Mother Arraigned in Coney Island Drowning Deaths of 3 Children

Mother Arraigned in Coney Island Drowning Deaths of 3 Children
Crime scene tape stretches across a section of the Coney Island boardwalk near a stretch of beach, where three children were found dead in the surf, in New York on Sept. 12, 2022. (Joseph Frederick/AP Photo)
The Associated Press

NEW YORK—A mother charged with drowning her three children at New York's Coney Island beach was arraigned on murder charges Friday, authorities said.

Erin Merdy, 30, was charged with first and second-degree murder in the deaths of her children Zachary Merdy, 7, Liliana Stephens-Merdy, 4, and Oliver Bondarev, 3 months, a spokesperson for the Brooklyn district attorney's office said.

Merdy was arraigned remotely from the hospital where she was sent for a psychiatric examination. A request for comment was sent to her attorney at Brooklyn Defender Services.

Officers searched the Coney Island shoreline early Monday after a relative called 911. According to the criminal complaint, Merdy had told the relative “that she had hurt her children and that they are gone.”

Police found Merdy on the boardwalk, wet and barefoot. The children were later found unresponsive at the water's edge. They were pronounced dead at a hospital. The city medical examiner's office ruled their deaths homicides by drowning.

Evidence against Merdy includes video that shows her walking toward the ocean with the children just before 1 a.m. Monday, according to the complaint.

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