Monday, December 18, 2006

What was missing?

The following post at a forum dedicated to discussing the Michelle Young murder investigation has stirred up curiosity and inspired quite a bit of speculation -- some of it absurd, in my opinion.

yes, i know her. no, she wasn't at work when he called. yes, there was really a fax. yes, it was for a gift of some sort for Michelle. yes, she was at their house alot & yes, like a nanny to her niece. yes, he has stayed at inlaw's house since murder. yes, he was out of town when the body was "found."

nothing stolen? ask jdub if he noticed anything missing at the funeral?

i think he's guilty as sin & hot-shot lawyer (previously partners with John Edwards-just stating a fact- i like john) will not get him out of this one.

The way I see it, a few posters at Websleuths are on the right track.

What ( rather who) was missing?

Michelle's mother told us:

My name is Linda Fisher, and Michelle Young is my daughter. We are shaken and heartbroken over the tragic loss of Michelle. She's the wife, a sister, a granddaughter, and most importantly the mother of my only granddaughter, Cassidy (sobbing).

I'm asking for anyone who has seen or heard anything -- as trivial as you might think it is, anything -- to please come forward and help find the person who murdered our daughter.

I also want to thank, or take the opportunity to thank, everyone who has given their love and support to us during this horrible time. And I want you to please understand that our family is in mourning, and we appreciate the privacy to grieve.

And I have great faith in the police that they will help find the person who is responsible for taking our Michelle away from us. I love her. (sobbing) I love my Michelle, and she's gone.

Thank you.

Where is she now and why is she being kept from the Fisher family?

Friday, December 15, 2006

Questions, questions, questions...

Six weeks into the investigation of Michelle Young's murder, Wake County officials continue to keep the bulk of the details close to the vest. It's frustrating for those of us on the outside looking in, but certainly understandable as necessary to protect the integrity of the investigation and avoid trying the case in the media. A string of particular questions circle around in my head, and I wonder just what it is about each one that is vital to solving the crime and apprehending the perpetrator. Why do investigators and/or prosecutors release certain details yet keep so many others out of the public domain?

  • What time did Jason leave home on November 2?

    We learned from a news report quoting, Rhett Fussell, a friend of the Youngs that he left in the evening for an early morning sales meeting in Virginia, but the exact time of his departure is, as yet, unpublished. We also know that Jason had a very brief conversation with investigators on the day Michelle's body was discovered. Did he make a statement as to what time he left? If so, surely investigators have done everything in their power to either substantiate or disprove that claim. Is there some discrepancy between the two? Or is there unaccounted for time between his departure from the Youngs' Raleigh home and his arrival at the Virginia destination?

  • Where did Jason spend the night of November 2-3?

    Did he check in to a hotel in the same Virginia city he was to make a sales call in? Or did he stop short and spend the night somewhere in between Raleigh and the destination point? In either case, it's conceivable that he had time to return to Raleigh, kill Michelle, and still make it to the Virginia sales meeting on Friday morning.

  • What was the location of the sales meeting?

    A poster at the CourtTV forum who claims to have some inside knowledge put forth that the meeting was to be in Roanoke, but officials have never publicly made clear the location nor indicated if Jason actually kept the appointment. Failure to keep the appointment would be a devastating blow to his alibi, but keeping it would not necessarily solidify it. Depending on the chronology of his departure, hotel check-in, and the sales meeting, he may have had ample time for a round-trip to Raleigh to commit the crime.

  • Who sent the mysterious "fax"?

    Meredith Fisher, Michelle's sister, told officers that she had received a voicemail from Jason Young on Friday morning, with a request for her to go to the house and pick up a fax. This excerpt from a November 30 warrant seems to suggest that the document does exist:

    The victim's sister came to the house to retrieve a document, which was on the printer, located next to the computer. The document had been printed from that computer.

    Of more interest is the fact that this document was of notable mention in the Probable Cause section of a warrant to search a Dell computer belonging to Michelle Money. Does this suggest that Michelle Money sent the document that Meredith was asked to retrieve? If so, we can reasonably conclude that Meredith had no knowledge of the affair between her brother-in-law and Mrs. Money. That could indicate that Michelle Young was also in the dark in that regard. Or if she was aware, she had only very recently learned of it.

  • What were the plans for the coming weekend in the Young household?

    Friends of Jason have laid out for us his purported plans for the early part of the weekend. ConcernedCitize at the CourtTV forum gave the following account:

    Jason left home Thur. Pm to go to Va. I do not know the exact time he left but know it was in the evening. He had a meeting there Fri. AM. He checked into a hotel there and called Michelle at around 11 PM that night when he had arrived. He spoke to her and all was fine. He had his meeting Fri. Am and then as had been previously planned, drove to western NC to his mom's house where he'd planned to have a short visit and spend the night before returning to Raleigh the next day. People are very confused over the sequence there because the press has published so many different things. He went to VA, spent the night, had a meeting in the AM, then as planned drove to Brevard.

    The author twice qualified that the trip to Brevard had been planned in advance. Why the emphasis? It seems of great importance to the author that we are not left with the impression that Jason's decision to visit his mom was a spur of the moment notion. If the visit was unplanned, did his parent's know before learning of Michelle's murder that Jason was coming? If they learned of both at the same time, I can certainly see why his stepfather was so insistent that he retain an attorney before speaking to investigators.

    On the other hand, a pre-planned trip to Brevard seems rather sinister in the context of Michelle's death. It's been reported that Fridays are Michelle's flex days at Progress Energy, and she wasn't expected in that day. Wouldn't Jason's parents have loved to see their daughter-in-law and, especially, their granddaughter? If Michelle had a doctor's appointment that day, she could have rescheduled and gone along to enjoy a weekend in the mountains with her family. Why would Jason leave them behind and give Meredith the impression that Michelle would be at work that day?

    One more thing that calls into question the side-trip to Brevard is the fact that Saturday was Homecoming for the NCSU Wolfpack. It's common knowledge that Jason is a big fan and has been a season ticket holder, fully engaging in tailgating and other Wolfpack festivities -- even hoisting up little Cassidy, dressed as a miniature NCSU cheerleader, in mock cheerleader lifts at games . Would his parents even be on his mind on Homecoming weekend? Would he take the time to drive hours out of his way and miss out on any part of the Homecoming hullabaloo?

  • How was Jason notified of Michelle's murder, and what was his reaction?

    Jason's step-father claims to have broken the news:

    "I met him in the yard and told him what happened," Gerald McIntyre, the stepfather, said from his home in Brevard.
    "He went plumb to his knees."

    According to friends, the family, after learning of the murder, elected to tell Jason when he arrived rather than devastating him with the news while he was driving and alone. However, Wake County Sheriff, Donnie Harrison, told Greta van Susteren of Fox News that his office notified Young. As I've stated before, the falling to his knees bit seems rather contrived as an immediate response. It conveys acceptance rather than stunned disbelief, in my opinion. Why would he be so quick to accept such shocking news? Did he ask about the welfare of his 2½ year old daughter, Cassidy? Did he display any concern as to her condition or whose care she was in? I'm hopeful that Sheriff Harrison sent a representative to personally notify Jason Young of Michelle's murder. His initial response to that news could be very telling.

  • What was the murder weapon?

    Has it been located and recovered? Have marks on Michelle's body allowed examiners to determine what type of instrument was used? Is there any evidence tying the weapon to the crime and/or to a suspect?

I believe that investigators have the answers to all of these questions and probably more. And I believe that what they know in that regard led them to focus on Jason Young as a suspect in his wife's murder early on in the investigation. They said almost from the beginning that it was not a random act. I wonder why.

