Dad files petition to get son he fathered with Mindy McCready

8:31 PM, Mar 30, 2013   |    comments
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Mindy McCready performs in Nashville, Tenn., in an undated photo.
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TAMPA, Florida -- Country star Mindy McCready had a major hit with the song "10,000 Angels," and some say she had the voice and temperment of one of one as well.

Close friend Eddie Donofrio says, "She was an amazing person."

But there was a dark side to the star that involved alcohol, drugs, and jail time, and it cost her custody of her children, one of whom is the son of Tampa singer Billy McKnight.

McKnight's attorney, John McGuire says, "Ultimately, she kidnapped the child and took him to Arkansas."

McGuire says he is mystified that federal marshals found the missing child, Zander McCready, hiding in a closet in Arkansas, but gave him to child protection officials in Arkansas instead of returning him to Florida.

We asked McGuire how a kidnapped child could be found and not returned. He says, "I have no idea."

In an even more surprising event, an Arkansas Judge awarded the troubled singer custody of the child she kidnapped. McCready then lost custody and took her own life. However, instead of returning Zander to his father or grandmother, who shared custody of the boy, Arkansas officials put the child in foster care.

Eddie Donofrio says, "Why Zander is not with Billy I don't understand. It doesn't make any sense."

Donofrio and his wife, Amy, took McCready into their Largo home for eight months and can't understand why Arkansas is ignoring a Florida order to return the child to the state. The case has been appealed to the Arkansas Supreme Court.

According to McGuire, "The Arkansas Supreme Court basically said, 'If the child is here, we have jurisdiction.'"

That's why McKnight, who is under a gag order regarding commenting on the case, has filed an emergency motion, saying Florida has jurisdiction and Zander must be returned to the state immediately.

According to McGuire, "There is no reason for him to be in the state of Arkansas. And if the state of Arkansas is refusing to return him, I think the federal marshals have to go get him."

While some may question whether the child should be returned to McKnight, who was arrested for domestic violence against McCready before the child was born, his attorney claims it was a false allegation. Eddie Donofrio, who says McCready was like a sister to him, agrees, saying, "And even Mindy out of her own mouth told me she was more to blame than anything. She said it was alcohol and her own attitude."

But for now, a 7-year-old boy who has only seen his father once in the past 18 months, when Arkansas social workers brought him to his mother's funeral, is being kept away from his father, grandmother, and other blood relatives in Florida, and he is stuck in foster care in the state of Arkansas.

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