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Zander McCready found safe in Arkansas

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 11:13 PM EST, Fri December 2, 2011
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Singer's child in custody of Arkansas officials
  • McCready had been ordered to turn over boy, 5
  • McCready took her son, but she does not have legal custody

(CNN) -- The 5-year-old son of country music singer Mindy McCready has been recovered and is in good health in the custody of officials in Arkansas, a spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Children and Families told CNN Friday.

"We're working with local law enforcement and the Arkansas (Division of Children and Family Services) and we're going to bring him home to Florida to his legal guardian as soon as possible," Terri Durdaller said about the boy, Zander.

Mindy McCready's assistant said the singer turned Zander over to the Arkansas authorities and that he would be returned to her on Monday. "She's looking forward to having her case heard in front of an unbiased courtroom," the assistant said. "She has a 99% chance of her child leaving with her on Monday morning."

She described Zander as "very OK."

But Mindy McCready's mother and stepfather, Gayle and Michael Inge, have legal custody of the boy and the singer has only visitation rights.

"We're relieved," they told CNN. "We feel sorrow for Zander because he's traumatized, and for Mindy. We just hope she does the right thing from here on out and that this is a wake-up call for her."

The boy was located hours after Gayle Inge made a public plea for her daughter to obey a court order to return her son to the care of the Inges.

The imbroglio started when McCready, who has fought a public battle against drug addiction, took her son from her father's Florida home.

This week, a Florida judge ordered McCready to return the boy to authorities. When she did not comply, another judge issued an emergency "pickup order," authorizing officers to pick up the boy. The singer was ordered to produce Zander and failed to do so.

Though McCready said that the boy was with her, authorities considered him to be missing.

McCready's publicist issued a statement, saying McCready "has not been charged with illegal wrongdoing."

"Ms. McCready's No. 1 priority has always been, and continues to be, the safety of her son," publicist Kat Atwood said.

McCready has asked a court to restore custody to her out of concern over the boy's safety, Atwood said.

McCready burst on the music scene in 1996 with the debut album "10,000 Angels" and the chart-topping country hit "Guys Do It All the Time."

Her website biography says she's had romances with musician David Malloy and actor Dean Cain, and touches on her career stalling, as well as her having an "explosive relationship" with Billy McKnight, the boy's father, who is himself a country singer.

McCready participated in the 2009 season of the reality TV show "Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew."

CNN's Tom Watkins, Phil Gast, Michael Martinez, Selin Darkalstanian, Dave Alsup and Vivian Kuo contributed to this report.

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