Update: 1:25 pm CT

Another question just occurred to me. Why did Wake County authorities recently release part of the warrants relating to the case? Specifically, why did they reveal the adulterous affair between Jason Young and Michelle Money. Mrs. Money has reportedly been very cooperative and fully answered all of investigating officers' questions. So why offer her up to the media and public scrutiny? Perhaps, she's a bit of a decoy, in that there are other girlfriends that Sheriff Harrison would like to keep under the radar, so to speak.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Young Timeline

I am in the process of creating a detailed timeline of the Michelle Young case using information gathered from news reports, search warrants, and forum postings. All input is welcome and appreciated. Just post it in the comment section, and I'll add it to the calendar.

You can navigate to the timeline using the following link.

Michelle Young Timeline

In addition, a link to the timeline has been added to the LINKS section in the right sidebar of this blog.

Update: 5:58 pm, CT

A few readers have expressed confusion over why some events on the timeline appear out of order. That's due to a shortcoming of the calendar format. If an event is not linked to a specific time, the calendar will automatically list it above the events that include a time. For instance, the conversation between Jason and law enforcement officers on November 3 appears above the actual discovery of the body by Meredith. It is not meant to indicate that the former occurred before the latter. The only way I can correct that is to estimate a time for each event.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Editing Note

The post entitled "What Next?!" has been removed from this blog. I consider the allegation on which it was originally based to be completely false. Although I declared it untrue in an update, it seems much more fair to do away with the entry completely and eliminate the potential for perpetuating false stories.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Why am I not surprised?

It seems ol' Jason has a girlfriend. Or maybe I should state that in the past tense. Jason Young had a girlfriend in Florida. That rumor proved true, not that I ever doubted it. The only thing that even slightly surprises me is that we found out about it so quickly. My guess is that investigators are getting nowhere with Jason Young as far as cooperation from him. This information should pull the legs out from under a lot of the support he's been getting and put Jason on notice that the gloves are off.

Excerpt from the News & Observer article:

According to the search warrants, Jason Young was in almost daily contact with Michelle Money of Ocoee, Fla., by phone or e-mail in the three months before his wife's death. Investigators seized two cell phones from Jason Young's Ford Explorer and asked the phone companies to turn over call records and voice mail on the accounts, according to the warrants.

The warrants also show that investigators seized several records related to travel by Jason Young, including a US Airways baggage claim ticket and a receipt for a United Airlines flight to Denver in October. Other seized items include Young's credit card statement, a computer hard drive and file folders containing a will, insurance information and other papers.

The trip to Denver in October could have been when Jason met the Florida woman, or it could have been a romatic getaway for the couple disguised as a business trip. While pregnant Michelle stayed home with Cassidy, Jason may have been romancing his girlfriend rather than celebrating the third anniversary of his marriage with his wife. Brings a whole new spin to that "leather purse for a third anniversary gift" story, doesn't it? I'd like to hear "just the facts" explanation for that. If there is a cookie cutter for cads, it should be marketed with the mugshots of Scott Peterson and Jason Young on the packaging.

Regarding Michelle Money (yes, she shares his wife's first name), I give her the benefit of the doubt. Unless and until otherwise proven, I assume that she is in no way involved in Michelle Young's murder. It is quite possible that, like Amber Frey, she contacted North Carolina authorities upon learning that her boyfriend was married and his wife and unborn child had been murdered. Regardless, I hope that investigators have gotten full cooperation from Ms. Money.

The News & Observer article goes on to state that Meredith Young was contacted through voice-mail by Jason to go over to the house to retrieve a computer print-out. So that clears up the great fax debate. I expect the media attention to this case will pick up pace now that the cad is out of the bag (bad pun, I know). I'm sure there's plenty more known about Jason's activities that is being held back in order to protect the investigation. Keep me posted and I'll try to do the same.

Update: 5:06 pm, CT

Well, it appears that these two Michelle's may have been "friends" going back to college, if not even further back than that. Michelle Money has former addresses in Raleigh, NC, as well as Port Jefferson, NY -- just a hop, skip and jump from the Fishers' hometown of Sayville.

Monday, December 04, 2006

It all goes back to Laci...

I suppose the OJ Simpson trial was my introduction to following crime stories. It was everywhere, and everyone was talking about it. We didn't have CourtTV in my community then, but even CNN ran gavel-to-gavel coverage of that trial. There was no getting away from it. But the Laci Peterson case is the one that I always go back to. It will never leave me. Believe it or not, a few of the finer details have gotten a little fuzzy with the passage of time, but I can still picture in my mind the various photographs and video clips that introduced us to Laci -- her brilliant smile and her effervescent charm. She had the same impact on almost everyone who caught a glimpse. It isn't likely that any of you who watched the memorial video set to Brown Eyed Girl have forgotten it nor the emotions it evoked. I know I haven't.

And neither has the prosecution team. Birgit Fladager recently spoke about the case to a gathering of Kentucky lawyers.

Fladager played a tape yesterday that jurors never got to see because of restrictions on the number of photos prosecutors could show the jury. It showed several photos of Laci Peterson from childhood to adulthood, with Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrison -- Laci's favorite song -- and later I Will Remember You by Sarah McClachlan playing in the background.

At the beginning, the judge tapped his feet to the upbeat Morrison song as he watched the tape in his office, Fladager said. He was silent at the end, she said, and the defense lawyers stared down at their shoes.

"When you watch this, keep in mind there is a guy who supposedly loved her," Fladager said of Peterson before she played the video for Kentucky prosecutors. "And she died in a horrible way. And he showed absolutely no emotion to what you're about to see. Which told me then that he never cared about her. He never cared about anybody."

Peterson deserved all the scorn and wrath he got from the public for the simple fact of what he did to Laci, Conner, and the Rocha family. But he couldn't stop there. His coldness, both before and after the fact, made it that much easier to condemn him.

Lately, I've been silently questioning myself and what I do here on this blog. I didn't have my own blog when the Peterson investigation and trial were ongoing, but I participated in discussing it elsewhere. I believed early on that Scott Peterson was responsible for his wife and unborn son's disappearance and murder. I didn't have the internal conflict about discussing the case that I've been experiencing lately. I consider Jason Young the prime suspect in the murder of Michelle Young and her unborn son. I have suspicions as to the car accident that killed another of their unborn children. But what if I'm wrong? Am I persecuting an innocent man -- a grieving husband and father -- and those who love and support him by writing about my suspicions on this blog and elsewhere? That thought troubles me. So I intend to rethink the case. I'll try to look at each item of evidence and reported fact more objectively and give unconfirmed rumors the proper weight.

Still, my primary concern is the victims. If I can do anything to facilitate justice for Michelle Young and her babies or to support her heartbroken family in even the smallest way, that is what I want to do. I know my chances of accomplishing either are slim, but slim is better than none. Of course, I feel sorry for Jason's family and what they're going through. I understand their need to support and defend him. And even if he proves to be the murderer, I will still expect them to support him. I just hope they handle it with more grace, more dignity and, most importantly, more compassion for their daughter-in-law's family than the Petersons did.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Back to Basics: The Night of the Murder

New information is hard to come by in the investigation into the bludgeoning death of Michelle Fisher Young of Raleigh, North Carolina. What information we have is being bandied about on crime forums as armchair sleuths attempt to piece it together and determine who is responsible. Meanwhile, people who claim to know the Youngs have been entering into the discussions -- some in an attempt to defend Jason Young from what they consider a misinformation campaign designed to vilify the husband, others who have some suspicions of their own about his involvement, and a few who seem to be trying to gather information and figure out what happened just as the rest of us are. While we wait for something to break, I suggest we take a more organized approach at analyzing what we have at hand. There's plenty to work with, but it's scattered throughout news reports, interviews, and forum postings. Granted, what we "know" is only as reliable as its source, but we can only work with what we've got.
  • Michelle was 20 weeks into her third pregnancy. The couple was expecting a boy and had a two-and-a-half year old daughter named Cassidy. Michelle's second pregnancy ended in a therapeutic abortion in June of 2006, when shortly after a May 29 car accident in Transylvania county, it was determined that the baby had stopped developing. Michelle conceived again a couple of weeks later; if the 20-week gestational age is accurate, her baby boy would have been conceived on or about June 30. Friends of Jason insist that the loss of the second pregnancy and the car accident are unrelated, but it's unlikely that her doctor could make that determination with medical certainty. Another person who attended the funeral related hearing that the miscarriage was a result of trauma from the car accident and that Michelle was not wearing her seatbelt when their car went off the highway and down an embankment into the French Broad River. There have been a couple of different explanations given by friends of the Youngs regarding the accident.

