Saturday, September 16, 2006

To Live and Die in Cyberia

Tags: MySpace, pop culture
What would take to rock your world? To knock you so far off your feet you'd never get up again? To push you off the edge forever? What or who would have to disappear from your life that would make you murder another or take your own life? (Some argue that suicide IS murder.)

A murder and a suicide. Ten or Twenty years ago there would be a news article, maybe some follow-up in Time or Newsweek, and of course the National Enquirer, but it would pretty much end right there. I personally KNEW a murder victim, and I also knew a suicide victim. You don't hear much about either one of them today, and as a matter of fact, one of them fails to show up in any searches I've done on Yahoo or Google. It was in the year or two just before the internet burst on the scene, and it's as if it never happened! Today we have MySpace, FaceBook, blogs, personal websites, chatrooms and forums. The dead sometimes seem as if they are still alive--- many seem to "come to life" after they're gone.

The lives of each of us, whether we dare admit it or no, are intricate tapestries of relationships and situations, one counterbalancing another. For some us the delicate balance is more easily disturbed than for others.

A murder and a suicide. Two people who never knew each other. Two who lived and died, and live on in Cyberspace.

The Suicide: Dead Florida Mom Grew Up In Lockport
Two weeks after telling police that her son was snatched from his crib, Melinda Duckett found herself reeling in an interview with TV's famously prosecutorial Nancy Grace. Before it was over, Ms. Grace was pounding her desk and loudly demanding to know: "Where were you? Why aren't you telling us where you were that day?"
A day after the taping, Duckett, 21, shot herself to death, deepening the mystery of what happened to the boy. But let's go back in time: Duckett happens to be a western New York native. Melinda Eubank was her name when she attended Lockport High.

Melinda (Eubank) Duckett's two year old son, Trenton, was reported missing from his crib by his mother last month. She grew up on Sunset drive. Neighbors say she didn't come outside often, but they recall her as a very smart girl.

The Lockport High school principal says the school is saddened by Melinda's death. She was a "great student to have, it was a shock," said Frank Movalli, principal. He says Melinda left the school after her sophomore year to live with her grandparents in Florida.

The family of the missing Florida boy says CNN's Nancy Grace and others in the media helped push Melinda over the edge. Investigators say Melinda Duckett shot herself to death Friday, the day after she was grilled by Grace in a telephone interview, and hours before the interview aired.

This page from WESH-TV in Daytona is LOADED with Video.
The Melinda and Trenton Duckett Story
Melinda Duckett filed for divorce from Joshua Duckett on June 14, and the two were fighting for custody of Trenton. Two days before Trenton Duckett was reported missing, his mother bought a shotgun at a local pawn shop, authorities said Monday.

Although it was not the gun that Melinda Duckett used to kill herself last week (she used her Grandad's shotgun), it may be another puzzle piece for investigators as they try to link the events that led up to 2-year-old Trenton's disappearance Aug. 27 -- and his mother's suicide almost two weeks later.

SacredScoop is blogging about Melinda's funeral:
Melinda Duckett was laid to rest on Friday, as the search for Trenton Duckett in the Ocala National Forest was suspended briefly. A large search party has resumed the quest to find Trenton Duckett today however.

Melinda Duckett was reported to be spotted in the Ocala National forest by a tipster, and police have focused their attention on that part of the state. Whether the tipster is credible or not remains to be seen.
According to websleuths, Joshua is on parole and living in Palm Beach county. And here is a link for the Grandfather who is on death row:
http://www.dc.state.fl.us/ActiveInmates/detail.asp?Bookmark=3&From=list&SessionID=632160642
Keep in mind some bloggers have noted that the abovementioned Joshua is not the same man as the father of the missing toddler. I'll leave that for you to sort out!

Melinda Duckett: the MySpace angle
TV host backed by husband of suicide mom--- here's his MySpace page:
http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendID=92022224

Grace grilling precedes a mom's suicide

A reader on one of the many forums that have sprung up following Melinda's death asks "Why doesn't the mother appear anywhere on the myspace profile?
http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=98473990

Something tells me we've just scratched the surface in the Melinda Duckett Mystery!

