Mom Purposely Drowns 3 Children at Coney Island

A Brooklyn mom with a history of mental-health issues is suspected of drowning her three young kids on Coney Island beach early Monday — having confessed to kin that she killed them, family and law-enforcement sources said. 

Erin Merdy’s tragic children — 3-month-old Oliver, 4-year-old Liliana and 7-year-old Zachary — were discovered unresponsive around 4:40 a.m. along the shoreline at West 35th Street, just three blocks from their mother’s apartment, authorities and law-enforcement sources said. 

Merdy, 30, told relatives she “drowned all three kids” and was later found walking along the beach barefoot and in a robe, appearing “despondent,” cops and sources said. 

“The mother was soaking wet,” NYPD Chief of Department Kenneth Corey said at a press conference. “Whether she had been out in the rain or whether she had been in the water, again, is all speculative at this point. She was wet, she was barefoot, and she was not communicative to the officers.”

Merdy was initially taken to the 60th Precinct for questioning and then carted off on a stretcher to NYU Langone Hospital in Brooklyn, according to sources and exclusive Post photos and video.

“We’re devastated. They were kids. They were adorable kids,” said Dine Stephen, Merdy’s aunt.

“It’s someone who was struggling, and no one knew how bad the struggle was.”

Stephen said Merdy’s family has a history of mental illness and her niece was “struggling” as “she was trying to find her way through life.”

“We’re devastated. They were kids. They were adorable kids,” said Dine Stephen, Merdy’s aunt.

“In this family we do have a history of mental illness to varying degrees. A few of us have battled with bipolar disorder, but I didn’t know her mental struggles. I just knew she was trying to find a way for her children, a way to get on her feet,” said Stephen.

“She loved her children. She loved her children very much. It was the mental issues that took over.”

An intensive search for the mother and the kids began about three hours before the children were found on the beach, when a relative called police, expressing fears that the mom might have harmed the children, Corey told reporters.

No one answered a knock at the door — but officers were met by a father of one of the kids inside the building, Corey said.

He “expressed similar concerns” about the welfare of the mom and kids and said he believed they were on the Coney Island beach, according to Corey. 

“I believe that she had called them and made statements to them to that effect,” Corey said of the relatives, when asked why the family members believed the woman would harm her kids. 

Law-enforcement sources said numerous family members had called 911 to report Merdy “may have done something to the kids,” might be under the influence of alcohol or drugs and has a history of mental health issues.

A relative said the mom admitted she’d “drowned all three kids,” according to sources. 

After being directed to the beach to search for the mom and kids, police swarmed the boardwalk, the shoreline and the surrounding streets for about 90 minutes before they received another 911 call sending them to the Brighton Beach boardwalk, near Beach 6th Street, Corey said. 

There, cops found Merdy with some of her relatives — but all three kids were nowhere to be found, Corey said.

The search then “intensified,” with the NYPD’s aviation and harbor units helping to scour the area for the missing kids, the police official said. 

Authorities made the heartbreaking discovery of the children’s unresponsive bodies about 2 miles from where their mother was found. 

“The officers immediately initiated life-saving measures including CPR on the children, and [the kids] were rushed to Coney Island Hospital, where they were regrettably pronounced deceased,” Corey said. 

Distressing photos show first responders running through the sand and on the boardwalk, carrying the lifeless children in their arms. Later, Merdy was photographed strapped to a gurney as EMS workers wheeled her into NYU Langone.

It’s unclear if the mother has a history of abusing or neglecting the three kids, but she did previously have custody disputes with one of the kids’ fathers, law-enforcement sources said.

In July, the dad, who is an air-traffic controller in Virginia, told police Merdy didn’t show up when she was supposed to drop off their son to him for a scheduled custody visit, the sources said. The disposition of the incident is unclear, and it’s also unclear which child wasn’t brought for the visit.

In March 2021, Merdy filed a domestic-incident report against the same father, accusing him of sending verbally abusive text messages and threatening to take her to court for money, sources said.

The father couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

Alfred Brown, who was little Zachary’s football coach at PS 188, told The Post he’s “devastated” over the kids’ deaths.

“I’m in school with them, I’m on the field with them — I’m damn near their uncle. It’s hard right now… I love every kid that plays for me like my own,” said Brown, who also lives in the same apartment building as the family.

“Zach was a very bubbly kid who was full of life. Just full of energy, you know you’d have to say ‘enough, enough.’ “

The coach said he didn’t know Merdy very well and called her a “very quiet lady.

“From what I know she was a good mother. She was always with her children, always with her babies. You never know what people are going through. People mask their depression very well,” he said.

Brown said Zachary didn’t play for the team this year because Merdy thought the season would be during the summer when the kid had plans to visit his father out of state.

“He was supposed to come back this year, but he didn’t,” Brown said of Zachary. “Now I wish I would have had him this year to play for us, maybe it would have helped the parent.

“Everybody at school is a little sad. … We just have to be there for each other.”

Dmitriy Volper, who lives a few doors down from Merdy’s apartment, called the incident “an unspeakable tragedy.

“Sometimes her kids ran in the hallway. They were nice kids. They had a little dog,” said Volper, 78.

Autopsies for the children are under way, and no charges have been filed, sources said. 

Original Article: Mom told family she drowned her 3 children at Coney Island beach (

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