A former contestant on American Idol, Syesha Mercado, is fighting back after her newborn daughter was forcibly removed from her custody during an interaction that Mercado filmed and posted on Instagram. This is the second time that a child has been removed from Mercado’s custody, with the first being her 18-month-old son in March of this year. The case has drawn a high level of scrutiny as Mercado and her partner claim racial discrimination as the reason behind their children’s removal from the home, but local authorities insist that they’re working in the best interest of the children’s welfare.
Former ‘American Idol’ Contestant Has Second Child Removed By CPS
Syesha Mercado, who was the second runner-up on the seventh season of American Idol, is lamenting the loss of her children after her newborn daughter was taken from her custody in a tense, hour-long filmed standoff with two sheriffs officers. Mercado’s son had been removed from her home several months earlier, in March, after she brought the 18-month-old boy, named Amen’Ra, to Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital for “extra fluids,” explaining that he was dehydrated as she attempted to wean him off breast milk to solid foods.
An investigation into the hospital visit came after an anonymous tip through an abuse hotline said that the toddler was “suffering from severe malnutrition/failure to thrive.” As a result, the boy was taken by child protective services. Mercado has argued against the claims used to explain the boy’s removal, including an apparent claim that she and her partner refused a B12 shot. She also said that her son was placed “in a white foster home bypassing our qualified relatives for placement.” In an Instagram video revealing the removal, Mercado wrote, “I can’t even explain how traumatizing it has been to be forcefully removed from my proudest creation in this life, My sun, my pride, and joy…..Amen’Ra.”
Heartbreaking Video Shows Removal
In the meantime, Mercado gave birth to a second child, a daughter, who was featured in the heart-wrenching, hour-long video Mercado posted to her Instagram account. “THEY TOOK OUR BABY AGAIN!” Mercado captioned the video, which featured her pleading with the officers that her daughter was still breastfeeding as the officers insisted she hand over the child on the side of the road. “My baby is days old and you’re taking my baby away from me,” Mercado said in the video, “You’re taking my baby away from me. You have no heart. This is so wrong.”
In a statement to E! News, Captain Dennis E. Romano Jr., the commander of the Child Protection Investigation Division at the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, said, “We understand that from the outside looking in… [the division’s] actions seem uncaring, but let me assure you we have the best interest of children and families in mind at all times.” He added, “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.” Though an explanation has been given for the removal of Mercado’s older child, there hasn’t been any publicly released information to explain why Mercado’s newborn was removed from her care.
Mercado has already been fighting to be reunited with her son, writing of him on the GoFundMe page dedicated to him, “He is 18 months old and absolutely loves being in nature, his mommy reading to him, playing his djembe drums, and listening to his favorite album on the record player, Bob Marley.” The campaign has already raised over $250,000 and Mercado and her partner, Tyrone, explained that they needed the funds to raise awareness of the “Legal Kidnapping of Black Babies through CPS.”
Since posting the video of officers taking her daughter, Mercado has not updated her Instagram page. She did post a message to supporters via her Instagram stories today that read, “Please DO NOT Respond in violence! We appreciate everyone’s unconditional support.” The case is obviously still ongoing and Gossip Cop will continue to monitor it for any changes or updates.