- Associated Press - Saturday, December 3, 2011

ST. PETERSBURG, FLA. (AP) - By the time Arkansas 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 to many in America: McCready’s 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 foibles instead of her music.

This week’s custody battle was the latest in a long saga of personal heartache and 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 her legal guardian in Florida. His maternal grandmother has been Zander’s guardian since 2007.

Officials say he’s safe and in good health.

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 the matter, he said.

The sheriff’s office said in a news release Saturday that it was known McCready had been a visitor to the area and that deputies were working with the U.S. Marshals Service to see if the singer might be there. Authorities located McCready after receiving a report of “possible occupants in a summer home that was supposed to be unoccupied,” the news release said.

Authorities said officers entered the home and found McCready and her son in a bedroom closet. A man, David Wilson, was also in the residence. Moss said neither had permission to be in the residence, but neither was arrested at the time.

Moss told the Associated Press on Saturday that the house where all three were found is next door to one where Wilson has stayed in the past. He said he doesn’t know if McCready is still in the area and doesn’t expect that she will face any charges for being at the unoccupied home.

“I don’t expect that to happen,” Moss said.

Gayle Inge, Zander’s grandmother and McCready’s mother, was tearful when she talked about the news by phone Friday night with The Associated Press.

“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.

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