Syesha Mercado is now in a battle to keep custody of both of her young children.
The former American Idol finalist, who’s been trying to regain custody of her 18-month-old son after he was placed in foster care earlier this year, had her newborn daughter taken away from her during a roadside encounter with sheriff department officers in Florida on Wednesday.
Mercado’s 10-day old daughter remains in state protection following an August 12 court hearing, according to the Miami Herald-Tribune.
The singer and her partner, Tyron Deneer, recorded much of Wednesday’s incident, where they were presented with a court order to hand over their child for a checkup at a hospital, and posted it on Instagram, writing: ‘THEY TOOK OUR BABY AGAIN!’
Family’s legal battle: Syesha Mercado, 34, had her newborn daughter taken away by sheriff deputies in Florida on Wednesday during a traffic stop, five months after her 18-month old son, Amen’Ra (pictured), was placed in foster care
Mercado and Deener were driving in Sarasota, Florida with their newborn daughter when authorities pulled them over and insisted that they surrender the then 10-day-old child.
In the Instagram video, Deener can be seen sitting in the driver’s seat, while Mercado was in the backseat with their baby.
After being informed of the court order to hand over their child for the welfare checkup, the pair both pled their case to be the ones to take the daughter to the doctor.
At one point, Mercado begged deputies not to take her newborn, explaining that she is being breastfed. After pumping breast milk into a bottle in the backseat of a vehicle into a bottle, the 34-year-old could be seen in the clip slowly walking her daughter over to deputies, begging for them not to take her.
Heartbreaking: The American Idol alum sobbed and pleaded with authorities during the roadside stop to take custody of her daughter in Sarasota, Florida
Mother’s plea: This is my baby, my baby is just days old and you’re taking my baby away from me,’ the singer pleaded to sheriff department officers
Family matters: The 34-year-old mother sobbed as she pleaded her case during the stop
‘How could you do this this? Do you not feel anything?’ Mercado asked authorities with obvious raw emotion to her voice before she started to cry.
‘You guys, I’m human. This is my baby, my baby is just days old and you’re taking my baby away from me. You’re taking my baby away from me. You have no hearts. This is so wrong,’ she said while sobbing as she held her daughter in her arms in a pink and white blanket.
‘You don’t care… my baby is healthy and happy.’
During the video, sheriff’s deputies explained that the newborn was being taken because the couple did not inform authorities that Mercado had given birth while she was still in the midst of her legal battle over custody of her son.
In response, Deener argued that they had requested all questions about them go through their attorney, which he maintained did not happen. The couple also shared that the baby had just gone for a health checkup the previous day and they had all the paperwork to prove it.
Child custody: Mercado’s partner, Tyron Deneer, also pleaded to authorities to not take their child as he filmed much of the incident with a camera phone
Mother’s anguish: Eventually, Mercado handed over her baby girl, who was wrapped in a blanket, to authorities
Roadside: Sheriff department officers had a court order to take the newborn into custody because the couple had a pending case involving their 18-month-old son
The video, which lasts for just over one hour, has prompted outrage from Mercado’s supporters, who feel racism played a role in her case, along with other injustices. Mercado and her partner Tyron Deener are both Black.
The couple’s legal battles over their children began in late February when they took their then one-year-old son, Amen’Ra, to Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida, to get him ‘extra fluids’ because he was struggling with the transition from breast milk to solid foods.
But by the end of the hospital stay, the little boy was taken from the couple and put into the care of the Manatee Child Protective Services. Mercado has since said armed officers ‘forcefully removed me from my son’ after she was accused of abuse and neglect.
‘They ripped me away from my proudest creation in life, pure joy, my SUNhine,’ the singer wrote in an Instagram post.
Their plea: During the exchange the couple said their daughter had just gone for a health checkup the previous day and they had all the paperwork to prove it
Sad situation: The couple eventually walked back to their parked vehicle without incident
Dispute: In a statement to NBC News on Friday, the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office revealed it had received information from a hospital’s child abuse line that their boy was ‘severely malnourished,’ which Mercado disputes
In a statement to NBC News on Friday, the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office revealed it had received information from the hospital’s child abuse line that a boy was ‘severely malnourished,’ which Mercado disputes.
‘Amen’Ra was forcefully and legally kidnapped from us by CPS, who claim we refused a B12 shot that was a matter of life and death, which is an absolute lie. We never refused a B12 shot, and at no point was he on the verge of death,’ Mercado wrote on a GoFundMe page that she created to help pay for legal fees.
At last check on Saturday evening, August 14, the ‘Bring Rae Home’ GoFundMe account had received $327,874 in donations.
Mercado insists her children are prime examples of racial discrimination in Manatee County, and that her son has since been placed with a white foster family without interviewing qualified relatives or friends for placement while authorities investigate.
Mercado appeared on season 7 of American Idol in 2008, and ended up coming in third behind runner-up David Archuleta and winner David Cook
Foster care: The singer’s young son was placed into foster care in March after receiving information from a hospital’s child abuse line that a boy was ‘severely malnourished’
Asking for help: The singer started a GoFundMe account to help pay for legal costs to regain custody of their son; at last check on August 14 it has received $327,874 in donations