Murdered?
CrimeBlog.US has the story titled "A Life Worth Living: Avnita Ghuman" about a young Indian beauty who allegedly died as a result of dabbling in drugs. If you read her MySpace pages and other links you'll find Avnita was a very smart, savvy, cultured, intelligent human being. Drugs know no boundaries when it comes to race, caste or class!

Avnita's death has been difficult for her roomate "Jonathan." This is from a blog entry he recently posted: (link) -
Avnita and I have known each other (and lived together) basically the whole time I've lived in Georgia (about two years). We grew incredibly close... to say the least. Most people who didn't know us thought we were married because we did EVERYTHING together. And not out of obligation, but because our days were truly brightened by each other. We always used to joke about how our "relationship" was meant-to-be from the get-go, because we met not in Georgia, but on the plane as we were both coming from Los Angeles. As soon as we moved into together (with Beth) in Sandy Springs, we immediately bonded. We told each other things that we dared not tell anyone else because we felt that close of a bond. As our first holiday season rolled around, we discovered a mutual love to be overly-festive and would buy out whole sections at Wal-Mart to decorate our townhome for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. We introduced each other to our own family traditions and formed new ones together.

We were inseparable. Even through all the faults we confessed to each other our love did not waver.

We were each other's strengths. Each other's hope that we could eventually be a better person...
Imagine, meeting someone so wonderful, mystical, and having such a bond! The kind of friendship or comradery many of us find just once in a lifetime, if at all. Avnita is not the first person to die as a result of an association with the drug culture. Not the first, and not the last.

These are difficult times we live in. they always have been, and always will be. We do our best to live like there's "no day but today," but sometimes that's just not enough. If you are a religious person you may want to remember these two departed souls in your next prayer session. If you are not, read more about them and try to focus on their good qualities.

What could either Melinda or Avnita done to change their respective situations for the better? What advice might you have given one or both of them had you had the chance to do so?

KSU Student Dead in Trunk of Car

3 comments:

Melinda Duckett’s Online Journal said...

I just want to get some more of my opinions out there and let the world see a part of me that they haven’t seen before. What do you define love as? I know for a fact that it’s an emotion… It makes you do crazy things and lose your cool and act like a fool, become romantic when [you’re] not, try to please another even through ways that do not define your personality… you think about them every once in a while and all the times in between… you love seeing them even if it’s when they just wake up with messy hair and bad breath… your breath is caught when they kiss you… love is given to someone in the best and worst of times. You praise the one you love when they do something outstanding, when you’re proud of them, you hug and kiss them when you’ve missed them or just or just want their physical touch which is so enchanting to you when you first fall in love and hopefully stays that way throughout your relationship

(…)

True love stays there through the obstacles and hardships… What about the ‘I like you’ factor? Like is nothing like love, but you probably already know that because [you’re] all in the same ‘life cyle’ boat as the rest of us. If [you’re] looking though,… my best advice: stop looking. You’ll never find the right person that way and end up made because of all the wrong ones. (I would know this first hand.) And if you find someone and they aren’t interested… the best thing to do is give them the space they want and see where it goes…

Musings that could be found in the blog or journal of a ton of 21-year-olds.

About a month later, Melinda Duckett appeared to be pretty pissed, and from the sound of it, she was pissed at a man. The language that follows is graphic.

Melinda titled the blog entry “Players that Can’t Play… FUCK YOU.” In the entry, Melinda posted the following (I’ve not corrected any spelling mistakes in this quote as I did in the first passage quoted above):