    • Someone using the name "ConcernedCitize" posted the following:

      That area is a bad area to be driving in. I have heard (3rd party) that Michelle was trying to reach for something in the back seat when it happened. Jason just lost focus for split second. They were on a curve at the time. It happened very quickly and apparently a common problem area for aaccidents.

    • Another poster who claims to know the Youngs well, wrote the following using the name "just the facts":

      The car wreck in the spring occurred when Jason thought the back of the SUV wasn't closed properly. He glanced back to look at that and his wheels went a little bit off the road. He over corrected the vehicle and that's when the wreck occurred. Despite the media's effort to make that into a huge story, there is no 100' drop off there where they went into the river. Michelle was not wearing her seat belt by her choice, not because he tried to trick her into taking it off. It was a wreck plain and simple. If having a wreck with your spouse in the vehicle is now considered an attempted murder, I guess hundreds of thousands of people nationwide are guilty.

    I've been informed by someone who has seen the accident report that Michelle told the highway patrolman that she was wearing her seatbelt. However, it's not an uncommon thing for people to claim to have been wearing their seatbelt even when they were not. After all, failure to wear a seatbelt is a ticketable offense in North Carolina, as in most other states. In all likelihood, it would be impossible to prove now whether that accident was an orchestrated attempt on the lives of Michelle and her unborn child, and that incident will probably never make it into the courtroom should Jason go to trial for this homicide. It is interesting to note, however, what a stunning surpise the third pregnancy would have been for Jason under such circumstances.

  • Jason left Thursday evening on a business trip to Virginia. Police have not made public the time of Jason's departure, but one friend who has posted at the CourtTV forum stated that Jason was leaving as Michelle's friends were arriving that evening. It's been widely reported that Michelle had company on Thursday evening until approximately 10:30 p.m. The CourtTV poster has put forth that it was a regular thing for Michelle and her friends to watch Grey's Anatomy together. ABC runs the program from 9-10 p.m. on Thursday evenings in North Carolina. The location of Jason's business meeting has not been specified by investigators nor by people who claim to know him, but an industrious sleuth at CourtTV's forum suggested Blacksburg, Virginia as a potential destination. ChartOne, Jason's employer, apparently does quite a bit of business there. If you look at this map, you can see that Blacksburg is a good candidate logistically, as Jason had plans to swing by his parents' home in Brevard after his meeting, spend the night there, and return to Raleigh on Saturday.

Jason's evening departure for a Friday morning business meeting has been the subject of some perplexity from the beginning. Why would he leave in the evening only to arrive at his destination late at night to attend a meeting the following morning? Why not sleep at home and get up early to make the drive? Let's assume, for the sake of argument, the following:
  • that he left shortly before Grey's Anatomy started at 9 p.m.

  • that his sales meeting was scheduled for 9 a.m. the following morning in Blacksburg, Virginia.

Blacksburg is a 3.5-4 hour drive from the Youngs' Raleigh residence. If Jason had opted to make the drive on Friday morning, he would have had to depart at 5 a.m. to make a 9 a.m. appointment. Having guests in the house until 10:30 p.m. and the possible sleep disruptions that accompany a pregnant wife and a toddler might make it difficult to get up that early. On the other hand, a 9 p.m. departure would make for a rather late arrival with Jason probably getting checked in and to bed at about 1 a.m. That's a lot of late night driving after a busy day only to turn around and attend a meeting and drive an additional 4.5 hours to Brevard the following day. I've done a fair bit of traveling. It's not unusual to break a trip up and spend the night somewhere in between, especially when you want to arrive at your destination early in the day. Judging by what Jason told a friend at Michelle's funeral, that's probably what he did.

Jason Young has said he slipped out that evening to get a head start for an early morning sales meeting in Virginia, according to Fussell, who said he talked to Jason Young at his wife's funeral. [emphasis added]

A "head start" suggests that he wasn't planning to drive all the way to the destination in one trek. Friends of Jason have revealed that he arrived at his hotel and called Michelle at 11 p.m. If, as we have assumed for this argument, Jason left home shortly before Grey's Anatomy began, then he drove for approximately two hours before stopping for lodging, possibly on the west side of Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Naturally, that would place him overnight within a two hour drive back to the home, which leads me to an interesting point. Less than three days into the investigation, police notified the public that they were interested in information regarding the Youngs' neighborhood on the night in question.

Stephens urged anyone who noticed any vehicle on the roads around Young's home between 1 and 5 a.m. Friday to call the Wake County Sheriff's Office at 856-6800.

That window was later widened to include the hours between midnight and 6 a.m., but it's the 1-5 a.m. window that sparks my interest. How did they arrive at that time frame for the homicide? They can approximate a time of death based on the core body temperature and advancement of rigor mortis, but I'm not convinced that they were able to do that to such a degree of accuracy as to rule out the two and a half hours between the 10:30 p.m. departure of Michelle's friends and 1 a.m. (or even the two hours following Jason's 11 p.m. phone call). There must have been some other, as yet undisclosed, factor that went into making that estimation. Perhaps, investigators have had Jason Young in their sights as the perpetrator from the beginning. They could certainly have determined in the first 2-3 days of the investigation the location of Jason's overnight lodging and the origination of his 11 p.m. call. Relative certainty of his involvement and a travel time of two hours to the scene of the crime may have been the deciding factor in estimating the 1 to 5 a.m. window of opportunity. The 5 a.m. closure of that window would allow Jason the four hours necessary to return to his hotel, check out, and make a 9 a.m. business meeting in Blacksburg, as well.

Well, it's a theory anyway. Blacksburg may not have been the destination point, but there are probably other sites that would fit the same criteria. There is more that we know in relation to the discovery of the body and the avenues of investigation being pursued by police. To keep this entry from getting too long and allow discussion to focus on this portion of the case, I'll save the rest for another entry.

Trenton Duckett: POI

Authorities have named a close friend of Melinda Duckett as a person of interest in the August disappearance of 2-year-old Trenton Duckett. Chai-Wen Chen, a 25-year-old male friend of the boy's mother, works across the street from the Belleview Wendy's where Trenton was last seen with his mother the day of the alleged abduction. It is believe that Melinda handed the boy off to someone that Sunday in an attempt to keep him away from his father, Joshua Duckett, and staged the abduction from the apartment bedroom that evening.

I hope this pans out. I was starting to get that Holloway feeling about this case. has a thorough article on the latest news. Other entries are accessible through the category menu in right sidebar of this blog.

Timeline update: The 12:08 phone call made by Melinda Duckett on Sunday was to Chen. I've updated the map and timeline entry accordingly.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

A Mother's Plea

Linda Fisher, of Sayville, NY, addressed the media on November 13 at the gravesite of her slain daughter, Michelle Young, who was 20 weeks into her third pregnancy. It appears that Ms. Fisher took special care to emphasize two things in her statement. I have formatted them in this transcript to reflect that emphasis.

