*”American Idol” alum Syesha Mercado is at the center of a controversial child custody battle with the state of Florida.
The singer and her partner Tyron Deener have had both of their two young children, 18-month-old son Amen’Ra and 2-week-old daughter Ast, taken by the state amid allegations of abuse, which the couple vehemently deny.
Both the children were taken from the parents within a six months span, and are now in the care of Child Protective Services.
“I am a first-time mom and I’ve been deprived of holding my babies, and feeding my babies,” she tearfully said. “I didn’t get to see Ra say mama for the first time. I didn’t get to see my babies meet for the first time. I didn’t get to see that and I can’t go back and redo that moment. I will never be able to go back and redo that moment.”
“I’m just missing out on so many precious moments — this is such a precious time,” the singer continued. “I feel my daughter. I feel when she’s hungry and know when she’s crying. And I can’t do anything. She’s not here with me.”
“I’m supposed to be loving my babies,” she said. “I’ve been deprived of that and I don’t know how to articulate it. It hurts so bad.”
I watched the entire video and I sobbed for this momma. To have your son taken away at the hospital because he wasn’t weaning and transitioning to solids good. Then her days old daughter taken away on the side of the road. #SyeshaMercado https://t.co/zuKheRFv3N
— Mrs. C**HERstory**MadamVP (@elljaycee626) August 14, 2021
The couple’s son was taken earlier this year after their pediatrician suspected the child was severely malnourished. Mercado’s newborn daughter was taken from their custody last Wednesday by deputies from the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.
Mercado recorded video of the interaction with law enforcement and a caseworker, during which the tearful mother is told her baby is being taken to the hospital for a checkup.
“On March 11th, our sun 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,” she shared on social media. “We never refused a B12 shot, and at no point was he on the verge of death.”
Randy Warren, a spokesperson for the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, told PEOPLE that the parents “refused to cooperate” during an investigation into their son’s health care, and a judge ordered the child to be placed in the custody of Child Protective Services.
Mercado and Deener deny claims that they mistreated their children.
“The only thing that we have ever done as parents is make responsible decisions, loving decisions,” Deener said. “We have not committed any crime. We have not abused our babies. We have not done anything that is irresponsible as parents.”
“Our life revolves around health, balance and doing what we can to guide our children,” he said. “Nothing that we do is detrimental to our babies.”
Added Mercado, “I went somewhere to get assistance, my baby was supposed to come home with me. We should have never been criminalized for getting assistance for something.