Nancy Grace Says 'Guilt' Likely Made Mother Commit Suicide

ByABC News via logo
September 15, 2006, 8:31 AM

Sept. 15, 2006 — -- Former prosecutor turned talk show host Nancy Grace is unapologetic about her aggressive approach to a mother who committed suicide after an interview about the woman's missing son.

Twenty-one year-old Melinda Duckett was the mother of 2-year-old Trenton Duckett, who has been missing since Aug. 27.

Grace interviewed Duckett over the phone on Sept. 7 as part of a taped segment for Grace's show. Before the interview was over, the talk show host was pounding her desk and demanding, "Where were you? Why aren't you telling us where you were that day?"

One day later, Duckett shot and killed herself just hours before the taped interview aired on CNN Headline News.

In an exclusive interview with "Good Morning America" today, Grace said that she takes no responsibility for Duckett's suicide.

"If anything, I would suggest that guilt made her commit suicide," Grace told ABC News' Chris Cuomo.

"To suggest that a 15 or 20 minute interview can cause someone to commit suicide is focusing on the wrong thing," she said.

Melinda Duckett reported her son missing from their Leesburg, Fla., home on Aug. 27. She said he disappeared from his crib while she watched a movie on television with friends.

Investigators have stopped short of calling Duckett a suspect but have focused increasing attention on her movements just before the boy vanished. Police have seized notes, a computer, camera and other items from her home.

Duckett's family members disputed any suggestion that she hurt her son. They said that the strain of her son's disappearance pushed her to the brink, and the media sent her over the edge.

"Nancy Grace and the others, they just bashed her to the end," Duckett's grandfather Bill Eubank told the Associate Press Tuesday.

Some media analysts agree, saying Grace's interview went too far.

"How is that questioning doing anything but making a person in a desperate situation feeling even more desperate?" said Hub Brown, a professor at Syracuse University's Newhouse School of Communications.

Grace, however, insists her line of questioning was reasonable.