My name is Linda Fisher, and Michelle Young is my daughter. We are shaken and heartbroken over the tragic loss of Michelle. She's the wife, a sister, a granddaughter, and most importantly the mother of my only granddaughter, Cassidy (sobbing).

I'm asking for anyone who has seen or heard anything -- as trivial as you might think it is, anything -- to please come forward and help find the person who murdered our daughter.

I also want to thank, or take the opportunity to thank, everyone who has given their love and support to us during this horrible time. And I want you to please understand that our family is in mourning, and we appreciate the privacy to grieve.

And I have great faith in the police that they will help find the person who is responsible for taking our Michelle away from us. I love her. (sobbing) I love my Michelle, and she's gone.

Thank you.

ABC-11 (WTVD) has raw video of Ms. Fisher's statement.

Update: WTVD has removed the raw video from their site. WRAL is providing a link to video of the complete statement on this page.

On January 24, 2003, Sharon Rocha addressed the public regarding the disappearance of her pregnant daughter, Laci Peterson of Modesto, California. The Rocha family had very recently been informed of Scott Peterson's affair with Fresno massage therapist, Amber Frey, solidifying their suspicions that Scott was responsible for Laci's disappearance and probable murder.

I would like to thank all of you for being here today and for respecting our request last week for some time to spend alone with our family. We appreciate your support of our family's search to find Laci.

I want to thank Kim Petersen, with the Carole Sund/Carrington Foundation, who has been working with all of you and relaying our wishes to not conduct interviews last week. We had a very difficult time last week.

I also want to thank all of the volunteers, the police department, fire department, Brad Saltzman and everyone at the Red Lion Hotel, the chaplains at the police department, all of my friends and family, the hundreds of thousands of people who have visited Laci's web site with their prayers, and everyone who has been involved with the search for Laci. The support we've received from everyone has been our salvation.

Since Christmas Eve, our one and only focus has been to find Laci and bring her home to us. I love my daughter so much. I miss her every minute of every day. I miss seeing her. I miss our talking together. I miss listening to the excitement in her voice when she talks to me about her baby. I miss not being able to share with her the anticipation of her approaching delivery date. I miss listening to her talk about her future with her husbandand her baby. I miss sharing our thoughts and our lives together. I miss her smile and her laughter and her sense of humor. And I miss everything about her.

Someone has taken all of this away from me and everyone else who loves her. There are no words that can possibly describe the ache in my heart or the emptiness in my life.

I know that someone knows where Laci is, and I'm pleading with you, please, please, let her come home to us. You can send an anonymous letter to the police department, or you can make an anonymous phone call to the police department tip line at area code (209)342-6166. (Or anonymous messages may be sent using our Leads and Tips form.)

If someone out there has observed or possibly discovered, on their property, anything unusual or suspicious, no matter how minute or insignificant it might seem to you, please call the police department. This may be the missing link to finding Laci.

Please keep looking for Laci and help us end this nightmare.

Thank you.

Laci's family appeared on Larry King Live on February 25 in an effort to keep the case in public awareness. Sharon made the following plea:

We’re hoping that somebody out there knows something, but we know there is someone who knows something and if that person would just come forward and let us know where she is so that we can bring her home.

The first part of that sentence is clearly addressed to the public, but the second part is obviously meant for Scott Peterson.

On April 21, 2003, after Laci's and Conner's bodies were found on the shores of the San Francisco Bay, Sharon Rocha again addressed the public, taking care to send a special message to the person she held responsible for the murders. Scott Peterson had been arrested on the same day the bodies were positively identified. The following is an excerpt:

Laci meant the world to me. She was my only daughter. She was my best friend. We miss her beautiful smile, her laughter, her love, her kind and loving ways. I miss seeing her, talking to her and hugging her. We have been deprived of meeting and knowing Laci’s son, our grandson and nephew. We will miss them and mourn them for the rest of our lives.

Soon after Laci went missing I made a promise to her, that if she has been harmed we will seek justice for her and Conner and make sure that the person responsible for their deaths will be punished. I can only hope that the sound of Laci’s voice begging for her life, begging for the life of her unborn child, is heard over and over and over again in the mind of that person everyday for the rest of his life. The person responsible should be held accountable and punished for the tragedy and devastation forced upon so many.

A transcript of the complete statement can be read at

Most everyone following the Michelle Young case has noticed and commented on its similarity to the Peterson case. While the list of similarities continues to grow as we learn more about the case, the main differences are the manner of death (bludgeoning in the Young case versus asphyxiation in the Peterson case), the existence of another child in the Young family, and, most importantly, the fact that Laci was missing for nearly four months whereas Michelle was found within hours of her murder.

I contend that the similarities between Michelle's and Laci's murders have not gone unnoticed by the Fisher family. Linda's statement, though much briefer, seems to echo the more salient elements of Sharon Rocha's various statements. I believe that both Linda Fisher and her younger daughter, Meredith, have, at minimum, strong suspicions as to Jason Young's involvement in Michelle's death. Ms. Fisher's statement was her best attempt at communicating that suspicion, without flagrantly accusing Jason Young and potentially damaging the investigation and prosecution of the case, and petitioning the public's assistance.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Update: Michelle Young

It was reported tonight on Greta van Susteren's On the Record that Michelle was pregnant at the time of the car accident in May 2005. While driving on a local highway, Jason apparently lost control of the vehicle, veering off the highway and traveling down a 100 foot embankment into a river. The water was only a few feet deep, and both he and Michelle were able to escape the car unharmed. Michelle was taken to the hospital out of concern for her pregnancy. The highway patrolman who investigated the accident at the time has recently been interviewed by homicide investigators.

Here is a link to an article with information similar to that reported on GVS: WRAL

Still, they are examining every aspect of the couple's life together, including a May 29, 2005, Transylvania County car accident in which Jason Young drove off a road and down a 100-foot embankment into the French Broad River. Neither he nor Michelle Young were seriously injured.

"They just wanted to know the circumstances and if I saw anything unusual with the wreck, which I did not," said sate Highway Patrol Trooper David Hicks, who investigated the crash.

The media originally reported that this car accident happened in May of this year and people who claim to know the couple seemed to confirm that.

People close to the Youngs who spoke to WRAL on Friday said it had already been a "bizarre" year for the couple. State Highway Patrol records show the two were in an accident in May in Transylvania County, where their car veered off the road into a river.

However, Michelle could not possibly have been pregnant in May of 2006 and only be at 20 weeks gestation at the time of her death. The 2005 date makes more sense. An anonymous poster wrote the following in the comment section of this entry:

Jason was ecstatic over the upcoming birth of his baby boy, as was Michelle. She had lost a child earlier in the spring when the fetus stopped developing in utero and she had to have a medical abortion. They were elated when she was able to get pregnant again.

I see now why investigators are interested in that mysterious accident.

The home is still actively being investigated as a crime scene, with repeated visits from the district attorney's office. That says to me that evidence relating to the identity of the killer was found in the home, and additional evidence implicating that person is expected to be found there. Investigators are patiently building their case.

More thorough coverage of this case can be read in this previous entry: Michelle Marie Young: Reason to Suspect...

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Meredith and Cassidy: Partial 911 Transcript

There's a lot of chatter on crime forums regarding two-year-old Cassidy's statements to her aunt while Meredith was on the phone with the 911 dispatcher. Many who've listened to it believe they hear her mention the word "Daddy" when Meredith asks the toddler what happened to her mother. Regardless of my suspicion of Jason Young, I hear nothing of the sort. The following is a transcript of the relevant portion of the 911 call as I hear it.

MEREDITH: Cassidy, come here, sweetie. I'm here with her daughter.


