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In this episode of FBI Retired Case File Review, retired agents Kathy Canning Mello and Jim Beasley, former FBI profilers assigned to the FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit in Quantico, Virginia, review the false allegation case wherein Melinda Duckett, a young single mother claimed a stranger had entered the bedroom of her 2-year-old son, Trenton Duckett , via the window screen and abducted him. On 8/29/06, Kathy and Jim as members as representatives of the Critical Incident Response Group, National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime (NCAVC), Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU-3), deployed to Leesburg, Florida to assist members of the Child Abduction Rapid Deployment (CARD)Team who had responded to the alleged child kidnaping investigation concerning Trenton. The purpose of the BAU’s assistance was to conduct a comprehensive behavioral assessment of Trenton’s mother, Melinda, focusing specifically on her personality and behavior, as well as to evaluate the interpersonal dynamics associated with the extended circle of family and acquaintances and their possible relationship to the victim’s disappearance.
After appearing on a national TV news/talk show, Melinda committed suicide. Trenton was never recovered. Learn more about The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. To listen to more FBI Retired Case File Review case reviews with former BAU profilers here. To listen to case reviews about crimes against children. During the case review, Kathy mentioned the episode I did about the abduction of 12-year-old Polly Klaas. Episode 057: Eddie Freyer – Polly Klaas, Child Abduction and Murder (Part 1) and Episode 058: Eddie Freyer – Polly Klaas, Child Abduction and Murder (Part 2)
Special Agent (Retired)
1988 – 2019
“We needed to get from Melinda Duckett some understanding of her story of where she claimed she was during the time that Trenton was still alive.”—Retired Agent Kathy Canning-Mello
Retired agent Kathleen Canning-Mello served in the FBI for 31-years. Her vast experience in the field includes investigations in violent crime, white-collar crime, cybercrime, counter-terrorism, and transnational organized crime. During her 10-year assignment with the FBI’s renowned Behavioral Analysis Unit, she consulted and taught thousands of criminal justice professionals domestically and internationally on crimes against children investigations. The results of her research projects on False Allegation of Child Abduction and Maternal Neonaticide were published in peerreviewed journals, educating investigators and prosecutors worldwide.
She also testified as an expert witness in state and federal hearings involving online crimes against children. Kathleen’s service included international assignments in Canada, Greece, Hong-Kong, the Republics of Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan. These experiences allowed her to use her leadership and liaison experience to build sustainable relationships as well as to advance FBI investigations and train foreign partners in developing counterterrorism and cybercrime capabilities. Motivated by her desire to share her experiences and to develop the next generation of criminal justice leaders, Kathleen who has a Master’s in Criminal Justice from Boston University and a B.S. Degree in Criminal Justice from Roger Williams College, began her post-retirement career in the Fall of 2019 as a part-time college instructor at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington.
Special Agent (Retired)
1983 to 2013
Retired agent Jim Beasley served in the FBI for over 30 year. He conducted investigations in three field divisions – Kansas City, MO; San Antonio, TX (Brownsville Resident Agency); and Newark, NJ (Franklin Township Resident Agency). He was later assigned as a Supervisory Special Agent (SSA) Document Examiner in the FBI’s Laboratory Division in Washington, D.C., where he conducted forensic analysis of illicit drug and money laundering records. He later served as a Supervisory Senior Resident Agent (SSRA) in the FBI’s Sacramento, CA, Field Division, where he managed violent crime, gang, drug, and fraud investigations in that division’s Fresno, CA, Resident Agency.
For the latter half of his FBI career, Mr. Beasley was an SSA in the National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime – Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU), a component of the FBI’s Critical Incident Response Group – Investigative and Operations Support Section, based at the FBI Academy in Quantico, VA. His duties there included behavioral and threat assessments of offenses and offenders in violent crimes and cyber investigations, particularly those involving crimes against children, serial murder, serial rape, and online criminal activities. He also conducted research and published articles on those topics, based on his interviews with dozens of incarcerated offenders, along with extensive analysis of their backgrounds as revealed in relevant case materials and treatment records. His last assignment in the BAU was in the newly formed Cyber Behavioral Analysis Center, which dealt with cyber crimes and threat assessment. In that capacity, he co-developed a methodology for offender behavioral analysis that focused specifically on Internet communications, computer intrusions, implementation of malicious software, and insider threats.
Mr. Beasley is currently the President of Trident Behavioral Analysis Consulting, providing expert assistance and training in violent crime matters for law enforcement agencies, businesses, and non-profit organizations. He also works as a Special Investigator for the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI’s) Background Investigation Contract Services (BICS) program and is a registered private investigator in the state of Virginia. In 2019 he became an adjunct faculty member at Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia, where he teaches a course in Behavioral Criminology.
Mr. Beasley holds a B.S. degree in psychology (with a minor in sociology) from Central Missouri State University at Warrensburg, and a master’s degree in public administration (with an emphasis in organizational behavior and labor relations) from the University of Missouri at Kansas City.
The following are links to information about the BAU and the FBI’s Critical Incident Response Group and news articles about Melinda Duckett and the abduction of Trenton:
FBI Website: Behavioral Interview Program – Attempting to Understand Violent Offenders
FBI Website: Critical Incident Response Group (CIRG) – Investigative & Operations Support
Nancy Grace Show – Missing Two-Year-Old Trenton Duckett
People Magazine – October 23, 2020: Mom Died by Suicide After 2-Year-Old Son Vanished in 2006, but Family Thinks Boy Is ‘Alive Out There’
Bay News 9 – 10/9/2020: 14 Years Later Family Hopeful to Find Trenton Duckett
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