What you must know concerning the American Idol star’s custody battle

Beloved American Idol runner-up Syesha Mercado seeks fans for help in a lawsuit over custody of their children, and there is much catching up to do when you first hear her story. Mercado was the third runner-up in American Idol’s season 7, and she is now 34 years old. In posts on social media, she says that her 15-month-old son Amen’Ra was “lawfully kidnapped”.

Mercado began posting on Instagram back in May about her custody battle and has since continued with public requests and petitions as she follows the legal process provided. Amen’Ra was arrested by child protection services on March 11 in a series of bizarre law enforcement acts that Mercado calls a “legalized kidnapping”. Police and CPS agents lied to Mercado on the way, she says. Now she’s not sure who to trust and how to get custody of her son back.

Mercado shared her story in excruciating detail on social media in hopes of showing fans how nonsensical she was. She also believes the whole thing was motivated by racism – both systemically and personally.

Mercado is still taking money on their GoFundMe page to help cover any legal fees required to get their child back. She also simply draws attention to this flaw in the system that she believes many other families are suffering from. Here’s what you need to know about Mercado’s history.

Syesha market

Many American Idol fans will likely remember Mercado from its season 7 standout in 2008, finishing third behind runner-up David Archuleta and winner David Cook. Mercado is perhaps best remembered for performances like “Yesterday” by The Beatles or “Saving All My Love For You” by Whitney Houston. She later starred in a touring production of Dreamgirls and then continued working in theater, film, and other forms of entertainment, including Broadway.

In her GoFundMe post, Mercado describes herself as a creative entrepreneur, but notes: “My proudest achievement in life is being mom to my beautiful little boy Amen’Ra.” Meanwhile, she describes her partner Tyron Deener as an “educator and youth service worker who works in the Foster system”.


Amen’Ra custody issues

According to Mercado’s reports, on March 11th, her 15-month-old son Amen’Ra was taken away from her under false allegations by the police and child protection services. They were at the Florida hospital seeking additional fluids for Amen’Ra during his transition from prolonged breastfeeding to bottle feeding since Mercado was pregnant at the time. She wrote, “My son was placed in a white nursing home to bypass our qualified relatives for housing.

Mercado added that a police officer had specifically told her it would be for “just one night,” but that it had been 53 days since her son was arrested at the time of her first post. “There are literally NO words that can express how I must relive this day every day,” she wrote.



Mercado claims CPS abducted their child because of an open lie. She wrote that the agency “claims we refused a B12 shot that involved life and death, which is an outright lie. We never refused a B12 shot, and he was never on the verge of death.” . “

Since then, Mercado has stated that CPS and other agencies are conducting a lengthy investigation while leaving their son with a foster family. She said that she and her family had no way of participating in the selection of foster parents and that they had “qualified relatives or friends” who, despite their familiarity with the system, were not interviewed.

“We receive limited information and currently only have weekly zoom visits for one hour with our sun, with no such visit restrictions imposed by a court order,” she wrote.



Mercado’s family suffered even more tragedy this week when authorities took their newborn daughter away from her and Deener during a traffic stop recorded on Instagram Live. The baby is only a few days old and the police were reluctant to allow Mercado to pump breast milk into the back seat of the car for her before taking her away. The heartbreaking video shows Mercado crying, and it has fans – and American Idol alumni – in anger.


Dr. Sally Smith

Mercado and Deener have been misled by various agencies and individuals, but according to a report by NBC News, much of their plight comes down to the word of the controversial Dr. Sally Smith of Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida. Smith is one of the subjects of a large USA Today Network investigative report into cases like Mercado’s where parents are judged to be unable to care for their children too quickly.

Reporters found that in many of the cases in which Smith had stolen children from their parents, the charges were eventually dropped and the parents acquitted. In the meantime, these families suffered an unthinkable separation like the one Mercado is experiencing.


How to help

Mercado uses their platform not only to ask for help in their case, but to shed light on the entire system it has gotten into. She and Denner are still accepting donations for help with legal fees on their GoFundMe page as the process of getting their children back is a long one. They also have a Change.org petition here where users can formally ask the court to expedite the return of Amen’Ra and his sister home.



A quick search for Dr. Sally Smith – the doctor responsible for removing these children – reveals hundreds of stories from parents who claim they were falsely accused by this doctor of molesting their children. Somebody needs to look at this ASAP! https://t.co/6ylSW6wDjN

– Anne Boleyn (Sussex backer) (@ TudorChick1501) August 14, 2021

Finally, Mercado and her fans use the hashtag “Bring Ra Home” on all social media platforms and share the videos of their encounters with law enforcement agencies when relevant. The family has a website here and a call to action here to explain their situation. Mercado posts most of their latest updates on Instagram.


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