Here is a breakdown of the facts available to the public at this time, and the information Mercado and Deneer have shared as they fight publicly to drive awareness to what’s happened to them and to return their children to their custody.
The Couple’s 18-Month-Old Son Was Taken First
Five months ago, Mercado says that her “proudest accomplishment”, her 18-month-old son Amen’Ra was taken from her after a routine hospital visit gone wrong. “I am a pregnant, breastfeeding, mama who went to the hospital with the intention to get my sun, Amen’Ra, some ‘fluids’ while transitioning from extended breastfeeding to being bottle-fed,” wrote Mercado on the GoFundMe fundraiser page she has setup to ask for financial support to help fight for her children.
Authorities Reportedly Accused Mercado Of Denying Her Son Life and Death Treatment
“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,” Mercado also wrote on her GoFundMe page. “We never refused a B12 shot, and at no point was he on the verge of death.”
Mercado Is Accusing Florida Child Protective Services Of Racism and “Legally Kidnapping” Her Son
Mercado alleges that her son was “forcefully and legally kidnapped” by the Florida Department of Children and Families on March 11 due to racism and insights she was not abusing her children in any way. “My family and I are just one in countless other stories of legal kidnapping that go unheard and unseen,” writes Mercado. She goes on to say her situation is not uncommon and other mothers across the country are facing similar heartbreak. “The racial discrimination that our community is facing right now is focused on police brutality because of the visibility and documentation,” she added on GoFundMe. “But we don’t think about the other forms of systematic oppression that come as a sub-set. In particular, the victimization of our children through the foster care system. They become the forgotten ones, falling through the cracks because mothers and fathers are too afraid to take on the gigantic task of standing up to a way of thinking and laws that are steeped in colonial times.”
Their 10-Day-Old Daughter Was Also Taken
On Wednesday, the couple’s newborn daughter—just 10 days old—was also taken from them by police during a traffic stop, which the couple recorded and posted on social media. The Manatee County sheriff deputies can be seen in the video serving the couple with a court order to immediately turn over their daughter for a hospital checkup visit. Mercado can be seen telling police she has paperwork that proves her daughter had seen a doctor on Tuesday, just the day before the incident took place. The video is heartbreaking to watch, as Mercado and Deneer plead with officers no to take their newborn baby.
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The Hospital Released a Statement To PEOPLE Magazine
“Our first priority at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital is always the safety and privacy of our patients and their families,” said the hospital in a statement to PEOPLE. “Therefore, we strictly follow privacy laws that limit the amount of information we can release regarding this particular case. However, we can say that our first responsibility is always to the child brought to us for care, and we are legally obligated to notify the Department of Children and Families (DCF) when we detect signs of possible abuse or neglect. It is DCF that investigates the situation and makes the ultimate decision about what course of action is in the best interests of the child.”
Mercado Will Head To Court To Fight To Reunite Her Family
Mercado is asking her fans and supporters to help them with their legal fees and to spread awareness within the community. “Please donate what you can and share it with your friends! Our legal fees are mounting and will continue to increase as the case comes to the courts,” she wrote. The couple has already raised $387,960 toward their $200,000 goal.
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