldn`t cry. He never had tantrums or anything.
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GRACE: According to neighbors, the child was not friendly and outgoing. They never saw him. He rarely came outside of his apartment.
To Tim Miller with Texas Equusearch, also a crime victim himself. What`s your best advice to help the police? They`re doing everything they`ve got. You`ve conducted more searches than any of us put together, Tim.
TIM MILLER, TEXAS EQUUSEARCH: Thank you, Nancy. Thanks for having me on.
You know, No. 1, this is just a tremendous tragedy for everybody involved. And you know, we`ve had so much success with finding victims out there and the problem being is that Trenton`s been gone a long time now. Just two weeks ago, we found a lady on the 19th day of her disappearance, and it took 10 days to even get her identified.
GRACE: What`s your advice to the police?
MILLER: You know, right now, I think the search needs to go on. We`re certainly offering our resources to come out there. The sooner Trenton`s found, let`s hope he`s alive. Let`s hold on to that miracle. But if he`s not, we need to find him, determine that cause of death.
They`ll have a crime scene and then they can be really put a case together. So, again, we`re willing to offer anything we can do, but you know what? This search needs to continue. We`ve done a lot of research on this. We know there`s a lot of water around there; there`s a lot of areas. And we will -- we`re willing to help any way that they can help.
GRACE: And of course, you know everyone, Tim Miller has volunteered to do searches all over the world, including in Aruba for Natalee Holloway.
Let`s go to the lines. Janice in Florida.
CALLER: Hi, Nancy.
GRACE: What`s your question, dear?
CALLER: My question is, where are Melinda`s parents in all this? I`ve heard a lot about the grandparents, but where are her parents?
GRACE: To Marilyn Asiago with the "Daily Commercial", where are her parents, Marilyn?
ASIAGO: I`ve actually never heard Melinda`s father mentioned ever, but her mother does live in upstate New York.
GRACE: Let`s go to Captain Steve Rockefeller with the Leesburg Police Department. Captain Rockefeller, what do you advise viewers tonight? What can we do to help you?
ROCKEFELLER: Well, I still want to have folks just be looking for Trenton in the flyers, just study his picture, look for him. If somebody on the off chance is still holding him out from -- you know, away from his mother, father, just be looking for him.
Also again, be looking at the properties in the Lake County area in particular. Study your own properties. Get out there and look on your own properties and just send your property managers out there to look. That`s about the best that we can do right now.
GRACE: And Liz, let`s show that map to the viewers.
Marc Klaas, president of Beyond Missing and crime victim himself, victim`s advocate. Marc, we see the search has now shifted to dumps, to grassy areas. Thoughts?
KLAAS: I`ll tell you what I think should happen right now. And we`re working with law enforcement to make this work. We think that a new poster should be put out with a picture of the little boy, of his mother and of the color and kind of car she was driving during the last two days so that somebody might be able to start putting this time line together. This hasn`t really been addressed yet. But she was driving around in something, and we don`t know what that is.
GRACE: Tonight, the five-year mark of September 11, the attack on America. We remember those who lost their lives during the worst attack on U.S. soil in our nation`s history.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This just in, you are looking at obviously a very disturbing live shot there. That is the World Trade Center, and we have unconfirmed reports this morning that a plane has crashed into one of the towers of the World Trade Center.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was working that day for the corporation.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I grieve every day. There`s no stopping grieving.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just live with it every day.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Attention! Present arms.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Five years ago today, was one of the darkest and most tragic days in our history.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We miss you. Be an angel to my children, Theo and Stefania (ph). May our grandchildren and the generations born after us are born into a world where they won`t have to stand here ever.
GRACE: And the struggle goes on. We remember Marine Sergeant Justin Noyes, Oneta, Oklahoma. On his second tour of duty, joins the Marines a day before his 18th birthday, awarded the Purple Heart, a newlywed, leaving behind a loving family and widow. Justin Noyes, American hero.
Thank you for being with us, inviting us into your homes. Nancy Grace signing off. And on this night, God bless America.