Tuesday, August 18, 2009
On Friday, April 28, 2005 Mary Hatcher, the attorney for Josh Duckett, filed the papers in the Sumter courthouse for determination of paternity, custody of Trenton and child support from Melinda.
On Friday, April 28, 2005, Melinda dropped Trenton off at her babysitter in Bushnell, a kindly black woman named Rose. Melinda went to work at the Webster Feed Store where she was a cashier. She called up "Nanny and Poppy" and asked if they all could spend the evening together. Melinda picked up Trenton and drove from Bushnell to The Villages that evening after a 10 hour work day. They went to Wal*Mart and picked up a Disney video for Trenton. After watching the video, Melinda gave Trenton a bath, partially dressed him (no shirt) and he fell asleep.
While Melinda was at her grandparents' she received a couple phone calls from Josh. Nancy overheard Melinda say to Josh, "I'll take care of him myself". It was getting late, around 10 PM and Melinda picked up the sleeping Trenton, without his shirt, and placed him in his car seat in her car - an old Neon. The grandparents wanted her to spend the night but Melinda said she wanted to shower at her place and she had some things to do.
Melinda drove to her apartment in Bushnell and put Trenton to bed. She took a shower, but Josh kept calling her and basically harassed her. He knew how to push her buttons. At one point Melinda just couldn't take it anymore and told Josh that she just wanted to end their relationship, but according to the police report she said "I want to end it".
What Melinda did not know, was that Josh was calling her from the Bushnell Police Department. He had his phone set on "speaker" and he was standing next to Carla's friend Police Chief Joyce Tamara Wells.
Let me pause here and tell you that this all took place after midnight! How was this never challenged that Josh was AT the police station, talking to Melinda on the phone, waiting for her to say "anything they could use against her" to make her an unfit mother.
Melinda became uneasy about the things Josh was saying and she was scared. She got dressed, put Trenton in his car seat and headed out her driveway for her grandparents house. But the Police were waiting for her.
Police Chief Wells reached in and took Trenton out of his car seat and put him in her car, with no shirt on him, and no car seat in her car. She also took Melinda's purse, which she kept over the weekend. She drove Trenton to the police station where Josh and Carla were waiting for him.
The deputy handcuffed Melinda, took her car keys and put Melinda in the backseat of his squad car. While on the way to Lifestream, Melinda managed to get her hand free to use her cell phone. She called her grandparents and told them she was in the back seat of the police car on her way to Lifestream and that they had taken Trenton. She asked her grandparents to please call her boss and let them know what was happening as she didn't want to lose her job.
Melinda was checked into Lifestream at 3 AM Saturday. There was no doctor available to evaluate her until Sunday morning. When the doctor finished his evaluation he said that Melinda should never have been baker acted and released her at 11 AM Sunday morning. Melinda was at Lifestream for less than the required 72 hours.
Sunday, the grandparents were in church, so Melina had Cara's family pick her up from Lifestream and drive her to the police station to get her car keys. She was unable to get her purse because Joyce Wells took it home with her.
In the meantime, Melinda called Josh about Trenton and he agreed to meet her with Trenton at a Wendy's. Melinda called a friend to drive her car for her - Melinda didn't have her drivers' license so she couldn't chance driving her car or she'd be picked up again.
When Melinda got to Wendy's she took Trenton out of his car seat and began hugging him, much to the protests of Carla. Melinda thought she would be taking Trenton home with her, but Josh told her that DCF gave HIM temporary custody. He NEVER mentioned the court hearing scheduled for the next day that would give him permanent custody.
Melinda went back to her apartment in Bushnell and on Monday she got a ride to the police station to get her purse from Joyce Wells. Now, at this time Melinda still had not been served with the court papers. She had no knowledge of what was going on.
Nancy Eubank received a call Monday morning from Sadie Crews, the DCF case worker who first interviewed Melinda with officer Vaughan. She was frantic to reach Melinda because the court would be in session in 30 minutes and unless Melinda was there she could not contest the custody!
Nancy immediately called Melinda and Melinda raced to the courthouse. The judge allowed Melinda to speak (which was not usual) and he postponed the hearing until May 20th. He also threw out the child support hearing scheduled for May 10th.
The grandparents hired an attorney, Kimberly Schulte, thinking that this would all be over soon. This was only the beginning of what Bill Eubank calls "Brief Summary of a Nightmare".
Posted by Maytruthprevail at 2:44 PM