Mindy McCready and son Zander found in Arkansas
"The child appeared to be in good condition when we found him," David Rahbany, the chief deputy U.S. Marshal in eastern Arkansas, told CNN. "He was in the closet with his mother."
So far, McCready has not been charged with a crime and authorities are focused on bringing Zander back to Florida to reunite him with McCready’s mother, Gayle Inge, who reportedly has legal custody of the boy.
"I'm real excited that he's safe," she told the Associated Press. "But I can't explain what this is like. We feel for Mindy and we feel for Zander."
The drama started on Tuesday when the singer picked up Zander for a visit from her father’s house in Cape Coral, Fla., and reportedly never returned. After the authorities got involved, McCready went to the media, claiming her son was abused at her mother's house, something Inge 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."
When a Florida judge ordered her to return the 5-year-old by Thursday evening, McCready apparently refused, telling the media she couldn’t travel from Tennessee (where she supposedly was at the time) because she was pregnant with twins.
Zander’s father, Billy McKnight, told the "Today" show on Friday that he spoke with McCready and Zander after the Thursday deadline had passed, telling Matt Lauer that his son sounded “really well” and that his ex "doesn't realize that she's pushing her luck on this one.”
Truth be told, McCready’s life has unraveled a bit like a country song over the past several years. After hitting it big in the 1990s with "Ten Thousand Angels" and "If I Don't Stay the Night," her life took a downturn, including a sex tape and struggles with drugs, depression and, according to her mother, suicide attempts. She returned to the spotlight in 2010 with a stint on VH1's “Celebrity Rehab 3” with Dr. Drew Pinksy.
-- Emily Christianson
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Photo: Mindy McCready onstage in Nashville. Credit: Mark Humphrey / Associated Press