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Mom in Kids’ NYC Beach Drownings Remanded, Faces Up to 3 Life Sentences if Convicted



The Brooklyn mother accused of murdering her three young children, drowning them in the waters off Coney Island with depraved indifference to their welfare, was remanded after a brief bedside arraignment Friday at the hospital where she has been in custody since the deaths earlier this week.

Erin Merdy answered in a soft voice as she was asked questions like, “Can you hear me,” as she sat in her hospital bed during the roughly five-minute hearing. The judge ordered protective custody, medical attention and a psychological examination for the 30-year-old woman as well.

Prosecutors say witnesses told police she admitted hurting her children: 3-month-old Oliver Bondarev, 4-year-old Lilana Merdy and 7-year-old Zachary Merdy. Erin Merdy faces up to three life sentences if convicted of the charges. Her attorney was at the hospital Friday and couldn’t directly be reached for comment early Friday.

Friday’s arraignment comes less than 48 hours after the city medical examiner said all three children had drowned and ruled all three cases homicides. They lived in the same Neptune Avenue home where officers responding to a 911 call from a concerned relative initially went early Monday as the scale of the tragedy began to unfold.

That was just the first stop in what would be an exhaustive, hours-long search to find the children. It was 1:40 a.m.


No one answered the door when officers knocked, but it was unlocked, officials said. Cops encountered a man in the building who identified himself as the father of one of the three children. He expressed the same concerns as the 911 caller, NYPD officials said, and told police he believed the mother and children were on the boardwalk in Coney Island.

A full-scale search commenced, with officers canvassing the boardwalk, beach, streets and local hospitals.

Cops found the mother on Riegelmann Boardwalk near Brighton 6th Street about 90 minutes later. Police said she was soaking wet and barefoot and appeared to be in a disturbed state when she was found. The woman had some family with her but not the three children, police said, adding she wasn’t communicative with cops.

At that point, the search turned even more desperate, with aviation and harbor units called in and reinforcements added to scour the shoreline. The children were found unconscious at the water’s edge by 35th Street around 4:45 a.m., about three hours after the initial 911 call. Life-saving efforts began but the children died at Coney Island Hospital.

A security supervisor at the mom’s building said the family had moved in less than a year ago. NYPD Chief of Department Kenneth Corey said the mother had not been reported to authorities previously for abusing or neglecting her children.

Their mother, who was found wandering up the street barefoot, is being questioned in their death.


Source: NBC New York

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