She wants her children back. Syesha Mercado made headlines several years post-American Idol after losing custody of her two children.
The singer, who appeared on American Idol season 7, and her partner, Tyron Deener, lost custody of their then-15-month-old son, Amen’Ra, after a trip to the hospital in 2021. Mercado explained in a YouTube video that her breastmilk had dried up while she was pregnant with her second child and weaning her firstborn was difficult.
In February 2021, the couple took Amen’Ra to Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida, since they were struggling to feed their child. The baby was hospitalized for two weeks until March 11, at which point authorities took him. They placed him in foster care, but Mercado has claimed via her GoFundMe and YouTube statement that she wasn’t even informed that her son would be discharged or placed with another caretaker. Mercado alleged that child protective services never searched for family members who could take Amen’Ra instead of a foster family.
The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office told Fox 13 Tampa Bay in May that doctors called the police about concerns over the boy’s health, stating that he was malnourished and underweight.
“We were also told by these medical professionals that unless he got the treatment he needed — ongoing, consistent treatment — that he would die,” a spokesperson for the sheriff’s office said. “It was our understanding that there had been … a lack of medical care. We want him to go back home, it just has to happen at the appropriate time.”
The authorities also claimed that Amen’Ra needed a B12 shot, and his parents refused — a claim the couple denied. “Amen’Ra was forcefully and legally kidnapped from us by CPS, who claim we refused a B12 shot that was a matter of life and death, which is an absolute lie. We never refused a B12 shot, and at no point was he on the verge of death,” Mercado wrote via a GoFundMe account she created to cover legal fees.
In August, 10 days after Mercado welcomed her second child, a daughter, the family was pulled over on the road for a surprise welfare check. They recorded the incident in an hour-long video shared via Instagram.
Authorities claimed that they had to take her newborn because she hadn’t reported that she’d given birth while in a custody battle for another child. Though the baby had been to the doctor, who said she was perfectly healthy a day prior, the child was removed from her parents.
“My baby is healthy and happy,” Mercado told the officers. “All you had to do was call the attorney. We have all the paperwork.”
With nearly three million views on the Instagram video, the custody case is getting more attention than ever.
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