Mindy McCready & Son Found in Empty House; Boy Returned
Mindy McCready & Son Found in Empty House; Boy Returned

By the time authorities took country singer Mindy McCready's 5-year-old son from her and into custody on Friday evening, one thing had already become apparent: her life has come to resemble a bad country song.

Since her emergence in the mid-1990s as a honey-voiced success story out of Nashville, McCready has been increasingly known for her personal troubles instead of her music.

This week's custody battle, where McCready took her son from his Florida home, was the latest in her brushes with the law.

Florida Department of Children and Families spokeswoman Terri Durdaller wrote in an email Saturday that her agency was working with Arkansas state officials to bring McCready's son, Zander, back to his legal guardian, McCready's mother.

Officials say the boy is safe and in good health after he and McCready were found in a bedroom closet of an unoccupied Arkansas home.

"Zander is in Arkansas and we continue to arrange his swift arrival back to Florida," Durdaller wrote.

In Arkansas, Cleburne County Sheriff Marty Moss said Saturday that McCready didn't have permission to be in the unoccupied summer home where she was found Friday evening with her son. Authorities continue to investigate, he said.

The sheriff's office said in a news release Saturday that McCready had been a visitor to the area. Authorities located her after receiving a report of "possible occupants in a summer home that was supposed to be unoccupied," the news release said.

Moss told The Associated Press on Saturday that he doesn't expect that McCready will face any charges for being at the unoccupied home.

Gayle Inge, McCready's mother, was tearful Friday night.

"I'm real excited that he's safe," she said. "But I can't explain what this is like. We feel for Mindy and we feel for Zander." Inge said that her son - McCready's half-brother - texted McCready, who responded with a text that said her mother would never see her again.

"I want to wrap my arms around her and tell her that I love her," Inge said.

McCready, who turned 36 on Wednesday, did not respond to emails Friday and Saturday.

Authorities say McCready took the boy during a visit late last month to her father's Florida home, where she was allowed to visit the boy. McCready's parents are divorced.

A Florida judge signed an order Thursday telling authorities to take the boy into custody and return him. It's not yet clear whether the singer could face criminal charges.

McCready said earlier in the week that she would not bring her son back from Tennessee, where she has a home, despite violating the custody arrangement. She told the AP that her son had suffered abuse at her mother's house, a claim that Inge vehemently denies.

"I'm doing all this to protect Zander, not stay out of trouble," McCready wrote in an email to the AP on Thursday. "I don't think I should be in trouble for protecting my son in the first place."

McCready told the AP Wednesday night she was in Tennessee and couldn't travel because she is seven months pregnant with twins.

McCready and her mother have had a long custody battle over the boy.

McCready found fame in the mid-1990s when she moved to Nashville at the age of 18, armed with only her karaoke tapes. Her first album, "Ten Thousand Angels," sold two million copies.

Her next four albums weren't as successful. Her personal troubles began encroaching on her professional success. According to her website, she suffers from severe depression.

In August, she filed a libel suit against her mother and the National Enquirer's parent company, American Media Inc., over a story published in the tabloid newspaper that quoted Inge.

And in 2008, McCready was admitted to a hospital after police said she cut her wrists and took several pills in a suicide attempt.

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