MEREDITH: There's...there's like blood footprints all over the house from her her daughter's little footprints.

DISPATCHER: 'kay, listen to me. What's your first name?

MEREDITH: Meredith

DISPATCHER: Alright, Meredith...

MEREDITH: Yes sir.

DISPATCHER: Did you see what happened?

MEREDITH: I..I..I just came here on a fluke. I know...don't come here during the day.


MEREDITH: She shouldn't be home. She should be at work. Like...

DISPATCHER: Okay, listen to me.

MEREDITH: Yes sir.

MEREDITH: (inaudible) right now.

DISPATCHER: Did you say...Can you tell me why she looks dead...looks like she's dead?

MEREDITH: I don't know. I have no idea. There's blood all over the place.

DISPATCHER: 'kay, did you say she's cold?

MEREDITH: Sh..uh yes.


MEREDITH: Yes. (crying)

DISPATCHER: Alright, stay on the phone.


CASSIDY: (inaudible) there's blood. Can you see my...(inaudible)...get a washcloth into my...(inaudible)...?

MEREDITH: Yes, sweetie.

(Cassidy still talking but inaudible.)

MEREDITH: Sweetie, did you see what happened to Mommy?


MEREDITH: Did she fall?

CASSIDY: gotta boo...She got boo-boos everywhere and...and...she got (Dispatcher cuts in to ask: Alright, do you think she's beyond any help?)

Listen to the 911 call and follow along with the above transcript. See for yourself if Cassidy implicates her father or even utters the word "Daddy". I don't hear it.

I don't believe that child was witness to any of the violence inflicted upon her mother. It's highly doubtful that she was even awake when the perpetrator was in the house, in my opinion. The aftermath was horrendous enough, but hopefully her youth will protect her from those memories to some extent.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Trenton Duckett: New Development

Police have renewed their search for two-year-old Trenton Duckett, operating on the assumption that he is still alive. A witness reported seeing the Leesburg, FL, boy with his mother in a Belleview Wendy's restaurant on August 27, the same day he was reported missing. The Marion County Sheriff's Office will hold a press conference tomorrow to release additional details to the public.

Sources: Bradenton Herald and Orlando Sentinel

More information about Trenton's disappearance is available in this timeline entry. Other Duckett entries can be accessed by utilizing the Categories dropdown menu in the sidebar of this blog.

Update: November 15, 2006, 1:36 pm, CT

Additional information was released at today's press conference:

Pogue and other officials said a drive-thru worker at a Wendy's restaurant in Belleview remembered seeing Melinda and Trenton between 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. that Sunday. About 20 minutes after the first sighting, the Wendy's worker saw Melinda come through the drive-thru again. This time, Tenton was not in the car. The Wendy's worker was interviewed and passed a polygraph test, officials said.

Then there's this unexpected news:

As authorities renew their search for missing Central Florida boy, Trenton Duckett, WKMG-TV in Orlando has learned that a private investigator is looking into his mother's apparent secret side business of creating and performing in amateur pornographic videos.

Nude photographs of Melinda Duckett, including one image where she is straddling a child's crib and another explicit video where the sound of a crying baby can be heard in the background surfaced in the missing boy investigation and caused concerns for detectives, the report said.

Before Duckett's suicide, authorities said they thoroughly looked into her alleged involvement in the adult entertainment industry to see if the 21-year-old made any enemies or possibly had given her son away to someone she met while making the movies.

Whoa. Well, that might explain where the cash stashed in her car under the ashtray came from.

Michelle Marie Young: Reason to Suspect...

If, after reading my previous entry on the murder of Michelle Young, you haven't figured out that I consider Jason Young (the victim's husband) to be the prime suspect, allow me to spell out for you the factors behind my logic.
  • Jason reportedly left Raleigh on Thursday night to conduct business on Friday morning and was at his parents' house in Brevard, NC, on Friday afternoon. In and of itself, this alibi would cause me to look twice at Jason Young. Without independent corroboration of his whereabouts at the time of Michelle's death, his alibi is questionable, at best, and convenient, impinging on staged, at worst. We know only that he was at his mom's house when he was told of Michelle's death; his whereabouts at the time of the homicide are, as yet, unaccounted for.

  • Add to that the fact that Michelle had company at the home until approximately 10:30 on Thursday night and, by some accounts, Jason left on his business trip during that visit. What better way to bolster his alibi than to have one or more witnesses to his departure?

  • The mysterious fax is perhaps the biggest red flag for me. If the contents of that fax were meant to be a secret from his wife, why have it sent to the house in the first place. It makes no sense. In my opinion, it was just a ruse to get Meredith to the house so that she would discover Michelle's dead body. Perhaps Jason wanted to provide care for two-year-old Cassidy rather than leave her unattended in that horrible scene while he holed up at Mom's house. After all, even a murderous spouse can have concern for his child. Or perhaps he just didn't want to be the one to find the body and report the murder to police. I have seen it posted elsewhere by someone claiming to know the Youngs that it was not a fax at all that Jason asked Meredith to pick up for him, but in fact a computer printout related to a surprise gift for Michelle. That makes even less sense than the alleged fax. Things sent to my computer from elsewhere do not automatically get printed out. I've never heard of such a thing. Was Meredith supposed to log on to his email account to intercept this secret gift confirmation? If so, she didn't have to enter the home to do that.

  • Upon his return to Raleigh, Jason's car was impounded by police and all of its contents confiscated. Granted, I'm not an expert on North Carolina law, but I can't see them being legally able to do that without probable cause -- meaning investigators had to have reason to believe that he was involved and evidence to support that allegation could likely be found within the car.

  • Jason was compelled by court order to submit fingerprints and DNA samples to police. One can argue that the same would routinely be needed to rule him out as a suspect. Jason's fingerprints and DNA woud naturally be found in the home because he lived there too. However his fingerprints in her blood or on the murder weapon could not so easily be explained. Neither could scratches on his body, his skin scrapings beneath her fingernails, or his blood at the scene. In addition, though it isn't necessarily probative of guilt, the need for a court order to obtain those samples is troubling.

  • Investigators assured the public that Michelle's murder did not appear to be a random act. What that says to me is that all indications are that the perpetrator entered the house with the intention of harming Michelle. This was not the case of a burglar who felt forced to eliminate witnesses after being confronted by the resident. This was no attempted sexual assault escalating to murder. Facts to support that theory are as follows:

    • There were no signs of forced entry into the house.

    • Cassidy was left unharmed, probably sleeping in her bed while her mother was murdered in her own.

    • The family dog, described by Meredith as "freaking out" when she arrived, was left unharmed in the home.

    • Other than the brutal slaying of her sister and its aftermath (i.e., Cassidy's footprints, stamped in the blood from Mommy's "boo-boos", throughout the house) Meredith saw no other signs of disturbance or anything unusual in the home.

      DISPATCHER: All right. Try not to touch anything more than you did. Was anything out of place or unusual when you came in?

      FISHER: This place does not look like it what it normally looks like.

      DISPATCHER: OK, what...

      FISHER: There`s blood in the bed.

      DISPATCHER: OK, all right, try not to touch anything else, OK?

      FISHER: OK, I just moved a pillow.

      DISPATCHER: All right. Just leave everything exactly where it is then.

      FISHER: OK.

      DISPATCHER: Do you see anything else that looks unusual?

      FISHER: No. (To niece: Cassidy was anybody here?) The dog was freaking out when I got here. (To niece: Was anybody here, sweetie?)

