"A perfect storm" hit Mindy McCready in the days before the country singer killed herself in the same spot where her boyfriend had died five weeks earlier, a close friend said.
McCready, who burst onto the music scene in 1996 with the chart-topping country hit "Guys Do It All the Time," suffered from addiction that stalled her career. Her biggest notoriety in recent years came from her participation in the 2009 season of the reality TV show "Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew." Dr. Drew Pinsky also hosts a program on CNN sister network HLN, "Dr. Drew on Call."
Private investigator Danno Hanks, who knew McCready for several years and frequently advised her, said she called him Saturday, a day before she died from what investigators concluded was a self-inflicted gunshot.
"Saturday was a very bad day for her," Hanks said.
McCready, 37, told him about an e-mail she received on Friday from the Arkansas' Division of Children and Family Services that included a proposed court order that would send her two children to live with her mother in Florida.
"The proposed court order was the nail in her coffin, the thing that sent her over the edge," Hanks said.
The Arkansas agency declined to comment on the case, citing confidentiality laws.
"When we take children into our care, reunification with the biological parents is always our goal," spokeswoman Amy Webb told CNN. "Sometimes it's not safe and we cannot."
McCready's world unraveled in the 35 days after David Wilson, the father of her younger son, was found fatally wounded on the porch of the Heber Springs, Arkansas, home where the couple lived, Hanks said.
"After (his) suicide, she essentially fell apart," Hanks said.
McCready couldn't go to the hospital to spend Wilson's dying hours with him because investigators held her to test her hands for gunshot residue, he said. The test eliminated her as a suspect in the shooting, he said, but the Cleburne County Sheriff's Office withheld a conclusion that Wilson had committed suicide until the autopsy report was completed.
Tabloids reported that McCready was a suspect in his death.
"There was no murder investigation," Hanks said. "All the police ever said was, 'We have not finished our investigation.'"
Cleburne County Sheriff Marty Moss did not return CNN's calls for comment Tuesday.
McCready told an NBC interviewer two weeks after Wilson's death that the speculation was painful.
"I was hurting so bad, and then they just did whatever they could to make it hurt even more," she said.
It wasn't long before a children's services worker knocked on her door in response to a request from the father of her oldest son, country singer Billy McKnight, Hanks said.
"The father felt that she was a danger to her kids and a danger to herself and she had gone into this deep depression and needed to go and get some mental evaluation," he explained said.
The agent placed both children into foster care after McCready tested positive for alcohol, which McCready blamed on mouthwash, Hanks said.
McCready, who was also taken into custody for a mental exam, told Hanks she was given a urine and blood test, which showed no drugs or alcohol in her system, he recounted.
A doctor released her after several days, he said.
"What he was doing was sending home someone who is now made even more distraught by having her children taken away and sending her home to a house that just had lots of guns because David was a gun nut," he said.
Her hopes of getting her children back were dashed by that proposed court order from the state agency on Friday, he said. The order would send the boys to their maternal grandmother, with whom McCready had fought for custody of her older son for five years, he said.
"In Mindy's mind, a proposed order might as well be written in stone because every proposed order that had been presented in the past down in Florida courts, the judge would just rubber-stamp it," he said.
The combined toll of 35 days of bad news, starting with Wilson's death, took a heavy toll on her, Hanks said