Ten days before Mindy McCready’s February 17 death, her two young sons were taken from her home and put into foster care … where they still remain. So, what are their likely fates in the coming days, weeks and month?
Zander, 6, and Zayne, 10 months, are now in the center of a battle between the singer’s father and stepmother, mother and stepfather, and even Zander’s father, Billy McKnight (Zayne’s father, David Wilson, was found shot to death in January at the same Heber Springs, Arkansas, home where McCready killed herself).
McCready’s father, Tim, was instrumental in having the boys removed from his daughter’s care in the first place on February 7… an event which she later described to a friend as “the cruelest, most awful situation I’ve ever seen.” After McCready herself summoned police because she wanted her father and his wife out of her home, officers instead believed she was intoxicated and that perhaps the children were at risk. Later that day, Tim stated in a petition that his daughter “hasn't had a bath in a week ... screams about everything ... [is] very verbally abusive to Zander.”
[Related: Why Did Mindy McCready Shoot Her Dog?]
The next day, McKnight requested custody of Zander, with whom he has had limited contact in recent years. A year before Zander’s birth, McKnight was arrested and charged with attempted murder after he allegedly beat and choked McCready. They soon got back together and she became pregnant with Zander … but just three months into it, she attempted suicide for the second time. Despite the rocky past, "My son needs me," McKnight told People magazine. "I'm married, working and successful. I'm on the right track and proud of it. I've been sober for years. I just want my son."
But so do McCready’s mother, Gayle Inge, and her husband, Michael. In fact, the couple had guardianship of Zander in December 2011 when McCready, who lost sole custody as she battled substance abuse, took him from her parents’ Florida home against a court order after claiming that Zander was being abused, which her mother denied. Days later, McCready and Zander were found by police hiding in a closet in Wilson’s Arkansas home, and the little boy was removed in what McKnight later described as a "nightmare" situation.
And now, the Department of Human Services believe the Inges should once again get custody, but this time of both boys. In a letter sent to the judge in the case, DHS described the couple as the best fit to raise Zander and Zayne because they have “a substantial relationship.”
A custody hearing has been set for April 5. Although McCready had a very tumultuous relationship with her mother, Gayle Inge is still trying to remember the happy times they shared. “I wish I could hold her in my arms again,” she tells Celebuzz.com. “I will never get over this. We break down and tell stories about her and laugh and talk about her and then break down again. We don’t know how to handle this or know what to do. We take it one day at a time.”
The family is currently planning a memorial service for McCready, which is tentatively set for February 26.