Coney Island deaths: 3 kids found dead at Coney Island beach drowned; deaths ruled homicide

CONEY ISLAND, BROOKLYN (WPVI) — Brooklyn mom accused of drowning her three children could face charges

A coroner said Tuesday the three children died by drowning and their deaths were ruled a manslaughter.

Erin Merdy, 30, remains hospitalized at NYU Langone Hospital Brooklyn and if she cannot be brought to justice, a bedside arraignment is possible.

Authorities are investigating whether postpartum depression, which led to postpartum psychosis, may have played a role.

Police say they have told family members she drowned their children but will not speak to investigators.

“She hasn’t said anything yet,” said Kenneth Corey, New York City Police Department Chief.

The lifeless bodies of her three children – identified as 7-year-old Zachary Merdy, 4-year-old Lilana Merdy and 3-month-old Oliver Bondarev – were found on a Coney Island beach after an extensive search.

Police first learned of the children’s disappearance early Monday morning when a concerned family member called to say someone may have harmed them.

When officers arrived at the home on Neptune Avenue, a man posing as the father opened the door and told police he believed the mother was on the boardwalk with the children.

Officers then began searching the boardwalk and surrounding area for signs of the mother or children.

Ninety minutes later, police received a call from family members who were with Erin Merdy on the boardwalk about two miles from where the children were found.

“The mother was soaking wet,” Corey said. “Whether she was in the rain or in the water is all speculative at this point. She was wet, she was barefoot and she was not communicative with the officers.”

The children were found just after 4:30 a.m. on a quiet stretch of waterfront beach about 13 blocks from the stadium where the Brooklyn Cyclones minor league baseball team plays.

Attempts to revive her at a nearby hospital failed, Corey said.

Erin Merdy has had prior incidents of harassment and aggravated harassment that have not resulted in charges, but she has no prior arrests or a history of emotional distress.

Police say the actions appear to be intentional rather than spontaneous, and detectives are investigating her past and interviewing neighbors and relatives to determine what happened.

WABC-TV also learned that Erin Merdy had been served with an eviction notice, claiming rent had not been paid since sometime last year.

Police are asking anyone who may have seen the mother and children to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or, in Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).

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