Mother charged in drowning deaths of 3 kids at Coney Island beach

Police have arrested a Brooklyn woman in the deaths of her three children whose bodies were found on a beach in New York City. The medical examiner on Wednesday confirmed the children died by drowning and ruled their deaths as homicides.

Authorities charged Erin Merdy, 30, with three counts of murder in the deaths of Zachary Merdy, 7, Lilana Merdy, 4, and 3-month-old Oliver Bondarev, whose bodies were found on the beach in Coney Island early Monday morning.

NYPD officers responded to a Neptune Avenue apartment at around 1:40 a.m. Monday after family members called 911 from a different location with concerns that Erin Merdy may have harmed her three young children.

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Officers went to the apartment but no one answered the door. They came across a man in the building who said that he was the father of one of the children. He also expressed concerns about the safety of the children. He told officers that he believed that Erin Merdy and the children were on the boardwalk.

Cops began a search for the woman and children on the boardwalk, beach, and streets of Coney Island. The search lasted about 90 minutes until police got another 911 call directing them to Brighton 6th Street and the Riegelmann Boardwalk.

That is where they found Merdy but not the children. She was soaking wet and barefoot when they picked her up. They said they were unsure if she had been in the rain or had been in the ocean.

The police search then intensified, including aviation units and harbor units, Chief of Department Kenneth Corey said. 

Police found the children on the beach near 35th Street, about two miles down the boardwalk from where they found their mother and about three blocks from the building where they lived. Officers immediately began CPR on the children, Corey said. EMS rushed them to Coney Island Hospital but it was too late to save their lives.

Police found a shoe in the water. It was bagged as evidence in the case.

At a news conference this week, police officials asked witnesses to come forward. They added that Merdy doesn't appear to have any prior cases of abuse or neglect.

A security supervisor for Merdy's building said the family had moved in less than a year ago.

With The Associated Press.