Three children found dead on New York's Coney Island beach, mother questioned

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(Reuters) - Two small girls and a boy died on Monday after they were found unconscious early Monday morning on Brooklyn's Coney Island beach, where New York City detectives took the children's mother in for questioning, police said.

Officers discovered a 4-year-old girl, a 7-year-old boy and a 3-month-old girl near the water's edge on the beach, known for its boardwalk and giant Ferris wheel.

At about 1:30 a.m. EDT (0530 GMT), police responded to a call to a Brooklyn apartment from a concerned family member who said that a relative might have harmed her three small children, Police Chief Kenneth Corey said.

At the building, police met one of the children's father, who expressed similar concerns, Corey said during a news conference on Coney Island.

"He said he believed the woman and children where on the boardwalk here," Corey said.

Officers searching the area found the children's 30-year-old mother, who was barefoot and soaking wet. She was accompanied by other family members, but not the children, Corey said.

"The search now intensified ... aviation units, harbor units and additional canvasses of the shoreline," he said.

At about 4:45 a.m. (0845 GMT), officers discovered the children unconscious on the beach and rushed them to the hospital where they were pronounced dead. The mother was then taken to a police station where she was being questioned by detectives, Corey said.

"So far, she has not said anything," he said.

(Reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Chicago; editing by Jonathan Oatis)