CNN anchor Nancy Grace’s aggressive interviewing technique has come under fire following the suicide death of Melinda Duckett, a 21-year-old Florida woman whom Grace grilled after the disappearance of the woman’s 2-year-old son.
In a phone interview taped for Grace’s show last week, the former prosecutor banged her hand on her desk and repeatedly demanded an account of Duckett’s whereabouts on Aug. 27, the day her son, Trenton, vanished.
Pressed by Grace, Duckett alluded to a difficult relationship with the local press before saying, “I’m not going to put those kind of details out,” she said.
“Why?” asked Grace.
“Because I was told not to.”
“Ms. Duckett, you are not telling us for a reason,” Grace replied. “What is the reason? You refuse to give even the simplest facts of where you were with your son before he went missing.”
After Duckett attempted an answer, Grace cut to a media psychologist, Dr. Lillian Glass, who said Duckett’s story “doesn’t make any sense to me. And the fact that she’s skirting around the issue and can’t get to the point concerns me a lot. Her reaction is not the typical reaction of a mother who has a missing child.”
By Sept. 8, when the interview aired, Duckett had already killed herself with her grandfather’s gun.
“I do not feel that our show is to blame for what happened to Melinda Duckett,” Grace told viewers on her show Monday. “The truth … is not always nice or polite or easy to go down. Sometimes it’s harsh, and it hurts.”
On Wednesday, Duckett’s estranged husband defended Grace, saying the interviewer “didn’t have anything to do” with his wife’s suicide. “She just asked her questions, that’s all,” said Joshua Duckett, 21, according to the New York Daily News.
Other members of Duckett’s family, meanwhile, blamed her suicide on the stress surrounding the incident, the recent loss of her job and her exposure to “Nancy Grace and the others” in the media, Duckett’s grandfather, Bill Eubank, tells the Orlando Sentinel. “They just bashed her to the end.”
Eubank added, “She and that baby just loved each other, couldn’t get away from each other. She wouldn’t hurt a bug.”
Police have not named Duckett as a suspect in her son’s disappearance, though they are reportedly looking into her movements in the last hours she spent with Trenton.