Coney Island drownings: mother of three arrested and charged with second degree murder


Erin Merdy has been charged with three counts of second degree murder, three counts of depraved indifference to human life and three counts of murder with victims under the age of 11, the official said.

The children died by drowning early Monday and their deaths are being ruled a homicide, the New York City Chief Medical Examiner’s Office said.

Relatives called police after Merdy allegedly told them ‘the babies are gone’ and ‘the kids are gone’. When questioned by detectives, Merdy told them she “dreamed of walking the children in the water”, according to the law enforcement official.

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

All three children were pronounced dead at a hospital after first responders took lifesaving measures, including CPR, department chief Kenneth Corey told reporters on Monday.

Their mother was questioned by police and then hospitalized after finding her on Monday morning at Brighton Beach, next to Coney Island, a law enforcement official said.

Officers searched beaches, streets and the local hospital

The children were discovered after police received a 911 call at 1:40 a.m. Monday from a person who feared a “family member may have harmed her three young children,” Corey said. The caller asked the police to check the woman’s apartment in Coney Island.

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

Officers scoured beaches, streets and a local hospital. Then another 911 call arrived to direct officers to a specific location – Brighton 6th Street and Riegelmann Boardwalk near Brighton Beach. The caller reported a despondent woman, according to the police spokesperson.

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

The search continued through land, air and port units. At around 4:42 a.m., officers found the unconscious children on the shoreline of West 35th Street in Coney Island, Corey said.

The location where the children were found is around 2 miles from where the woman was spotted – and just half a mile south of her flat.

She was “drenched” when investigators made contact with her, said Corey, who noted that it was unclear whether she had been in the rain or in the water off the coast.

The football coach remembers a ‘calm and expressive boy’

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

“Anyone who has met my son would know he is special,” said father, Derrick Merdy.

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

The boy “had a humility about him that I can’t even emulate, and I’m going to do my best to live like him because he was so kind and generous,” the father said.

“He was going to be great.”

Allen McFarland, a youth soccer coach and employee of the New York City Department of Education, remembers the 7-year-old as a calm, expressive boy who always enjoyed playing soccer.

3 children have died after being found unconscious on the New York shore.  Police are now speaking with a woman believed to be their mother

“He was excited to tackle, to be tackled, excited to throw the ball, excited to hit the person with the ball, he was just excited,” McFarland said, recalling the boy joining his team two years ago. and wore the number 15.

The coach had to break the news to the squad on Monday and was met with tears from the heartbroken children.

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

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

“She was like, ‘No, I know he likes it and we’ll try to get back, but the schedule is just packed,'” McFarland said. “It sounded like she was juggling a lot.”

A person who worked at a shelter for victims of domestic violence said the two older children were “nice”.

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

“It’s just heartbreaking to see. The kids were always well behaved and quiet. Beautiful souls. Mom was pretty quiet,” the former shelter worker said.

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

CNN’s Laura Ly, Melanie Schuman, Dakin Andone, Liam Reilly, Aya Elamroussi, Caroll Alvarado and Nicki Brown contributed to this story.


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