‘American Idol’ alum reunited along with her daughter, nonetheless combating for custody of her son
Syesha Mercado, a former American Idol finalist, was reunited with her newborn daughter but continues to fight for custody of her young son.
“I just know that Ast is home. Branch is at home! We have Ast with us, ”said Mercados partner Tyron Deener in an Instagram video on Friday.
The couple’s daughter, Ast, was kidnapped by child protection services in Florida just days after Mercado was born last week. Her son Amen’Ra was abducted earlier this year at the age of 13 months.
“We still have a lot to do to get Ra back,” Deener said on the video, thanking the public and their lawyers.
“You only know through the people, through all of you we were able to counteract this unjust system and this corruption in order to get our baby back.”
The couple could not be reached immediately on Saturday for comment.
A Mercado and Deener attorney said at a press conference Tuesday that CPS was involved on allegations of medical neglect. The family’s ordeal began after Mercado took her son to Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg on February 26 for dehydration due to struggling with the transition from breast milk to solid foods, according to We Have the Right to Be Right, and family activist group.
Instead of releasing Amen’Ra to his mother, he was placed in the care of the CPS.
Attorney Derrick McBurrows said CPS alleged that Mercado did not take their son to see a doctor before taking him to Johns Hopkins. Describing the agency’s claims as a “complete lie”, he said his client took her son to Englewood Community Hospital on January 30th.
“The mother had breastfeeding problems,” McBurrows said at the press conference. “This is a first mother who sought help but has been criminalized.”
Deener told reporters that he believed his family had been convicted and criminalized “because of our self-expression, our culture and our looks.”
Amid the family’s struggle for custody of Amen’Ra, Mercado gave birth to Ast. Last week, she posted a video of the Manatee County Sheriff’s Deputies pulling their car up on the side of the road during a surprise social check-up and taking their daughter away.
The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office previously said his deputies removed Ast because a family judge signed a pickup warrant after repeated failed attempts to reach Mercado and Deener. Authorities were initially involved in the case after receiving information about a child at Johns Hopkins who “suffered from severe malnutrition / failure to thrive,” the department said.