Tuesday February 19, 2013 07:00 PM EST
What's Next for Mindy McCready's Two Young Boys?
by Steve HellingMindy McCready's apparent suicide on Sunday has left her two young sons in custodial limbo.
The boys – Zander, 6, and Zayne, 10 months – had been in state custody since Feb. 7, when McCready called police to ask for help in making her father and stepmother leave her home. When police arrived, McCready appeared to be intoxicated, according to a Department of Human Services report.
In a subsequent petition, the singer's father, Tim McCready, asked the court to order her to undergo mental health and substance abuse evaluation and treatment, alleging that his daughter, who had recently lost her boyfriend, "hasn't had a bath in a week ... screams about everything ... [is] very verbally abusive to Zander."
After a judge granted the petition, the children were quickly removed and placed into foster care. Although McCready was released from treatment, the boys remained in state custody.
At the time, Zander's father, Billy McKnight, requested custody of his son. "My son needs me," he told PEOPLE on Feb. 8. "I'm married, working and successful. I'm on the right track and proud of it. I've been sober for years. I just want my son."
But McCready's mother and stepfather, Gayle and Michael Inge, also want custody of the children – and authorities seem to agree.
In a proposed order sent to Circuit Judge Lee Harrod, the Department of Human Services proposed that the Inges might be a better fit for the children, claiming that they have "a substantial relationship." The Inges had custody of Zander for much the past few years, during McCready’s rehab and jail stints.
With McCready's death, the judge will have to determine what is in the children's best interest. A custody hearing has been scheduled for April 5.