Coney Island deaths: 3 children found dead on Coney Island beach drowned; deaths qualified as homicide

CONEY ISLAND, Brooklyn (WABC) — Charges could be filed Wednesday against the Brooklyn mother accused of drowning her three children, while the investigation into a possible motive continues.

A medical examiner said Tuesday that the three children drowned and their deaths were ruled a homicide.

Erin Merdy, 30, remained hospitalized at NYU Langone Hospital Brooklyn on Tuesday. If she cannot be brought to court, an arraignment at her bedside is possible.

Authorities are investigating whether postpartum depression that led to postpartum psychosis might have played a role.

Police say she told family members that she drowned her children, but will not speak to investigators.

“So far, she hasn’t said anything,” New York Police Department Chief Kenneth Corey said.

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

Police first learned of the boys’ disappearance early Monday morning, when a concerned family member called saying someone might have hurt them.

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

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

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

“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 search for the children intensified after Erin Merdy was found alone and police dispatched a helicopter and marine units.

The boys were found at the water’s edge shortly after 4:30 am on a quiet stretch of beach about 13 blocks from the stadium where the Brooklyn Cyclones minor league baseball team plays.

Efforts to revive them at a nearby hospital failed, Corey said.

Erin Merdy has prior incidents of stalking and aggravated stalking that did not result in charges, but no prior arrests or 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.

Eyewitness News also learned that she had received an eviction notice, claiming that her rent had not been paid since sometime last year.

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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