Feb. 18, 2013 at 8:01 AM ET
After witnessing her personal struggles over the years, the father of one of Mindy McCready’s two children was grief-stricken but not surprised after hearing the country singer died Sunday from what police say was a self-inflicted single gunshot wound to the head.
“As sad as it is, it didn’t come as a major shock because she’s just been battling demons for so long,’’ ex-boyfriend Billy McKnight told Carl Quintanilla on TODAY Monday. “Of course, I was around her when she attempted suicide twice, so I knew it was in her. I feel for her mother and her family and especially my son, but I can’t say that it shocked me.’’
McCready was admitted to an inpatient facility for unspecified causes on Feb. 6, according to her publicist, and her two sons were placed in foster care during that time. She was still grieving the loss of boyfriend David Wilson, who died of a gunshot wound in his home in Heber Springs, Ark., in January. His death is still being investigated by police, and McCready had not been named a suspect. She denied shooting Wilson in an interview with NBC’s Andrea Canning in January.
“It was hurting so bad and then they just did what they could to make it hurt even more,’’ McCready told Canning. “My life hasn’t really ever made sense to me because I do know what kind of person I am, and I do know that I try to be as good a person as I can possibly be every day.’’
McCready’s body was found on the same porch at the home in Heber Springs where Wilson’s body was found. Had McCready remained in inpatient care, McKnight believed there is a possibility it might have prevented her from apparently taking her own life.
“I would like to think that,’’ McKnight said. “I don’t know how she got out. I don’t have those exact details. Mindy does have a way of talking her way out of situations that maybe she shouldn’t have been so good at.
“Perhaps staying in there and grieving around people that could help her over the death of her fiancé could’ve calmed her down, but the demons that she hasn’t beaten were there, and until she was going to face them, something was going to happen and everyone who knows her personally knew that. She would’ve had to probably stay in somewhere quite a long time until she really healed and started looking into herself for getting better.’’
McKnight, who knew McCready for 15 years, is hoping to regain custody of their 6-year-old son, Zander. In 2011, Zander and McCready were reported missing by McCready’s mother, who was Zander’s legal guardian at the time, and Zander was returned by order of a judge. McCready also had a son with Wilson, 9-month-old Zayne. Both boys were placed in foster homes during her treatment earlier this month and remain there at this time.
“(Zander) shouldn’t have been taken from me to begin with,’’ McKnight said. “He was taken out of Florida, and he has a happy home here. I can provide for him, and it’s just been a really big mess and enough is enough. He’s up there all alone. He has no family in Arkansas. He has plenty of family who love him here. He needs to come home.
“I would like to keep those boys being brothers together and try to turn my son’s life around. He’s had a rough first six years, and he deserves better than this, and my heart’s broken for him right now. I’m very worried.’’
McKnight and McCready had a tumultuous, sometimes violent relationship. In 2005, McKnight pleaded guilty to domestic assault after injuring McCready and sending her to the hospital. He served 30 days in jail.
In the days leading up to her death, McCready wrote a song called “I’ll See You Yesterday” to help those contemplating suicide. She shared it with friend Danno Hanks, a Los Angeles-based private investigator, and asked him to help her put together a video for it.
“I would’ve never guessed that she would’ve gone ahead and done what she did,’’ Hanks told NBC News. “Now it’s real clear that’s what she was doing. It’s like she was preparing her last statement in this video.’’