Melinda Duckett Updated Timeline

Click Image to Enlarge

  • Blue placemarks represent the locations Melinda is known to have visited on August 26.
  • Green placemarks represent the locations Melinda is known to have been at or in the vicinity of on August 27.
  • Orange placemarks represent locations Melinda claims to have visited on August 27.
  • The Knight Lake location is where Teresa McAbee’s body was recoverd in 1987. No evidence ties Melinda to that location. It is only a theory discussed later in this entry.


June 6

  • Melinda completes and signs her will.

June 14

  • Melinda files for divorce from Joshua Duckett.

July 3

  • Melinda faked an email from Joshua to herself, threatening to kill her and Trenton.

    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.”

    “Years ago, you stole my heart and f–ed me over.”

    “I don’t even think Trenton is my son anyway and your (sic) going to pay for what you’ve done to my life. I want you to be put through torture.”

    “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.”

    Referenced articles:

    MSNBC article
    Nancy Grace transcript 1 & 2

July 5

  • Melinda requests a protective order, based on the threatening e-mail.

July 13

  • A no contact order is issued, and Melinda is granted temporary custody of Trenton. Joshua is hereafter prevented from seeing or speaking to his son.

August 25

    8:12 pm

  • Melinda made the following comment on her friend Ryan’s MySpace page:

    Well, well…how was work and all? I just got back home…had a slight emergency today and then my friends called me up to their house and I participated in the great sport of beer-pong. Needless to say, my buddy and I lost…but this time I didn’t up dancing on the table…oh, that’s right, I didn’t mention that one, did I? Those were the wilder days…LOL. Anyway, hope all is good and your talking care…talk later on…I’m off to bed and turning that damn phone off because it’s been going off non-stop!

In hindsight, I find it odd that Melinda made a point of posting on a page (viewable to the public) that she was turning off her cell phone. Why mention it? She had made no other reference to her phone or of numerous calls being a nuisance. Was she setting up an alibi for why her cell phone, and consequentially, her whereabouts, were untraceable during the next 40 hours, with the exception of the 7 hours spent at her grandparents’ house?

August 26

    9:00 am – 4:00 pm

  • Melinda and Trenton spent a good portion of the day at her grandparents’ home. While there, Melinda reportedly did laundry while Trenton played, and the two took a long nap together.
  • At some point during the day, Melinda made plans with two male friends to watch movies at her apartment.
  • 4:20 pm

  • Melinda was apparently home at her apartment where she posted a comment on a friend’s page.
  • 5:25 pm

  • Melinda used a credit card to purchase gas at a BP station south of Leesburg.

    Investigators learned that a previously unknown credit card issued to Melinda Duckett was used to buy gas at 5:25 p.m. that day at the BP station at U.S. Highway 27 and County Road 48. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]

Again, I emphasize that Melinda took pains to keep secret her whereabouts between the time she left her grandparents’ home on Saturday afternoon and her ATM transaction on Sunday morning. Why was that necessary, and where exactly was she? There were reports that Melinda and Trenton were seen by more than one witness in the Ocala National Forest the weekend little Trenton went missing. Police initially took Melinda at her word that she had tried to visit a firing range there on Sunday but became lost. An exhaustive search was carried out there, producing nothing of value in the search for Trenton Duckett. However, it hasn’t been definitively reported whether the sightings occurred on Saturday or Sunday. Police still consider the tips credible and have conducted subsequent searches of other areas in the park. Melinda was allegedly seen in a Leesburg business without Trenton around 8 am Sunday morning. It stands to reason that something may have happened to Trenton prior to that time. Police have expressed little hope of finding the toddler alive, but Joshua Duckett is keeping the faith, believing that Melinda “stashed” young Trenton somewhere to keep him from his father.

August 27

8:00 am

  • Melinda was reportedly seen in a Leesburg business without Trenton.
  • 10:49 am

  • Melinda withdrew $40 from a Leesburg ATM.
  • 11:15 am

  • A drive-thru server claims to have seen Michelle and Trenton at a Belleview Wendy’s before he was reported missing on August 27. Melinda came thru the drive-thru again about 20 minutes later without Trenton. **New info made available on 11/15/06.
  • 12:08 – 12:28 pm

  • Melinda was in the area of the Paddock Mall on SR 200 in Ocala. This is the first instance on record of Melinda’s cell phone use throughout the weekend. The 12:08 call was made to her friend, Chai-Wen Chen, who is the manager of a Rent-a-Center across the street from the Belleview Wendy’s where Melinda and Trenton were last seen together.
  • 12:30 pm

  • Call made from Wildwood cell tower.
  • 12:45 pm

  • Call made from Minneola cell tower.
  • Notice the 2 hours 57 minutes time gap here. The drive from Minneola to Tavares should have taken about half an hour — probably less considering Melinda’s tendency to speed. What was she doing during that nearly three hour span that apparently went unrecorded by her cell phone?

