‘American Idol’ Star Syesha Mercado Tearfully Pleads For The Return Of Her Two Children After ‘Legal Kidnapping’

Photo: Syesha Mercado / Instagram / GoFundMe / YouTube
Syesha Mercado Son Daughter

“American Idol” alum Syesha Mercado and her partner Tyron Deneer are speaking out after losing custody of their two children over the course of the last year. 

Mercado gave a heartbreaking account of the situation in a virtual press conference. 

"I am a first-time mom and I've been deprived of holding my babies, and feeding my babies,” she said through tears.

According to the family’s GoFundMe page, Mercado’s son Amen’Ra was taken from the couple in March when he was just 15 months old. Then, the couple’s newborn daughter was taken from their custody shortly after her Aug. 1 birth.

“I didn't get to see Ra say mama for the first time. I didn't get to see my babies meet for the first time. I didn't get to see that and I can't go back and redo that moment,” she added. 

Why were Syesha Mercado’s children taken by authorities?

Mercado says her son, Amen’Ra, was taken after Child Protective Services accused the couple of refusing to give him a B12 shot, which she denies. 

Her daughter was later taken during a roadside welfare check which the couple recorded and shared to social media. 

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Syesha Mercado says her son, Amen’Ra, was ‘legally kidnapped.’

Mercado originally claimed Amen’Ra was “legally kidnapped” and says that he was taken after she had brought him to a doctor to get necessary nutrients for his well-being.

“I had recently discovered I was pregnant. My milk supply got low, and I went to Johns Hopkins All Children’s hospital to get some help,” she says. 

She adds that CPS “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.”

Reports say that the physician at All Children’s Hospital, Sally Smith, who oversees most cases like Mercado’s has been criticized for overdiagnosing child abuse and neglect.

A review of hundreds of Smith’s cases found that in more than a dozen instances charges were dropped, parents were acquitted or caregivers had credible claims of innocence but still suffered irredeemable damage to their lives and reputations.

Baby Amen’Ra was placed in foster care.

Mercado is still fighting for the safe return of her son who she says is currently with a caretaker after authorities failed to contact their relatives. 

She wrote that Amen’Ra was “placed with a foster family without interviewing qualified relatives or friends of our family for placement.” 

Both of Mercado’s children are currently staying with an estranged relative and are allowed to see their parents once a week, according to Mercado’s attorney.

The potential emotional damage Mercado’s children may be experiencing has raised concerns for the Broadway star. 

Syesha Mercado’s second child was also taken. 

On Aug. 11, Mercado shared a video of her 10-day-old daughter being taken during a police traffic stop. 

"We're currently detained by the Manatee County Sheriff's Department," Deener says, claiming that an "unmarked" law enforcement vehicle had followed the family, "We're surrounded... They're warning us to turn over our newborn."

In the video, police serve a couple with a court order to turn over their daughter for a hospital visit. Mercado can be heard pleading with police and insisting she has paperwork that proves their daughter had been seen by a doctor. 

Police can be heard telling Mercado that her daughter is being taken as she failed to inform authorities that she had given birth amid her legal battle for custody of her son.

Syesha Mercado called out racism in Florida’s CPS.

Mercado and advocates who support her say that the foster system is another example of the systemic oppression Black people face.

“Mothers and fathers are too afraid to take on the gigantic task of standing up to a way of thinking and laws that are steeped in colonial times,” Mercado says. 

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The system gives judges, doctors and police the power to forcibly take children from their parents.

Studies show Black children account for 32% of children in foster care despite making up just 13% of the population. Black children also have the lowest rate of reunification with their biological parents in comparison to other races. 

You can help out by donating to Syesha Mercado’s GoFundMe page.

Mercado has established a GoFundMe to raise money to cover legal fees as she fights to be reunited with her children. 

The family have already surpassed their $200,000 goal, raising over $400,000 so far from generous donors who have been moved by their story. 

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Authorities working on Syesha Mercado’s case have defended their actions.

Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital declined to expose specific details of the case but claim that they followed standard procedure in reporting baby Amen’Ra’s situation. 

“We are legally obligated to notify the Department of Children and Families (DCF) when we detect signs of possible abuse or neglect. It is DCF that investigates the situation and makes the ultimate decision about what course of action is in the best interests of the child."

The Manatee County Sheriff's Office took a similar stance when discussing the incident with Mercado’s daughter. 

"We are governed by numerous policies and laws to ensure we do not lose focus when dealing with vulnerable families,” they say.  

“The last thing anyone in this business wants to do is shelter children from their parents, but sometimes it is the only direction we are forced to take.”

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Alice Kelly is a senior news and entertainment editor for YourTango. Based out of Brooklyn, New York, her work covers all things social justice, pop culture, and human interest. Keep up with her Twitter for more.