Syesha Mercado, a former finalist on "American Idol," was reunited with her newborn daughter but continues to fight for custody of her toddler son.
“Just know Ast is home. Ast is home! We have Ast with us,” Mercado's partner Tyron Deener said in an Instagram video on Friday.
The couple's daughter, Ast, was taken last week by Child Protective Services in Florida just days after Mercado gave birth. Their son, Amen'Ra, was taken earlier this year when he was 13 months old.
“We still got work to do to get Ra back," Deener said in the video, thanking the public and their attorneys.
"Just know through the people, through you all we were able to counteract this unjust system and this corruption to be able to get our baby back.”
The couple could not immediately be reached for comment on Saturday.
An attorney for Mercado and Deener said at a press conference Tuesday that CPS got involved because of allegations of medical neglect. The family's ordeal began after Mercado took her son to Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg on Feb. 26 for dehydration due to him struggling with the transition from breast milk to solid foods, according to We Have the Right to Be Right, an activist group campaigning for the family.
Instead of Amen'Ra being released to his mother, he was placed in the care of CPS.
Attorney Derrick McBurrows said that CPS alleged that Mercado had not taken her son for a medical visit prior to bringing him to Johns Hopkins. He called the agency's claims a "complete lie" and said his client took her son to Englewood Community Hospital on Jan. 30.
"The mother was having lactation issues," McBurrows said at the press conference. "This is a first-time mother who was seeking help yet she was criminalized."
Deener told reporters that he thinks his family was judged and criminalized "because of how we present ourselves, our culture, the way we look."
In the midst of the family's battle to regain custody of Amen'Ra, Mercado gave birth to Ast. Last week, she posted a video of Manatee County sheriff's deputies stopping her car on the side of a road in a surprise welfare check and taking her daughter.
The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office previously said that its deputies removed Ast because a family court judge signed a pick-up order following repeated failed attempts to reach Mercado and Deener. Authorities initially got involved in the case after receiving information about a child at Johns Hopkins who "was suffering from severe malnutrition/failure to thrive," the department said.