HEBER SPRINGS, Ark. (AP) — Mindy McCready threatened suicide after losing custody of her sons earlier this month, yet she was allowed to leave a court-ordered drug rehabilitation program just days before she apparently killed herself at her Arkansas home, her ex-boyfriend said Monday.
Billy McKnight, who was in a long, stormy relationship with McCready and is the father of her oldest child, Zander, said the 37-year-old mother of two stayed in the substance abuse treatment center for about 18 hours before she was allowed to walk free.
McCready died Sunday at her home in Heber Springs, a vacation community about 65 miles north of Little Rock. She was found dead on the front porch, where her longtime boyfriend, musician David Wilson, died last month of a gunshot wound to the head. Authorities are investigating both deaths as suicides but haven't determined an official cause of death.
McKnight told The Associated Press during a phone interview from Tampa, Fla., that McCready and Wilson, the father of her youngest son, were recently engaged. He wondered how she was allowed to go free, given all the turmoil in her life.
"That was a big mistake on the part of whoever released her," McKnight said. "She was in a terrible state of mind. She doesn't perform any more. She wasn't working. She has two kids and her fiance was just killed. There's no way she should be out by herself in a lonely house with nothing but booze and pills. That was a really, really bad mistake, and the end result is tragic."
Arkansas courts were closed for the holiday Monday, so local case documents weren't immediately available.
Neighbors reported hearing two shots Sunday afternoon when they called the Cleburne County Sheriff's Office. Authorities found Wilson's dog dead next to McCready's body at the home, where yellow crime-scene tape looped through a grove of pine trees and around the one-story brick house Monday afternoon.
"Based on what we have found at the scene at this time, we do believe that she took the life of the dog that we are being told by family members belonged to Mr. Wilson before she took her own life," Sheriff Marty Moss said.
The sheriff said McCready's two sons were safe. McKnight said the boys remained in foster care, where they were at the time of their mother's death. McKnight said he was trying to get custody of his son, Zander, but that he was not privy to what was happening with her other son, Zayne, who was born last year.
McCready's sons were put in foster care and she was ordered into rehab earlier this month after McCready's father expressed concern. He told a judge his daughter had stopped taking care of her children and herself after Wilson's death, and that she was abusing alcohol and prescription drugs.
Moss said McCready's cause of death would be released soon, but that "all indicators" point to suicide. Her body has been sent to the state crime lab for autopsy.
For all the highs McCready had early in her career, thanks to the spunky anti-chauvinist hit "Guys Do It All The time," and her first album, "Ten Thousand Angels," which has sold more than 2 million copies, there were many more lows. She previously attempted suicide at least three times, and her fragile state of mindwas always a concern to family and friends. She acknowledged in a 2010 interview that her life was turbulent at times, sometimes self-inflicted.
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