i have news for all those fakers out there that try to lie, cheat, and play the game…your not right. your morals are fucked up, your personality sucks, and you won’t make it very far in life. infact i hope you end up alone and miserable…sitting in your room every night thinking about the low, dirty crap you’ve put people through. think about how you’ve hurt them and i hope that eventually you feel all the pain and suffering, all the heartaches you’ve caused and i hope that they’re ten fold worse. i hope that for the rest of your life your miserable and lonely. the world: cold and dark, seemingly that everyone you’ve ever loved has abandoned you and left you to your thoughts. the ironic part will be that you have a good job, have the money, a nice house, a family….wife and maybe one or two kids…the only problem, it’s your past that’s haunting you. i wish you all the gold in the world, but your feelings….will be forever hurting and lost in the vast arena of heartbreaks….the arena that you created for the ones that fell for you, the ones that you thought you could play but they found out about your game and were hurt so deeply by your arrogance. you’ll remember all of the hurtful things you have ever done to anyone else, all the lies will be turn around and be played on you, all the lonely nights will come back to you…your wife will cheat on you after years of faithful loyalty, or so you thought it was, your children will turn from you and leave you alone with your empty house and empty life. congrats. you’ve played the game and these are the rewards that you’re heading towards. eventually everyone will realize what kinds of bullshit you’re capable of and they will understand that you will reap what you soe. it will all come back around to you and you deserve every bit of it. those people that realize it, will have nothing to do with you unless they are as low as you are…those are the kinds of friends…the only kind of friends you will have. good luck with your life players and have fun being lonely. believe me, in the years to come, you’ll come to the point where you’ll look back and the past WILL COME TO HAUNT YOU…

Melinda didn’t name anyone in that entry, and it can’t be seen as she posted it on MySpace, so we don’t have access to any tell-tale comments possibly left on the blog by friends that might have indicated just who was the object of Melinda Duckett’s anger.

Could she have been directing her wrath at Joshua Duckett?

About a week after the angry entry to “fakers,” Melinda Duckett wrote about her son. She titled the blog entry, “Light of My Life.” Some news articles have indicated that Melinda was involved with a local charismatic Christian church, and some of that seems to show in this blog post. I added emphasis to portions of the following that I found interesting:

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 may stop talking to me 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) Of course those are the people that are shallow and I do not want them involved in my life anyway… I have had to fight to keep my son, whom I am extremely proud of. The father lied to the authorities whom were friends of his family, forced me to jump through legal and emotional hoops. Now that I am on top of the situation, I am struggling to stay in the middle class as a citizen of Florida. I work hard to put the roof over my son’s head and give him whatever he needs. I take my responsibilities seriously and even though I may go out and relax every once in a while, I only do so to detox from all the stress just so I can return to the long to-do list that I have acquired. 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 twenty year old does not normally have to deal with, I want everyone to know how proud I am to be who I am (…) I will certainly admit that I have not led the most honorable life and I have made my mistakes. I wish I could take back much of the trouble that I have been involved in, as I am sure others think the same in their lives. I am sorry for the misunderstandings with friends and foes and right now I am at a point that I only want people to think right of me. Every person is a sinner, yet every person can also be repented. I am trying to make a good life for myself and Trenton and I feel that deserves my peers respect…

That blog entry made me think.

I thought about Susan Smith, and Dianne Downs. Both women ultimately murdered (and in Downs’s case, maimed) their children because they feared that the kids were a burden to being with the men they wanted.

That was why I emphasized this quote from Melinda Duckett: “they are trying to date me instead of being friends and do not want a child involved.”

She was standing up to the idea in that blog entry. Did the thought that a man might not want her and Trenton too start to bother her again?

Melinda Duckett was not happy. That comes through in her blog entries I mined from Technorati, as well as the entries Manue referenced in the comment posted on my previous entry.

Melinda posted a poem in an entry a little more than two months ago. She titled it, “Move On.” Quote:

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.
I should have made known what I look for, not throwing attention out the door.
To this day no man has come close, to the values I swallow in a heavy dose.
No one can match what i expect, flawless in everything and even perfect.
Because of a child I search not only for I, the search presses on until the day that I die.
Apologies given now are far too cold, I’ve given your affection to the open road.
Just move on and find a lover, to help you mend and recover.
You thought that I was in your dream, a wonderful surprise or so it did seem.
I led you on and should have known, fairytale love I refuse to condone.
And then once again you did it too, assumptions took flight and you watched as they flew.
The ones of me you made in your head, words you never should have said.
You trusted a rogue that follows defiance, and somehow attempted to make an alliance.
But I can not be tamed to what you want, I run around with attitude to flaunt.
Let me roam on and continue my search, stay a friend and do not be hurt.

