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A lover's gun death, booze and pills – the real-life heartbreak of suicide country star

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LAS VEGAS - JUNE 08: Singer Mindy McCready of the Queens of Heart poker team participates in the Ladies No-Limit Hold 'em poker tournament at the World Series of Poker at the Rio Hotel & Casino June 8, 2008 in Las Vegas, Nevada. A portion of the proceeds from the team will benefit the Nevada Cancer Institute. (Photo by Angela Weiss/Getty Images)

LAS VEGAS - JUNE 08: Singer Mindy McCready of the Queens of Heart poker team participates in the Ladies No-Limit Hold 'em poker tournament at the World Series of Poker at the Rio Hotel & Casino June 8, 2008 in Las Vegas, Nevada. A portion of the proceeds from the team will benefit the Nevada Cancer Institute. (Photo by Angela Weiss/Getty Images)

LAS VEGAS - JUNE 08: Singer Mindy McCready of the Queens of Heart poker team participates in the Ladies No-Limit Hold 'em poker tournament at the World Series of Poker at the Rio Hotel & Casino June 8, 2008 in Las Vegas, Nevada. A portion of the proceeds from the team will benefit the Nevada Cancer Institute. (Photo by Angela Weiss/Getty Images)

Mindy McCready threatened to kill herself after losing custody of her sons earlier this month, yet she was allowed to leave a court-ordered drug rehabilitation programme days before she apparently killed herself, her ex-boyfriend said.

Billy McKnight, who was in a long, rocky relationship with McCready and who is the father of her oldest child, Zander, said the 37-year-old mother-of-two stayed in the in-patient substance abuse treatment centre for about 18 hours before being allowed to walk free.

Authorities say McCready died in an apparent suicide on Sunday at her home in Heber Springs, a vacation community north of Little Rock. Sheriff Marty Moss said McCready was found dead on the front porch where her boyfriend, musician David Wilson, died last month of a gunshot wound to the head.

Investigators are investigating his death as a suicide, but haven't yet determined his cause of death.

McKnight said McCready and Wilson had got engaged. He wondered how she was allowed to go free, given all her turmoil.

"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." McKnight, a convicted felon, threatened to kill McCready during an incident in 2005, but only ended up serving a 30-day sentence after pleading guilty to assault.

Neighbours reported hearing two shots on Sunday afternoon when they called police. Authorities found Wilson's dog dead next to McCready's body.

"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," a police spokesman said.

Police said McCready's two sons remained in foster care where they were at the time of her death.

McKnight says he's working with authorities to get custody of his son, Zander.

hnews@herald.ie


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