Melinda Duckett's family says her interview with the news host led to the woman's death

By Tim Nudd
November 21, 2006 02:35 PM

The family of Melinda Duckett, a Florida woman who shot herself to death after being forcefully questioned by CNN’s Nancy Grace about her son’s disappearance, sued the network and the Headline News host on Tuesday, claiming they bear responsibility for her death.

Duckett’s relatives claim the interview caused emotional distress that led to the suicide, the Associated Press reports.

A lawyer for the Duckett estate, Jay Paul Deratany, said the issue goes beyond the interview itself. He said Grace encouraged Duckett to speak publicly to aid in the search for her boy, only to adopt the role of a law-enforcement officer on camera.

“It’s not just about the questioning, it’s about the misrepresentation with the knowledge that she was emotionally distraught,” Deratany said.

The suit seeks unspecified damages.

CNN Headline News declined to comment specifically on the lawsuit. In a release, a spokeswoman said, “We stand by Nancy Grace and fully support her, as we have from the beginning of this matter.”

Duckett’s son, Trenton, was reported missing on Aug. 27. Duckett appeared on Grace’s show on Sept. 7; she committed suicide the following day. Duckett has been named the prime suspect in her son’s disappearance. Authorities said last week they believe there is a chance the boy is still alive.