Three children were pronounced dead after police found them unconscious early Monday morning along the Coney Island shoreline in Brooklyn, N.Y., and authorities believe they may have been drowned by their mother. During a news conference held on the boardwalk where officers discovered the children, New York Police Department Chief Kenneth Corey confirmed that a 7-year-old male, a 4-year-old female, and a 3-and-a-half month baby were found at the water’s edge at around 4:42 a.m. Monday. Corey said that “the officers immediately initiated life-saving measures on the children and they were rushed to Coney Island Hospital where they were regrettably pronounced deceased.” The children were later identified as 3-month-old Oliver Bondarev, 4-year-old Lilana Merdy, and 7-year-old Zachary Merdy.
The situation unfolded after officers responded to an apartment at 3325 Neptune Avenue, following a 911 call placed at around 1:40 a.m. by “a concerned family member.” While inside the building, police ran into the father of one of the kids, who told police the mother and the children were on the boardwalk, and he was concerned about what she might do. NYPD Chief Corey said that “the 911 caller indicated that she was concerned that her family may have harmed her three small children. Officers responded to the apartment … the officers later found a 30-year-old female believed to be the mother of the three children. She was accompanied by other family members but not the children. The search then intensified, with aviation units, harbor units and additional canvases of the shoreline.”
The children’s mother, identified as 30-year-old Erin Merdy, is being questioned by detectives, but has refused to speak as of press time. Chief Corey said that the woman was wet when officers first found her: “The mother was soaking wet. Whether she had been out in the rain or whether she had been in the water (ocean) is all speculative. She was wet, she was barefoot and she was not communicative to the officers. Right now we are looking for witnesses. We don’t know exactly what happened here. We are going to try to piece this all together.”
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