American Idol finalist Syesha Mercado and her partner, Tyron Deener, were reunited with their infant daughter Asset Sba. Mercado and Deener shared a tearful video on Instagram Friday, showing Asset in the backseat of their car. The couple is still fighting to regain custody of their son, 15-month-old Amen’Ra. The couple’s attorney, Derrick McBurrows, told the Sarasota Herald-Tribune on Tuesday that their children were staying with an “estranged relative.”
“I’m going to make this a really quick [Instagram Live]. Just know Asset is home,” Deener said at the beginning of Friday’s video. “Asset is home. We have Asset with us.” He then moved his phone over to show Asset sleeping in a baby seat. He went on to thank everyone for their support but reminded their supporters that they still have work to do to get Amen’Ra back.
“We want to say thank you, because of y’all, that my family has had the proper support to get the best attorneys in the country to be able to bring justice. Asset is back! We still got to get ‘Ra back.” He noted that there are other children who need to be reunited with their parents before reiterating that their supporters made it possible for them to “counteract this unjust system and this corruption to be able to get our baby back.” Mercado did not speak in the video, but Deener turned his camera to show her driving and wiping a tear from her cheek.
Although Mercado and Deener have been trying to regain custody of Amen’Ra since March, their story gained widespread national attention on Aug. 11 when the couple shared an Instagram Live session showing Manatee County, Florida officials taking custody of Asset, who was born just 10 days earlier. The video racked up over 3.2 million views. The GoFundMe account they set up to pay for legal fees has doubled its goal of $200,000, reaching over $430,000. Their attorneys said Tuesday that the two children were placed with an “estranged relative” whom Mercado and Deener did not choose.
On Wednesday, the couple held a virtual press conference, denying allegations that they mistreated their children. “I am a first-time mom and I’ve been deprived of holding my babies, and feeding my babies,” Mercado said, reports PEOPLE. “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.”
Child protective services took custody of Amen’Ra on March 11. According to Mercado, she took him to a nearby hospital for fluids while transitioning from breastfeeding to using a bottle. CPS claimed “we refused a B12 shot that was a matter of life and death, which is an absolute lie,” Mercado wrote on her GoFundMe page. “We never refused a B12 shot, and at no point was he on the verge of death.”
The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Randy Warren told PEOPLE they began investigating Mercado and Deener after they received a tip about a child “suffering from severe malnutrition.” The couple “refused to cooperate” and a judge ordered their children to be placed in CPS custody, Warren said. Safe Children’s Coalition then took the case and it was decided to take Asset to another shelter. On Aug. 11, the deputies “executed a pick-up order signed by a family court judge” after failed attempts to contact Mercado and Deener, Warren said.