The mother of three who drowned in Coney Island has been arrested and charged with second-degree murder



CNN

A 30-year-old mother of three who was found unresponsive on the shores of Coney Island in Brooklyn has been arrested and charged in their deaths, a law enforcement official told CNN on Thursday.

Erin Merdy has been charged with second-degree murder, three counts of reckless disregard for human life and three counts of murder of a victim under the age of 11, the official said.

The children drowned early Monday morning and their deaths are being ruled homicides, the New York City Medical Examiner’s Office said.

Relatives called the police after Merdy allegedly said “the kids are gone” and “the kids are gone.” When questioned by detectives, Merdy told them he had a “dream about the child walking on water,” according to the sheriff’s office.

Merdy was processed Wednesday and remains in a hospital for further psychological evaluation, the official said.

The three children died at a hospital after first responders performed life-saving measures, including CPR, Department of Health and Human Services Chief Kenneth Corey told reporters Monday.

Their mother was questioned by police and hospitalized Monday morning after she was found on Brighton Beach near Coney Island, a law enforcement official said.

The children were found after police received a 911 call at 1:40 a.m. Monday from someone “concerned that a family member may have harmed their three young children,” Corey said. The caller asked police to check the woman’s Coney Island apartment.

A man in the apartment who identified himself as the father of one of the children also said he was concerned, Corey added. The man told police he believed the woman and three children were on a Coney Island boardwalk.

Officers searched beaches, streets and a local hospital. Another 911 call then came in to direct officers to a specific location: Brighton Beach near 6th Street and Riegelmann Boardwalk. The caller reported a woman who was distraught, according to a police spokeswoman.

The police found the woman and other family members with him. The children were not there.

The search was continued by ground, air and port units. Around 4:42 a.m., officers found the children unconscious on the shoreline of West 35th Street in Coney Island, Corey said.

The location where the children were found is 2 kilometers from where the woman was seen, and half a kilometer south of her apartment.

He was “drenched” when investigators contacted him, Corey said, noting it was unclear whether he had been in the rain or in coastal waters.

The 7-year-old boy was a kind and generous person with a special humility about him, his father told CNN on Tuesday.

“Anyone who knew my son would know he’s special,” said father Derrick Merdy.

He loved the video game character Sonic the Hedgehog. “I think I spent so much money buying every last one of them,” Merdy said.

The boy “had a humility with him that I can’t even imitate, and I will try to live like him because he was very kind and generous”, said the father.

“It would have been great.”

Allen McFarland, a youth soccer coach and employee of the New York City Department of Education, remembered the 7-year-old as a quiet, expressive boy who was eager to play soccer.

“He was excited to tackle, tackle, excited to run the ball, excited to hit people with the ball, just excited,” McFarland said, recalling that the boy joined his team two years ago and wore No. 15.

The coach had to break the news to the team on Monday and was met with tears from the children, who were heartbroken.

McFarland said the boy’s mother pulled him out of football in March.

“You could see there was a lot going on,” the coach said of the mother.

“He would say, ‘No, I know he likes it and we’ll try to get him back, but the schedule has been busy,'” McFarland said. “It looked like they were juggling a lot.”

A person who worked at a shelter for survivors of domestic violence said the two older sons were “sweet”.

The 4-year-old girl liked to play with dolls, the former shelter worker told CNN. The boy was a superhero fan, said the person who worked with the two children for six months in 2020 and 2021, before the third child was born.

“It’s heartbreaking to see. The children were always well behaved and quiet. Beautiful souls Mother was silent most of the time,” said the former shelter worker.

The person, who did not want to be publicly identified, said the mother did not socialize with other residents, but occasionally participated in activities with the children.