  • Investigators have appealed to the public for any information pertaining to the crime scene between the hours of midnight and 6:00 am. What narrowed the time frame for them? We can deduct that the 6:00 am end point was arrived at perhaps because that was the normal time for Michelle to get up and get ready for work and there were no signs that she had done so. But what about the beginning point? We know that Michelle was last seen by her friend(s) at approximately 10:30 pm on Thursday night. What caused investigators to exclude the hour and a half between the friends' departure and midnight? I understand that time of death can be approximated by the body's state of rigor mortis. I'm not convinced, however, that it can be determined with enough accuracy to exclude that hour and a half. There is certainly some other reason -- some as yet unrevealed explanation -- for that exclusion. Investigators' decision to keep that detail close to the vest leads me to believe that it is of vital importance to the investigation.

  • Gerald McIntyre, Jason's stepfather, stated that Jason fell to his knees in their front yard when he was informed of Michelle's death. At first glance, this might seem to some to be the normal reaction of a grieving spouse. Not so for this skeptic. I would have expected stunned disbelief and even a hostile rejection of such shocking news as the initial reaction. From my perspective, Jason falling to his knees suggests immediate acceptance of the unfathomable. That speaks to me of prior knowledge, which he could not have unless he were responsible for her death.
In addition to the above list, there are reports of a mysterious car accident in May of this year (proximately preceding the conception of child number two, by my calculations) and rumors of a "shotgun wedding" and Jason's marital discontent, adulterous relationships, and gambling debts. Whether the rumors will bear out in truth is incalculable, but it's often the case that where there is smoke, there is also fire. All considered, the details reported, in combination with Michelle's second pregnancy, are reason enough for me to hone in on the husband. I suspect that it's much the same for investigators, but I'm betting that they have more to go on.

Update: 10:00pm, CT

It was reported tonight on Greta van Susteren's On the Record that Michelle was pregnant at the time of the car accident in May 2005. While driving on a local highway, Jason apparently lost control of the vehicle, veering off the highway and traveling down a 100 foot embankment into a river. The water was only a few feet deep, and both he and Michelle were able to escape the car unharmed. Michelle was taken to the hospital out of concern for her pregnancy. The highway patrolman who investigated the accident at the time has recently been interviewed by homicide investigators.

Here is a link to an article with information similar to that reported on GVS: WRAL

Still, they are examining every aspect of the couple's life together, including a May 29, 2005, Transylvania County car accident in which Jason Young drove off a road and down a 100-foot embankment into the French Broad River. Neither he nor Michelle Young were seriously injured.

"They just wanted to know the circumstances and if I saw anything unusual with the wreck, which I did not," said sate Highway Patrol Trooper David Hicks, who investigated the crash.

The media originally reported that this car accident happened in May of this year and people who claim to know the couple seemed to confirm that. However, Michelle could not possibly have been pregnant in May of 2006 and only be at 20 weeks gestation at the time of her death. The 2005 date makes more sense. An anonymous poster wrote the following in the comment section of this entry:

Jason was ecstatic over the upcoming birth of his baby boy, as was Michelle. She had lost a child earlier in the spring when the fetus stopped developing in utero and she had to have a medical abortion. They were elated when she was able to get pregnant again.

I see now why investigators are interested in that mysterious accident.

The home is still actively being investigated as a crime scene, with repeated visits from the district attorney's office. That says to me that evidence relating to the identity of the killer was found in the home, and additional evidence implicating that person is expected to be found there. Investigators are patiently building their case.

Note: I've decided to make this update a new entry.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Growing Pains

I stabbed myself in the foot this morning. Literally. I was putting away the clean dishes and inadvertently let slip a kitchen knife from my hand. Not a big butcher knife or a little paring knife. Just your standard average-sized kitchen knife. It's nothing I haven't done before, but I'm usually quick enough and cognizant enough to move my foot out of the way. Not this time. My foot stayed put. I don't know why. Maybe the synapses didn't fire, telling my foot to move; maybe my foot just didn't respond; maybe I misjudged, thinking the knife would miss and moving my foot would be unnecessary. Of course, it hurt. But it was more of a bruising pain. Glancing down and seeing the knife on the floor and no blood, I assumed that it had hit hilt-down. So I just picked up the knife and went on about my morning routine. Later I noticed, while taking a shower, a small blood-filled hole in the top of my foot. There's a little bruise beneath it. The knife must have bounced off my bone instead of impaling itself in my flesh. The injury is no big deal, but I keep puzzling over why I didn't move my foot. I must be getting old. Maybe this incident will go down in my personal history as the day I first realized that I really am middle-aged.

10:45 am
On second thought ... Naaahh! If last year's dirtbike spill didn't do it for me, why should a little hole in my foot make a difference? It's all in the attitude, right?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The Murder of Michelle Young

It is written, there is nothing new under the sun. These cases of husbands murdering their pregnant wives keep reminding me of that fact. I'm weary of them. Weary of all crime. So weary that I was hesitant to write yet another blog entry about yet another young woman whose life has been cut short at the whim of a selfish mate. So now you're probably wondering why I'm forging ahead. I learned of this murder via a post at Websleuths crime forum. After following the link and Googling other news reports about the murder of Michelle Marie Young and her unborn son, I found one site that provided an mp3 file of the 911 call made by Meredith Fisher, the victim's sister. This woman was clearly in a state of shocked disbelief throughout the call, struggling to remain composed in the face of the horrible scene she'd discovered and provide critical information to the 911 operator.

"I just came here on a fluke."
At approximately 1:30 pm, Meredith entered her sister and brother-in-law's Wake County, North Carolina, residence at the request of Jason Young, Michelle's husband and father to the couple's two-year-old daughter. It seems Jason wanted Meredith to intercept a fax, ostensibly pertaining to a gift for his 20-week-pregnant wife, to prevent Michelle, who should have been at work on a Friday afternoon, from seeing it and ruining the surprise. It didn't take Meredith long to realize that something was very wrong. Ms. Fisher told the 911 dispatcher who took her call that the dog was "freaking out" when she arrived. Small bloody footprints were tracked throughout the house, and Meredith discovered two-year-old Cassidy beside her mother's body, face down in the master bedroom. There was blood everywhere, including beneath a pillow in the bed. At the direction of the dispatcher, Meredith attempted to turn Michelle over in order to render aid, but the body was in an advanced state of rigor mortis, freezing the limbs in such a position as to make it very difficult to turn her. As Meredith relayed this information to the dispatcher and stated that her sister was cold to the touch, he informed the shocked and distressed, but remarkably composed, woman that it wouldn't be necessary. He advised her not to touch anything else in the house and connected her with the local sheriff's office who already had responding officers en route to the residence.

Investigators have learned that Michelle had a guest at the home until approximately 10:30 pm, though they have not yet revealed the identity of that guest or the nature of the visit. It was also reported that Jason Young allegedly left home on a business trip on Thursday night. Police have not yet revealed the time of his departure nor provided any details in support of his alibi. On Friday afternoon, Jason was at his parents' home in Brevard some 275 miles away in the mountains of North Carolina. According to his step-father, Jason fell to his knees in their front yard upon hearing the news of Michelle's murder. Jason is a salesman. We're to believe that he left home Thursday night for parts unknown to conduct business on Friday before arriving at his mother's home, a five hour drive from Raleigh, that afternoon.

Now to the point of what prompted me to write this entry. After listening to Meredith's 911 call and educating myself on the reported facts of the crime, I returned to the discussion thread at Websleuths only to find that a few of the posters there were maligning the victim's sister -- commenting that she was waaaay too calm in reporting her sister's murder and speculating that she may have been romantically involved with Jason. Needless to say, I was (and am) appalled. In response to making clear my feelings about it, I got several excuses and explanations from other participants. Paraphrasing:

  • It's way too early to pin this on the husband.
  • People who know the couple have stated that they'll be shocked if it turns out to be him.
  • This is a crime forum; we speculate about everyone involved.
  • Meredith found the body. That automatically makes her a suspect.

