Country star Mindy McCready's estranged mother has issued a plea to Arkansas authorities to reunite her with her grandson in time for Christmas (25Dec11), three weeks after he was taken into foster care.
The singer lost custody of her son Zander in 2007 following drug abuse and battery charges and her mum, Gayle Inge, was appointed his legal guardian.
MCCready has been fighting to regain legal care of the five year old ever since, and she hit headlines earlier this month (Dec11) after failing to return the boy to his father Bill MCKnight's Florida home following a visit.
A missing person's report was filed with police and cops launched a manhunt for the boy and his mother, tracking them down to Arkansas, where Zander was placed in foster care.
MCCready, who is pregnant with twins, has subsequently stepped up her battle for custody and a court hearing in the case is pending.
But Inge and MCCready's stepfather, Michael, have appealed to child protection agency officials in Arkansas to send young Zander back to their family home in Florida so he can spend the holidays with his loved ones.
In a statement obtained by Eonline.com on Thursday (22Dec11), the Inges say, "Currently, our grandson is in foster care with strangers with the State of Arkansas.
"We would like to express our gratitude to the Florida Department of Children and Families for its effort in this case and also to the Arkansas foster family for their help in taking care of our grandson. We would like to plea for his return to Florida before Christmas...
"Our grandson is in the custody of strangers for the Holidays. This is the first time in his life he has been with strangers. It is hard for us as a family to see how in any way this is the best interest of our grandson. He is only a 5-year-old boy. He has been stolen by his mother, recovered from authorities hiding in a closet, then put in the care of strangers. How could this possibly be in the best interest of our grandson?
"In custody and dependency matters justice delayed is often a failure of justice. Please join us in our prayers that the Arkansas court can reach its decision on the... issue sooner rather than later so our grandson can return home to us, his family and friends in Lee County for the holidays."