Mother arrested for murder in death of 3 children found on Coney Island


A woman has been arrested for murder days after her three children were found unconscious on a Coney Island beach and later died, New York police said Wednesday.

Erin Merdy, 30, has been charged with willful murder, murder with depraved indifference and murder of a victim under the age of 11, police say.

The charges were announced after the children’s death was ruled a homicide by the New York medical examiner.

Officials said Oliver Bondarev, 3 months; Lilana Merdy, 4; and Zachary Merdy, 7, drowned.

Police found their mother wet and barefoot on the boardwalk after a parent called 911 early Monday fearing Merdy may have harmed the children. Merdy was with other family members but not his children, NYPD Department Chief Kenneth Corey said.

The police eventually found her children along the shore. Despite efforts to revive them, they were pronounced dead in a hospital.

Zacharie Merdy
Zachary Merdy.Courtesy of Allen McFarland

The city’s Children’s Services Administration did not say whether the family had a history with child protective services.

“Our top priority is to protect the safety and well-being of all children in New York. We are investigating this tragedy with the NYPD,” an agency spokesperson said in an email.

Records show Merdy received an eviction notice for his Coney Island apartment just before the Covid-19 eviction moratorium expired in January. Those who knew the family said they seemed overwhelmed with the responsibilities of having young children and a newborn baby.

Rodney Thrash contributed.



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