ST. PETERSBURG, Florida (AP) — Country singer Mindy McCready is pushing her luck with the legal system by not following a judge’s order to return her 5-year-old son to the care of her mother in Florida, her ex-boyfriend and father of the boy said Friday.
McCready said Thursday she would not bring her son back from Tennessee, despite violating a custody arrangement.
McCready took the boy during a recent visit at her father’s Florida home, and a judge signed an order Thursday ordering authorities to take the boy into custody and return him. It’s not yet clear whether the singer could face criminal charges.
“I’m doing all this to protect Zander, not stay out of trouble,” McCready wrote in an email to The Associated Press on Thursday. “I don’t think I should be in trouble for protecting my son in the first place.”
McCready says she is in Tennessee and cannot travel because she’s nearly seven months pregnant with twins.
The judge’s order means law enforcement anywhere can pick up the boy and bring him back to Florida.
The boy’s father, Billy McKnight, told the NBC “Today” show Friday he spoke on the phone with McCready and their boy after the judge’s deadline expired.
“He did sound healthy and ok. He wasn’t crying or scared,” McKnight said about their son. “I think she believes she has a case and doesn’t realize she’s pushing her luck on this one,” he said.
McCready and her mother have had a long custody battle over the boy. The boy was living with McCready’s mother, who was awarded guardianship in 2007. McCready says her son has suffered abuse at her mother’s house; her mother, Gayle Inge, denies the abuse allegations.
“Once the child is located, we will pick him up and bring him back to Florida,” said Terri Durdaller, a spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Children and Families. “Although these circumstances are unfortunate for a young child, his safety and well-being are our number one priority.”
TAMARA LUSH, Associated Press