Mother arrested on murder charges in deaths of 3 children found on Coney Island

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

Erin Merdy, 30, was charged with intentional murder, murder with depraved indifference and murder of a victim under the age of 11, police said.

The charges were announced after the New York City medical examiner ruled that the children’s deaths were homicides.

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

Police found their mother soaking wet and barefoot on the boardwalk after a relative called 911 early Monday concerned that Merdy might have hurt the children. Merdy was with other family members but not her children, New York Police Chief of Department Kenneth Corey said.

Police eventually found her children along the shoreline. Despite efforts to revive them, they were pronounced dead at a hospital.

Zachary Merdy (Courtesy Allen McFarland)
Zachary Merdy (Courtesy Allen McFarland)

The city’s Administration for Children’s Services would not say whether the family had any history with child protective services.

“Our top priority is protecting the safety and wellbeing of all children in New York City. We are investigating this tragedy with the NYPD,” a spokesperson for the agency said in an email.

Records show that Merdy was served an eviction notice for her Coney Island apartment just before the Covid-19 eviction moratorium expired in January. Those who knew the family said she appeared overwhelmed with the responsibilities of having young kids plus a newborn.

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