This comment by christine2448, in particular, irked me:

I truly am sorry you feel those of us sleuthing out all the people involved in a case is despicable, I disagree.

Of course the husbands car is being looked at, If I were LE he'd be my prime suspect right now and I'd be looking at EVERYTHING of his. We don't know that the sisters car hasn't been checked, or won't be...not everything is reported/released to media, and that is where we get most of our info.

Of course the husband is being finger printed, as I'm sure the sister was and I'm sure others and more to come.

Of course the police are talking to the husband, I am SURE they are also talking to the sister and every other Jane, Dick and Harry that the deceased knew, especially the sister, who was the 1st on the scene.

As far as the husband running of in the middle of the night, I am understanding, correct me if I'm wrong, there was company at the house until 10:30....I don't remember, what time did the husband say he left? Was it in the middle of the night?

Of course the husband lawyered up, I woulda.

Yes, Christine, by all means, ignore the husband's illogical and flimsy alibi. Overlook the fact that police had to have had probable cause in order to convince a judge to allow them to impound his vehicle and confiscate all of its contents. Toss aside the fact that there are no signs of forced entry into the house. Disregard investigators express interest in interviewing Jason Young. Brush off today's report that police were taking fingerprints, and possibly collecting other specimens, from Jason Young. It makes so much more sense to cast aspersions on the victim's sister based solely on your perception of her comportment in the midst of horrific circumstances.

**Exercising restraint to refrain from typing expletives here**

That's it in a nutshell. If I could properly collect my thoughts, I'd write more, but I have no time or focus now. Discuss at will, and I'll check in later.

Note added at 8:57 pm, CT

I just realized that I was in such a rush to post this entry that I neglected to provide any links to sources. I apologize for that omission and will provide them as soon as I can find time to do so tomorrow.

Here we go again...

I am so sick of husbands murdering their wives. It just never ends.

Michelle Marie Young, pregnant mother to a two-year old daughter, was found murdered in her home last Friday. This WRAL article will get you started on the case. I'll write more about it later today.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The Morning After

This morning, I awoke to the radio DJ wishing me "Happy Holidays!" followed by Bing Crosby dreaming of a "White Christmas". The first thought that occurred to me was "How long have I been asleep?!"

I mean, come on, people! Can't we even have a little break before starting the whole Christmas thing? I'm still recovering from Halloween, forcryinoutloud! I started my Christmas shopping a long time ago, but I refuse to listen to Christmas music before Thanksgiving. Don't get me wrong; I love Christmas music, but I have no intention of combining Thanksgiving with Christmas. I will celebrate Thanksgiving fully and on its own merits, thankyouverymuch! Just give me a few days to take down the Halloween decorations and cause some of the Trick-or-Treat booty to vanish first.

Speaking of which, the kids looked great in their costumes, and we had a wonderful evening despite the cold, windy conditions. After we'd had enough, we came home and handed out candy to all the other spooks and goblins. I hope your Halloween was as much fun as ours.

Here's the welcoming crew. I should have taken the photo earlier. Frankie was already starting to cave in on himself. All that warm weather leading up to the big day was just too much for him.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Happy Halloween!

I realize that some of you are waiting to hear about our trip to Chattanooga, but I'm just too swamped to deal with composing an entry about it right now. I've got to make a trip to the Pumpkin Patch, attend school Halloween parties, man a caramel apple booth at the Fall Carnival, assemble costumes, carve pumpkins, dig a grave (sort of), and buy candy -- all in the next few days. There's probably some other stuff that I'm forgetting about right now, not to mention all the regular domestic stuff that is piling up. I'm not sure who I relate to more -- Ichabod Crane or the Headless Horseman. Probably both, alternately. So have a happy Halloween and I'll see you on the other side!

Click this link to Carve a Pumpkin!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Breaking News: Michelle Gardner-Quinn

The body of missing University of Vermont student, Michelle Gardner-Quinn, has reportedly been found, but details are sketchy and reports vary as to the recovery site. Investigators have been excavating a construction site in a residential yard a few blocks from the jewelry store address where Michelle was last seen. Construction workers indicated that they were focusing on an area where concrete was poured on Monday.

Earlier, authorities had cordoned off at least half a block in a residential Burlington neighborhood several blocks south of where Gardner-Quinn was last seen. They were concentrating on a stately, three-story, red brick home, where there has been construction on an addition.

A backhoe could be seen in the yard, but police were keeping a crowd of media well away from the scene and were declining to comment.

The Burlington Free Press, citing construction workers who declined to be identified, reported on its Web site that digging was to concentrate on a hole behind the house where concrete was poured on Monday.

WCAX reported that a man who had been a subcontractor on the job was the person whose phone Gardner-Quinn had used as she walked toward her dorm.

No arrests have been reported, but police have searched the vehicle of the man who loaned his cell phone. [Source: The Boston Globe]

In addition, a swimming hole near Richmond was also being searched today. Vermont's WCAX-TV is reporting that a female body found near the popular swimming area of Huntington Gorge is that of Michelle.

A sad ending to an exhaustive search. Channel 3 News has learned that police have found the body of Michelle Gardner-Quinn, the missing UVM student.

Official sources tell us that her body was found Friday near the Huntington Gorge in Richmond. We are told it was not in the gorge, but along Dugway Road.

Police have not yet confirmed that report but are expected to hold a press conference this afternoon.

Update: 4:15 pm, CT

It's official:

Burlington Deputy Police Chief Michael Schirling says a woman's body has been recovered in a town east of Burlington. He has confirmed that the remains are those of missing University of Vermont student Michelle Gardner-Quinn. [Source:]

CourtTV is reporting that police have released the name of the man seen in the video with Michelle Gardner-Quinn. He is 36-year-old Brian Rooney. He has been arrested on unrelated charges and is now a suspect in Ms. Gardner-Quinn's death.

The Interactive Map has been updated with Dugway Road marked with placemark #8.

Duckett Command Center

As national media focus shifts to other missing persons cases, Team Trenton is taking a new tack in working to locate 2-year-old Trenton Duckett, missing from his Leesburg, Florida, home since August 26. Joshua Duckett has opened his own command center and set up a website -- in an attempt to collect tips and boost public awareness of his son's disappearance. Tips can be called in anonymously to Duckett's hotline (1.877.TRENT65)as well as to local law enforcement. Duckett also plans to hire a private investigator as soon as funds become available.

For more information about Trenton's disappearance, read this Duckett Timeline entry. Additional entries are accessible on the main page of this blog or by using the Categories menu in the right sidebar.

Michelle Gardner-Quinn

Michelle Gardner-Quinn was reported missing on Saturday, October 7, after failing to show up to a dinner date with her parents who were in town for Parents' Weekend at the University of Vermont. She had been out with friends at a bar near campus the night before and was last seen around 2:15 am walking toward campus with a man her friends described as a "random guy". Shortly after first hearing about the disappearance, a friend and I began discussing the reported details of the case. I chose not to write an entry because my own hopeful theory was that Michelle had gone missing voluntarily, perhaps in reaction to mounting stress in her academic and personal life. I saw no value in publicly discounting the plausible seriousness of the situation, preferring instead to keep an eye on reports and hope that Michelle would soon be found alive and well. Unfortunately, as details continue to emerge, it appears that my early speculation was wrong. I now believe that the abduction and/or demise of Michelle Gardner-Quinn is all too genuine. Burlington Police and the FBI are diligently gathering tips, collecting every grain of potential evidence, and following each lead in striving to locate the 21-year-old.

