Singer and actress Syesha Mercado, who was a 2008 American Idol finalist, has finally been reunited with her son after he was taken from her in March of 2020 by the Florida Department of Children and Familie due to accusations of malnourishment.
On Oct. 2, Mercado wrote on Instagram, “AMEN’RA IS OFFICIALLY HOME!!!”
In the video, her partner Tyron Deener explained they must go through “six months of supervision” from child services officials “to show that we’re competent and able to raise our own baby.”
In another video posted to her Instagram on Oct. 5, Deener said, “We have to weigh our son. He’s not allowed to lose weight. He has to do therapies where they monitor his play … and he still has appointments.”
According to the Miami Herald, back on Feb. 26, Mercado and her partner Tyron Deener took Amen’Ra to Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida because he wasn’t accepting fluids. Mercado and Deener were then accused of malnourishing the child. He was put into foster care by late March.
The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office claims the hospital staff said Mercado and Deener refused a B-12 intramuscular shot for the child, which they both deny.
Mercado recently gave birth to a newborn. On August 11, Mercado and Deener were stopped by police, according to the Miami Herald and video posted on her Instagram, and the newborn was taken from them. There was reportedly a court order to turn over the baby, who was 10 days old at the time, for a checkup at the hospital.
The newborn was eventually returned but their son was not.
In August, Donisha Prendergast, a founder of the social justice organization We Have The Right To Be Right, told the Miami Herald that due to the open case with their son, authorities “have a right to her unborn child. If they see fit, they can remove the baby.”
She also insisted the couple is being targeted because “This family has chosen to stand up for their rights. They are being targeted as an example.”
The Miami Herald reported the case involves physician Sally Smith, the head of the children protection team for Pinellas County, who “is considered one of the most powerful figures in the regional child welfare system and has long been criticized by defense attorneys, parents and child welfare employees for her aggressive approach.”
Attorney Benjamin Crump, who represented the family, said in an August statement, “On March 11, 2021, Manatee County Sheriff’s Office (Child Protection Specialist Section, ‘MCSO’) unjustly and forcibly removed Syesha Mercado’s (American Idol finalist) and Tyron Deener’s son, Amen’Ra Sba, from their care after they sought medical assistance for him. On August 1, 2021, Syesha gave birth to a happy, healthy baby girl. Ten days later, on August 11, 2021, a squad of unmasked officers and cars confronted and separated Syesha, Tyron and newborn in a questionable and excessive public display of police power on the side of the road while they were enroute to the CPS office.”
The statement continued, “The dehumanizing and insensitive child apprehension was captured in a 1-hour+ live stream video feed to Syesha’s social media that has sparked international outrage and galvanized support to reunite this family, accumulating nearly 3 million Instagram views. Two disproportionately forceful child removals from a loving home have caused unimaginable trauma to Syesha and family. Syesha and Tyron are prepared to fight the discrimination and oppression inflicted on them by the legal system alongside their lawyers, Derrick McBurrows, Esq. and Louis Baptiste, Esq.”
Thankfully, both of their children are now home.