Billy McKnight is saddened -- but not shocked -- that country singer Mindy McCready took her own life on Sunday, Feb. 17. The musician's ex-boyfriend, who fathered her 6-year-old son Zander, spoke about McCready's tragic passing on the Today show Monday, Feb. 18.
Speaking via satellite from Tampa, Florida, McKnight expressed his grief with talking to Today's Carl Quintanilla. "As sad as it is, it didn't come as a major shock," McKnight said. "She's just been battling demons for so long. I was around her when she attempted suicide twice, so I knew it was in her."
"I feel for her mother and her family, especially my son," McKnight continued. "I can't say that it shocked me, no."
On Feb. 6, three weeks after McCready's boyfriend, David Wilson, died at age 34, Zander and his 9-month-old brother, Zayne, were placed in foster care. With the Wilson's death still under investigation as either a murder or suicide, the courts ordered McCready to be institutionalized.
"He shouldn't have been taken from me to begin with," McKnight said of Zander. "He was taken out of Florida. He has a happy home here I can provide for him and it's just been a really big mess. Enough is enough. He's up there all alone. He has no family in Arkansas. He has plenty of family who love him here -- cousins, aunts, uncles. He needs to come home."
McKnight added, "I don't know what's going to happen to Zayne, but if he does go to Fort Meyers where her family is from, it's only an hour and a half difference. I'd 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. My heart's broken for him right now. I'm very worried."
Prior to committing suicide in her Arkansas home, McCready spent two days in the hospital before being moved to an outpatient program. "Do you think she would still be alive if she had been kept in the hospital for treatment?" Quintanilla asked McKnight.
"I would like to think that," he replied. "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 fiance could have calmed her down."
In McKnight's opinion, McCready's road to recovery would have been a long one. "The demons that she hasn't beaten were there, and until she was going to face them, something was going to happen. Everyone who knows her personally knew that, because you talk about it. She would have had to probably stay in somewhere for quite a long time until she really healed and started looking into herself getting better."
Arkansas police responded to a report of gunshots coming from McCready's house at 3:31 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 17. They discovered the "Ten Thousand Angels" singer's body on the front porch of her Heber Springs home.