Syesha Mercado’s 15 month old son, Amen’Ra is still in the custody of Manatee County Child Protective Services in Florida after the American Idol season 7 alum and her partner, Tyron Deener, brought him to a All Children’s Hospital emergency room on March 11.
The couple are currently fundraising to pay for a “team” they are putting together to advocate for the return of their son. So far, a GoFundMe campaign has raised over $73,500 out of a $100,000 goal. The family has a hearing in November, which is months away.
Calling Amen’Ra’s removal from their custody “legal kidnapping,” the couple charges that CPS doesn’t keep them properly updated on their son’s welfare. She claims that “We called the hospital everyday and there were days they could not locate our sun.”
Syesha accuses CPS of lying, not keeping the family updated on Amen’Ra’s welfare
Syesha writes on Instagram that on “March 11th we were forcefully removed from our SUNshine and banned from the hospital Permanently by CPI Officer Danielle McCoy of Manatee County along with other armed police officers.
“We were forced to leave our baby behind with strangers at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, FL. Manatee County Sheriff’s department claimed, on Fox 13 News Amen’Ra was first placed in a Medical Foster home, however he NEVER was. He was placed in a regular foster. We have PROOF where he went when he was discharged, which by the way they didn’t even notify us when he was discharged.”
Syesha also claims that CPS bypassed a qualified relative placement “ripping our sun of his culture and the stable and loving environment and world he knew and loved.”
Syesha goes on to say that “CPI Officer Danielle McCoy told us the reason for the removal was because we refused a B12 shot, which we didn’t. A false petition and medical report by MD Sally Smith has torn our family apart and created unnecessary trauma.”
The singer describes taking her son to the hospital: “I went to the hospital for assistance during my sun’s weaning process of extended breastfeeding to more solids and the bottle,” she explained on Instagram. “They turned an innocent transition that all breastfeeding mamas go through into a dependency case they documented as medical neglect claiming I abused and neglected the most precious creation of my life.”
She claims that she weaned Amen’Ra from breastfeeding during his hospital stay without assistance from staff. “But instead of releasing us,” Syesha said. “They kept my sun in the hospital to observe him & interrogate, insult, and judge me.” By March 11 Syesha and her husband were barred from the hospital
Syesha and her husband have visitation rights
On June 12, Syesha reports in a GoFundMe update that she did visit Amen’Ra
We got to see Ra Ra today. We had so much fun. I didn’t want it to end. It’s never enough time with these visits.
Every visit feels like it’s too short and it always leaves me heartbroken. As much as I enjoy spending every second I can with our sun…… it just makes me so heartbroken, saddened, and emotionally drained dealing with the reality of the situation and having to say goodbye.
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The child abuse pediatrician responsible for Syesha losing custody of her son has a reputation of taking children from parents under sketchy circumstances
Syesha also advises folks to “look up Sally Smith, MD and Danielle McCoy CPI Officer of Manatee County, two key entities responsible in this corruption and traumatizing separation.”
Actually, a couple of readers sent me a link to an investigative piece from USA today. The paper released a multi-part investigation into Florida’s Child Protective System. Dr. Smith, a powerful child abuse pediatrician, has a reputation of taking babies away from their mothers’ under suspicious pretext. From a 2018 piece in USA Today, headlined BAD MEDICINE:
But the 61-year-old pediatrician is one of the most powerful figures in the child welfare system along Florida’s Gulf Coast.
As the head of the Pinellas County child protection team, Smith examines virtually every child funneled to All Children’s Hospital with suspicious injuries.
Among prosecutors, her word is like gold.
Yet for years, defense attorneys, parents and even child welfare employees have complained about Smith’s aggressive interrogation of parents, wondered why she often saw injuries invisible to other doctors and questioned the specificity of her claims.
“It has been flabbergasting to me that she has been given the credence she’s been given by the state attorney’s and the sheriff’s office,” said longtime defense attorney Jennifer Fury.
There are several heartbreaking stories of families ripped apart by Dr. Smith based on seemingly the flimsiest of reasons. CPS ultimately returns children to their parents, but it takes months as cases slowly grind through the courts.
On one hand, is it possible a new-agey type mom who distrusts conventional medicine be well-meaning yet harming their child? Or could some narrow-minded (and possibly racist) Doctor with a ton of power be making rash and ill-informed judgements on cases they don’t properly understand? Or care to understand.
Making the situation even more complicated, Syesha is pregnant with her second child. She must be terrified the system will take them away as well.
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