Arkansas authorities took country singer Mindy McCready’s 5-year-old son Zander from her and into custody on Friday evening, His maternal grandmother, Gayle Inge, has been his guardian since 2007. Officials say he’s safe and in good health.
Inge was tearful when she talked about the news by phone Friday night with The Associated Press: “I’m real excited that he’s safe. But I can’t explain what this is like. We feel for Mindy and we feel for Zander.”
Inge said Zander was taken into custody at McCready’s boyfriend’s lake home in Arkansas.
“I want to wrap my arms around her and tell her that I love her,” Inge said, adding that her daughter and grandson were found by authorities “hiding in a closet.”
Authorities say McCready, who is seven months pregnant with twins, took the boy during a visit late last month at her father’s Fort Myers, 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.”
In 2008, McCready was admitted to a hospital after police said she cut her wrists and took several pills in a suicide attempt.
During the TV show 'Celebrity Rehab 3' in 2010, McCready came off as a sympathetic figure, and host Dr. Drew Pinsky called her an angel in the season finale.