“Because of a child…”

I think that perhaps the reason for Trenton Duckett’s fate, the fate many are now afraid he met, is beginning to become clear.

And the sad thing is, as I noted with examples like Susan Smith, it is beginning to look like the story of Melinda Duckett and her son, Trenton isn’t all that new.

Another poem Melinda wrote, just over 3 months ago, three weeks prior to the poem above, almost sounds like a warning. A warning that no one noticed until Trenton Duckett vanished. I’ve maintained Melinda’s habit of posting in all capital letters for this quote:

HOW COULD YOU BE IN THE RIGHT STATE OF MIND, DO YOU NOT KNOW WHAT YOU’VE LEFT BEHIND?

I WANT YOU TO STAY HERE IN MY LIFE, BUT DO NOT STUMBLE UPON MY STRIFE.

I’VE TRIED SO HARD TO CONTAIN THE BAD, AND ALL THE TROUBLES THAT I HAVE HAD.

I DO NOT WANT THEM TO HURT YOU TOO, I KNOW WHAT HARM MY EVILS CAN DO.

BUT TRY AS I MIGHT MY HEART WON’T RELEASE, THE YEARNING I HAVE TO BE AT PEACE.

I DREAMT OF THE DAY MY PRINCE WOULD ARRIVE, DELIVERING ME FROM THE HELL I HAVE DERIVED.

TO MAKE MY LIFE INTO SOMETHING WORTHWHILE, TO PUT ON MY FACE AN EFFORTLESS SMILE.

AND HERE YOU ARE STANDING AT MY DOOR, AND THERE IS MY PRIDE LAYING ON THE FLOOR.

I BROKE INTO PIECES HAVEN’T YOU SEEN, FROM A MASK OF SINS I MUST BE REDEEMED.

I WARNED YOU OF THE BAGGAGE I DRAG, AND HOW DEEPLY MY INNOCENCE HAS BEGUN TO SAG.

SO IN THE FUTURE SHOULD MISERY COME, I SENT THE WARNING THAT HAD TO BE DONE.

NOW UNTIL THAT DAY MY HEART IS FOR YOU, UNTIL THAT DAY YOU DECIDE THAT YOUR THROUGH.

DO WHAT YOU MUST, YOUR HEART NEEDS PROTECTION, AND PERHAPS ONE DAY I’LL LEARN MY LESSON.

NOONE SHOULD LOVE A WRETCH SUCH AS I, ALONE MUST I DWELL UNTIL THE DAY THAT I DIE.

The poem was written months before her son vanished, before she faced harsh and probing questions on national TV, before Melinda Duckett committed suicide.

Yet it reads like both a warning and an explanation.

Misery came. I wonder who remembered Melinda’s “warning” written above when the first news of her son’s disappearance was broadcast there in Florida?

If Melinda did murder her son and his remains lay hidden somewhere, I can’t help but feel that she will be as alone in death as her poem stated she was in life.

UPDATE, 8:33 a.m. EDT

Since a comment left below made me realize I bristle at any implication I’d make something like this up, I wanted to add this: if you want to take a look at Melinda Duckett’s MySpace blog entries at your leisure, as I was able to do, just e-mail me via my contact form.

I’ll respond with the few short steps you’d need to take to look at the same entries. You’ll find that she made at least 13 MySpace blog entries over the space of 6 months, and some of them were as mundane as an entry where she reviewed the movie version of The Da Vinci Code, and another blog entry where she aired her views on abortion (which were very mainstream and probably in-line with those of a million other 21-year-old women).

I stated that Melinda Duckett sometimes blogged in all capital letters — she did. Why, I don’t know, as I figured anyone under 30 knows off-hand that all caps is the online equivalent of shouting. Maybe just so she could type fast. I changed the case on two quotes above (pretty tedious, as I forgot the automatic way to do it — there’s a keystroke combination in Microsoft Word that allows you to change the case of a block of text if you want. I just can’t remember it), but I decided to leave the last quote as Melinda wrote it. I did break up the text to make it easier on the eyes — when Technorati caches it eliminates paragraph breaks, or skews them. One reason I left the last poem I quoted in all capital letters was because I saw it to some degree as a kind foreshadowing of things to come.