Wednesday, new information was released by the Burlington Police Department. Investigators are requesting help from the public in gathering information about a person who has become a "significant focus" of the investigation. Images captured by a jewelry store surveillance camera display Michelle walking eastbound on Main Street, in the company of the "random guy" she was reported last seen with by friends. The young man, who had earlier loaned her the use of his cell phone, is described as a thirty-something white male, 5' 9" to 5' 11" in height, weighing between 170 and 190 pounds and wearing dark blue jeans and a dark-colored zip-up fleece shirt. Police are not seeking to identify the man, but to locate anyone who may have seen him in the area that night. It appears that they are interested in determining where else this guy may have been on the night in question and whether he was seen at other locations with Michelle. In addition to the stills shown below, the Burlington Police Department has made available a segment of the surveillance video on their website. That page also contains links to press releases, photos of Michelle Gardner-Quinn, and press conference videos.

Earlier this week, police executed a search warrant at a home in Richmond, subsequently declaring that the residents thereof are not considered suspects in Ms. Gardner-Quinn's disappearance. Neighbors described the couple in glowing terms, adding that they have "grandchildren of their own all over the place." However, the search is indeed related to the investigation of the, as yet, unnamed man captured on camera accompanying her.

Thursday's search spanned areas east of the city in Jericho and Richmond. Police had searched a house in Richmond earlier in the week and Tremblay said of the man seen in the video with Gardner-Quinn: "There is a connection to the Richmond home." He did not elaborate. [Source: Rutland Herald]

Obviously, police have reason to suspect that he is involved in her disappearance and have evidence that he traveled to Richmond shortly after Michelle's disappearance. In all likelihood, the man was identified by tracing back his number to the cell phone Michelle used to call her friend Tommy that night. The next logical step would have been to track any other calls and pings from that phone in the following days to ascertain the travels of the person of interest. The search for Michelle and any of her belongings was expanded to include Jericho, which lies along the Route 15 corridor between Burlington and Richmond. Reportedly, forensic evidence has been recovered, although police are not specifying the location of that recovery, and is currently being analyzed in a crime lab. In addition, some tip(s) or evidence has led investigators to two parks on Lake Champlain -- North Beach and Oakledge -- in their search for Ms. Gardner-Quinn.

Interactive Map

I have plotted the areas of interest on MSN's Live Local maps. Click the Interactive Map link above and wait for the markers to load. Each marker has additional information that you can view by hovering your mouse cursor over the placemark. Some markers overlap and can be seen better by zooming in to street level. Please provide links to any additional articles of interest, as well as your own thoughts and theories, in the comment section.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Columbus Day

It's Columbus Day, and I'm feeling adventurous. So I got to Googling around on the Internet and found out that The NIÑA is going to be in port at Chattanooga, Tennessee this month. My kids are fascinated with tall ships right now because they're into all things pirate. I'd love to take them to see The The NIÑA firsthand. It won't matter a lick to them that it's only a replica of the original.

I also came across The Wonders of Rock City, which is just south of Chattanooga, at Lookout Mountain in Georgia. Looks like a grand place for an adventure, no?

Now if I can only talk my husband "HAL" into a trip on such short notice. I'm having flashbacks to our other foray into Tennessee. Once upon a time, in an October of yesteryear, we decided to see Memphis, Nashville, and Gatlinburg. (Well, it was my idea actually. HAL just happily went along with my spur-of-the-moment notion.) Clueless hicks that we are, neither of us had any idea that October is the busiest season of the year in the Great Smoky Mountains. HAL was dumbfounded when he learned that we couldn't get a room in Gatlinburg because the leaves were changing. Yes, people come from far and wide to view the autumnal transmogrification every year. After spending half the night driving around, we ended up finding a room on the west side of Knoxville and returned to Gatlinburg the next day. Aside from that one little setback, we had a great time. Of course, we were childless then, making the driving around half the night a tad less troublesome. Reckon he'll remember that little adventure less fondly and say, "No way!"?

Stand by and I'll let ya know.

Update: 5:02 pm

Okay, you're gonna love this. HAL suggested we borrow a travel trailer and go for it. We are the epitome of the blind leading the blind. He did have enough sense to hedge with, "We'll talk about it tonight." So, of the two of us, he might actually be the brighter bulb. Time will tell.

The Eubank-Duckett Saga

The Orlando Sentinel has published a comprehensive article detailing the soap opera-like chronicles of Melinda (Eubank) and Joshua Duckett. I've chosen not to excerpt any of it here because I feel that taking any part of it out of context would be unfair to the subjects. Read the entire article at this link:
From Teen Sweethearts to Bitter Foes.
The Sentinel has also provided a .pdf file of DCF documents pertaining to Trenton's custody. There is a link to that file in the Sentinel's left sidebar. Or you can click on this link that will take you directly to their .pdf:
Court and DCF Documents.
At this time, I won't be excerpting anything from that file either. Suffice it to say, there is plenty of shame to go around for the trauma that Trenton endured during his short life. I have saved the file for publication in case it later becomes unavailable at that link.

Friday, October 06, 2006

And the Truth Comes Out

Just as with the forged threatening e-mail purported to be from Joshua, Melinda Duckett may have thought she had outsmarted everyone with a concocted abduction of her precious son Trenton, but it's obvious now she'd never fooled anyone but herself. Investigators were skeptical about Melinda's story from the word go, when she pointed the finger at her estranged husband and presented them with the infamous e-mail threat as proof that he was responsible for Trenton's disappearance. At every turn, Melinda's words and actions only served to reinforce their suspicions.

"She feigned cooperation, but she was uncooperative throughout the investigation," said Capt. Steve Rockefeller of the Leesburg Police Department.

Not only did investigators find fresh paint on Melinda Duckett's apartment walls and baby pictures, including a sonogram, in the trash, investigators said they also found holes in any story Melinda Duckett tried to tell them, especially when they put her on a voice stress test machine.

"Joshua passed his voice stress test. And Melinda, the results on hers were indicated deception," Rockefeller said. "That was definitely one of the earlier indicators that something was wrong with her story." [Source:}

Melinda was reportedly more than a little skittish in the face of polygraph examinations, balking at the opportunity to clear her name on more than one occasion. This revelation is in direct conflict with the statement of her attorney, Kimberly Schulte. During an appearance on The O'Reilly Factor, Ms. Schulte claimed that Melinda did not refuse to submit to a polygraph examination, insisting that she (Ms. Schulte) rejected the invitation on her client's behalf.

The undisclosed whereabouts and activities of Melinda after leaving her grandparents' Lady Lake home on Saturday afternoon continue to be the most problematic for investigators. It seems that those lost hours were a particular sore spot for Melinda, as well.

Leesburg police confirmed that at one point, she started answering questions about the Friday and Sunday on the weekend Trenton disappeared, but when they started asking her about Saturday, Melinda Duckett got up and walked out.

"The time frame right after Saturday afternoon leading up until Sunday morning she was, she just didn't seem willing to discuss. And at one point, she did get up and leave an interview," Rockefeller said. [Ibid]

I've no wish to complain about investigators' decision to release more information to the public. In my opinion, most law enforcement organizations have, until recently, been too reluctant to enlist the public's help in investigating high-profile crimes. I understand the line of thinking behind that, and in many cases, it's justified. In this case, I personally don't yet have enough information to determine whether they should have done anything differently. Although I'm grateful to be apprised of more of the facts, I'm afraid of what the decision to release the information signifies -- namely that Leesburg Police have exhausted all leads and are desperate to churn up new tips.

More than ever, the focus is on Melinda Duckett and her whereabouts from 4 pm on Saturday, August 26, until approximately the same hour on Sunday, August 27. And they want the public to know it. Hopefully, there is someone out there who can delve into his or her memory and come up with something that will lead them to Trenton. We can only hope that Melinda didn't take that most important truth to her grave. One way or another, Trenton needs to be brought home.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

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.