Former American idol Star Syesha Mercado claimed in a video that her 10-day old baby was seized by the Manatee County Sheriff's Office, under unspecified conditions. Five months ago, her 15-month old son was also 'legally kidnapped' by authorities, claimed Mercado.
Mercado, 34, who was placed third in the seventh season of American Idol, shared a video of her child being taken away by authorities on Instagram Live on August 12. The video is going viral with many people offering their support.
The incident occurred near Whitfield Drive and Lockwood Ridge Road in Florida when Mercado, accompanied by her partner Tyron Deener and the newborn, was driving in to conduct a roadside welfare check. The video shows a number of police vehicles flashing their lights. Two cops are seen showing Mercado and Deener the court order and taking their baby away. The infant was reportedly taken to a hospital for a physical check-up.
A teary-eyed Mercado can be seen telling the cops that the baby is not even a month old. "You are traumatizing my baby. How could you guys do this? Do you not feel anything? You're taking my baby away from me. You have no heart. This is so wrong. I have the key to this city. I'll hold it together. I'm strong," Mercado is seen crying out.
She then breastfed the baby and provided the authorities with a bottle of breast milk. The infant is said to be in the protective custody. Activist Donisha Prendergast, founder of the We Have the Right to be Right social justice organization, is advocating for the couple.
Fighting for Son's Custody
Five months ago, Mercado's 15-month old son was taken away by the Child Protective Services [CPS] citing malnutrition issues. Reports claimed that Mercado's breast milk supply had started to run dry and the baby refused to take any other form of fluids. The couple is said to have taken Amen'Ra to Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg on February 26. But after two weeks, CPS got involved and through St Petersburg cops, barred Mercado and Deener from entering the hospital. The baby was discharged from hospital in March and was taken to a foster care.
Mercado and Deener have been fighting for the custody of their son. They launched a GoFundMe page titled "The Legalized Kidnapping of Black Babies Through CPS," to cover the legal bills. The goal was to reach $200,000 but currently the page has received $290,000 from 7.7 million donors.
In the GoFundMe page Mercado wrote: "I am a pregnant, breastfeeding, mama who went to the hospital with the intention to get my [son], Amen'Ra, some fluids while transitioning from extended breastfeeding to being bottle-fed. On March 11 ... Amen'Ra was forcefully and legally kidnapped from us by CPS, who claim we refused a B-12 shot that was a matter of life and death, which is an absolute lie."
Currently, Amen'Ra is said to have been placed with a white foster family. Mercado and Deener are allowed to only have weekly zoom visitation for an hour with Amen'Ra. The couple has vowed to fight the system and get their babies back.