    In discussing the case at CrimeBlog.US, I speculated earlier that if Melinda wanted to implicate Joshua in Trenton’s abduction, she would probably dispose of his body in a location that held some significance for Joshua.

    If Melinda was trying to make Joshua look like the guilty party in their son’s abduction/possible murder, perhaps authorities should be searching the areas where Joshua’s father allegedly dumped his victims. I say “allegedly” because he has been convicted for only one of the crimes of which he is suspected. He sits on death row for the kidnap, rape, and murder of 11-year-old Teresa McAbee, but he is a suspect in at least two other murders. Teresa McAbee’s body was dumped in Knight Lake, near Mascotte, Florida. Mascotte is only a twenty minute drive from Leesburg, where Melinda and Trenton lived. Another likely victim is 14-year-old Jennifer Weldon, whose body was found near a phosphate mine in a remote area of Polk County. And a third possible victim is an unidentified young woman who was found in a water-filled pit near Lakeland. She was strangled about a year prior to Teresa McAbee’s murder.I’m not bringing this up to debate the guilt or innocence of Joshua’s dad. I just think that if Melinda wanted to pin the blame on Joshua, she might have left Trenton’s body at one of those locales because of the signifacance to his dad. BTW, Joshua was nearly two years old (very close in age to Trenton) at the time Teresa McAbee was killed.

    Posted on 11-Sep-06 at 1:13 pm

    The media made mention of the criminal history of Joshua’s father early on in the investigation. He is currently on Florida’s death row for the abduction, rape, and murder of 11-year-old Teresa McAbee. Her body was found floating at the edge of Knight Lake in Mascotte, where James Duckett was a rookie cop, the morning after she disappeared. Note the proximity of Mascotte to Minneola.

    Click Here For My Interactive Timeline Map

    In contrast to my speculation as to Mascotte, Melinda claimed to have traveled in the area of the Altamonte Mall, in Altamonte Springs, and the TD Waterhouse arena, in Orlando. She sketched out a map for her attorney depicting her route on August 27. It’s unclear whether the map is an honest representation of Melinda’s travels that day or another attempt to mislead investigators. There are no cell phone records to back up her claim. It appears that Melinda must have turned off her phone somewhere in the vicinity of Minneola , perhaps to prevent her whereabouts during that time from later becoming known. Why? The very fact that she tried to obfuscate her location calls into question the legitimacy of her declaration.

    All we know for certain is that at 12:45 pm, Melinda was near Minneola, and at 3:42, she was near Tavares. The three hours in between are as yet a mystery, and it seems it was Melinda’s intention to make it so.

      3:42 pm

    • Call made from Tavares cell tower.
    • 3:47 pm

    • Melinda in vicinity of the Bassville cell tower.
    • 4:00 pm

    • Melinda seen alone outside her apartment at Windemere Villas.
    • 6:40 pm

    • Melinda claims to have put Trenton to bed.
    • 6:55 pm

    • Melinda’s friends arrive to watch movies.
    • 9:00 pm

    • Melinda allegedly discovers that Trenton is missing from his bed. The window is open and the screen is slashed.
    • 9:19 pm

    • Police respond to 911 call.
    • Unknown time

    • One of Melinda’s male guests was observed putting bags of trash into the garbage bin outside the apartment complex before driving Melinda to the Leesburg Police Department for an interview. The bags were later recovered by police and found to contain pictures of Trenton, a sonogram, toys, a toy chest, food items, and other baby care articles.

    August 28

    • Joshua and Melinda were to appear at a scheduled hearing regarding Trenton’s custody.

    September 8

    • Melinda Duckett commits suicide with her grandfather’s shotgun in a closet at their residence. She reportedly left behind four notes, one of which was addressed to the Public. Police later said there were only three notes which could be characterized as suicide notes. It’s unclear if Melinda left a note for law enforcement officers, as well. They will only say that there are no notes that will lead them to Trenton or his demise.

    September 21

    • Police declare Melinda their primary suspect in the disappearance of Trenton Duckett.

    **Just as the timeline posted last week, this one will be updated as details become available. Both the satellite image, included in this entry, and the timeline map, linked above, have been updated, as well. 

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