CONEY ISLAND, Brooklyn (WABC) — Three children have died after they were found unconscious on a Coney Island beach Monday morning, and police believe their mother may have drowned them.
The bodies of the 7-year-old boy, 4-year-old girl, and 3-month-old boy were found around 4:40 a.m. after a nearly three-hour search that began when a relative called police, concerned that the woman tried to harm her children.
The children were rushed to Coney Island Hospital, where all three were pronounced dead.
The 30-year-old mother, who has not yet been identified, was found about 90 minutes later soaking wet, “almost catatonic” and barefoot, according to police, about 2 miles down the boardwalk from the section of Coney Island where she lived. .
Officers first received a phone call around 1:40 a.m. from a family member concerned that someone might have hurt three young children.
When officers arrived at the home on Neptune Avenue, a man who identified himself as the father of the three children answered the door and told police he believed the mother was with the children on the boardwalk.
Police then began searching the boardwalk and surrounding area for any sign of the mother or children.
That’s when they received a second phone call from relatives who were with the mother on the boardwalk, about two miles from where the children were found.
NYPD press conference:
Police said the suspect told family members she drowned her children, but stopped talking when the officer arrived and has not made a statement since.
“So far, she hasn’t said anything,” New York Police Department Chief Kenneth Corey said.
Since then, she has been taken to the hospital twice, and postpartum depression that led to postpartum psychosis is being considered as a possible reason.
“The mother was soaked,” Corey said. “Whether she had been in the rain or whether she had been in the water is all speculation at this point. She was wet, barefoot and not communicating with officers.”
The mother has prior incidents of stalking and aggravated stalking that did not result in charges.
He has no prior arrests and no history of emotional disturbance.
Police say the actions appear to be premeditated and not something that happened at one point, and detectives are looking into his past and interviewing neighbors and family members to determine what happened.
She has not yet been charged.
Neighbors who knew the mother said that she seemed like a good mother and that the children seemed healthy and well cared for. If there was something terribly wrong, they would never have guessed it.
Allen McFarland, who coached the 7-year-old in soccer, described the eldest son as a happy and energetic boy.
She said that although it seemed that the mother was juggling a lot at once, nothing seemed out of the ordinary.
“A solid guy, a really good guy, always smiling on the football field,” he said. “She definitely cared, you know what I mean? That’s why it was so shocking.”
Police are asking anyone who saw the mother and children at any time last night or early this morning to call the New York Police Department’s Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477 ) or, in Spanish, at 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).
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