Civil rights attorney Ben Crump is now working with Mercado and her husband to help have their infants returned to their custody.
Syesha Mercado is revealing more about her heartbreaking journey to try and regain custody of her two children. The season seven American Idol finalist made national news recently after video footage of her newborn baby being taken away from her on a Florida highway began surfacing online.
Mercado, along with her child’s father, Tyron Deener, held a news conference Tuesday to explain the angst she’s been feeling since their weeks-old daughter, Ast, was removed from her car on Aug. 11. Their 18-month-old son, Amen’Ra, was put into the foster care system earlier this year.
Mercado and Deener say they are baffled by the whole ordeal. Both maintain they live a crime-free life and do not understand why they’ve been treated this way by the police and child protective services.
Mercado was forced to hand over her newborn to Manatee County Sheriff’s deputies last week in Florida as she sobbed uncontrollably. A representative from the department claims they do so at the behest of a family court judge.
In March, young Amen’Ra was taken from the couple’s custody following a voluntary hospital visit in which a doctor alleged the toddler was malnourished. Mercado says she was having trouble getting the boy to eat after stopping breastfeeding and believes she’s being punished for allegedly refusing a B12 shot from the doctor for her son.
During the Tuesday press conference, Mercado weeps over the ordeal.
“I went somewhere to get assistance, my baby was supposed to come home with me,” she said. “We should have never been criminalized for getting assistance for something.”
“Our life revolves around health, balance and doing what we can to guide our children,” Deener adds. “Nothing that we do is detrimental to our babies.”
He also sends a warning to others who may feel they will never be in such an unfortunate situation, noting, “If you are a parent, if you are a grandparent, aunt, uncle, cousin, just know that we have agencies in place that have the ability to remove children without you breaking the law or abusing your niece, nephew, son. If this can happen to us, it can happen to you.”
“We have no criminal background,” said Deener. “We have no history with DCF. We have done nothing wrong.”
The couple said they were told Ast was being taken because they failed to tell authorities she’d given birth during their ongoing legal battle for Amen’Ra.
They are now being helped by civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who is slamming the deputies in this case, alleging they are making a mockery out of the family and “publicly dehumanizing them.” He promises to do what he can to have their children returned to their care.
Mercado now has a GoFundMe account to assist with legal costs. They’ve already raised well over their $200,000 goal.
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