Last check I did of the news, crews were still digging where a tip had led investigators in Florida in their hunt for any sign of Trenton, and Melinda’s grandparents are now saying directly that the grilling Melinda Duckett received from Nancy Grace was a catalyst in Melinda’s suicide.

I don’t like what Nancy did for a number of reasons, but she didn’t pull that trigger, Melinda did.

UPDATE, 3:50 p.m. EDT

I’ve been chatting today via e-mail and phone with Stephen Stock, investigative reporter for WESH TV in Orlando. I’ve been told there will be a story on tonight about these finds regarding Melinda Duckett’s MySpace weblog, with credit given to CrimeBlog.US.

I’m thanking Stephen in advance for that and for his care in getting the story straight. Full disclosure — since I’ve referenced WESH TV for more than one mainstream news article about the Duckett case, I sent them a tip about this entry after I posted it very early this morning.

If you live in Orlando you can just tune in — I’m not certain which newscast, but the 6 o’clock block sticks in my head. If I get further details, I will post them. The station’s URL written out:

http://www.wesh.com/.

I’m grateful to a reader who remains anonymous at the moment for sending me this link.

The discussion you’ll see if you click through is a thread begun on a message board devoted to scrapbooking by a “friend of a friend” of Beth Eubank, Melinda Duckett’s mother. Quoting from the first post, made on September 1st:

This is not a scam. I just got off the phone with her about ten minutes ago. She’s feeling really helpless and is pretty frantic.

Please do everything you can to help: go to the website and look at his picture. Forward the email to everyone you know. Any help would be appreciated. And of course, prayers and positive thoughts are always appreciated. Let’s find this kid!

Here is [Beth’s] email:

Hey Everyone, As some/most of you know I have a daughter Mindy 21 that lives in fla, she recently divorced and has sole custody of Trenton my grandson who is age 2. Trenton just turned 2 on Aug 10.

On sunday night, Mindy put Trenton to bed and went to check on him a few hours later to find him missing. He had been abducted by someone(the police have interviewed her, ex,and family) cutting the screen on his bedroom window.

The county, state and FBI have been working on this case. since last night. Im asking everyone to PLEASE go to WWW.MISSINGKIDS.com(.) Look up Trenton J. Duckett. Email this to your friends who live in the fla and surrounding states. Please if they spot him to call local police. There is a amber alert also for him. He is 2 and would go to anyone and loves everyone. things between Mindy and us have not always been the greatest, but this is pure *H-E-Double Hockeysticks* above it all.

This is a nightmare I had never wanted to have to deal with or hoped I would ever to have to or anyone I know have to. I am 2000 miles away and feel totally helpless. Please please please spread the word to your family and friends if you have them that are in that area.

Thank you all Beth Eubank…

In another e-mail posted further down the thread, “Beth’s” forwarded message read in part:

So far nothing new in the disappearence of Trenton, its been 6 days. The Fbi was here earlier this week interviewing Jerry and I for about 2 hours. They have brought in more Fbi units from other parts of the state.

Everyone is still a suspect, noone has been ruled out. There is no concrete evidence this was custodial or stranger. Theres been alot of speculation which at this point alot of stuff is fliing and alot of “dirty laundry” drying out by reporters who now are calling us. My feeling is let go of the past point the finger after Trenton is found. The Lockport union sun published the picture that was on missing kids, however the Buffalo news didnt feel it was important enough because it was 1500 miles away,& it sounds like custodial. needless to say I was appauled and fumin. but they publish hurricanes go figure. There was a report last night of a fl highway patrol that pulled a car over (noplate) with a child init matching trenton description and someone pushing a child down on the floor boards, when the officer approached the car fled, supervisor advised the patrol not to pursue so that was kind of a ray of hope. Amber alert still on and be on the look out…

Anonymous said...

Here ya go! Melinda's lesbian lover from Lockport!
http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=4363554

ABOGADO DE FAMILIA said...

Excelente tu post. Sigan asi, desde Argentina

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