A young mother dialed 911 on August 27, 2006, from her home in Leesburg, Florida, to report how her 2-year-old son had disappeared.
Melinda Duckett, then 20, revealed to the dispatcher how her son Trenton had disappeared from his bedroom while she was watching a movie with some friends.
“He was ready for bed,” she informed the dispatcher. “He might have had his shoes off and his shirt off. He had a pair of jean shorts. He’s only 2 years old.”
Police quickly arrived on the scene to find the screen to Trenton’s bedroom window had been cut and the boy had disappeared without a trace. For over 14 years, the case has puzzled authorities and haunted Trenton’s family.
“We are still actively searching for him,” Trenton’s maternal grandmother, Beth Eubank, shared.
“Somebody has to know something. Someone has to have answers.”
And while Melinda Duckett was the prime suspect in the investigation, she was never arrested. A few weeks later, she made an appearance on the Nancy Grace TV show and offered up conflicting information about Trenton’s disappearance. During the broadcast, Grace allegedly accused Duckett of being evasive.
The day after taping the show, Duckett penned a 2-page letter addressed to “the public.” In the note, she boasted her love for Trenton, and complained about being treated with “ridicule and criticism.” She left the letter on the dashboard of her car before shooting herself.
For Eubank, the loss has been devastating — as she has had to mourn the death of her daughter and grapple with the disappearance of her grandson.
“It has been hard,” she revealed. “But we’re never going to give up looking for Trenton. He’s alive out there somewhere.”
“[Melinda] was a young mother who was doing her best” Eubank continues. “We just need to know what happened to Trenton. I don’t want him to be forgotten.”
Trenton would be 16-years-old and Eubank believes this is very important. “This is the age where he would start driving. He’ll need his birth certificate to get paperwork. Maybe he doesn’t even know that he’s missing until he starts looking for paperwork.”
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children released an age-progressed photo late last year of what Trenton Duckett would look like as a teenager. Eubank is hoping it will make all the difference.
“I’ve never given up hope that we’ll find him,” she says. “I want him to know that he’s loved and he’s missed, every day.”
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.