Erin Merdy, 30, was found in ‘distress’ on the boardwalk of Brighton Beach at around 3am on Monday
She claimed that her children were missing, before authorities found them dead on the sand around two miles away
However, before cops found her, Merdy allegedly told family she drowned 3-month-old Oliver, Liliana, 4, and Zachary, 7, on a nearby beach early Monday
All three children were rushed to hospital, but pronounced dead
Their mother is in police custody undergoing psychiatric evaluation in connection with the potential drownings, but she’s not been arrested
The children’s grandmother thinks her daughter may have been suffering from post-partum depression, her mother claims
The Brooklyn mom suspected of drowning her three young children Monday was facing eviction from her apartment, battling custody issues and grappling with mental health woes before she allegedly killed the kids, including toddler and an infant.
Erin Merdy, 30, of Coney Island owed more than $10,000 in back rent for her Neptune Avenue apartment, where she lived with her children, and had been threatened with getting booted out since January, after the state’s COVID-19 eviction moratorium expired, court records show.
The mom, who allegedly told family she drowned 3-month-old Oliver, Liliana, 4, and Zachary, 7, on a nearby beach early Monday, had stopped paying her $1,531-a-month rent in July 2021 and was served with an eviction notice days before the moratorium expired in January, records show.
Relatives said Merdy appeared unstable in recent years and had trouble maintaining consistent relationships.
“There was a time when Erin and I were in contact all the time, but in 2015, 2016, she disappeared off the Earth. I didn’t know how to get in touch with her,” Merdy’s uncle, Levy Stephen said in a media interview on Monday.
“Now I’m faulting myself for that. She obviously needed help, and you can’t help but think, ‘Maybe I could have…’.
“I’m at a loss for words. It’s not every day you lose three family members in one day,” he said. “Nobody wants to go to the funeral and see those three bodies.”
Another uncle, Jean Stephen, 64, said Merdy didn’t appear to “have her life together.
“I don’t think she could handle a relationship or anything like that. She didn’t seem like she was that kind of person. She didn’t seem like she was stable,” the relative said.
“Anybody can go out and just fool around, but a person that’s stable can settle down with one person. She didn’t have her life together enough to do that.”
Around 1 a.m. Monday, concerned relatives called police to report Merdy might be drunk and might have done something to harm her children. Hours later, the mom was found by police walking barefoot through the sand on the Coney Island beach, wearing a bathrobe and appearing dazed.
Before officers got to her on Monday, Merdy already confessed to relatives that she “drowned all three kids.” The children were later found unresponsive along the shoreline, just three blocks from their home on Neptune Avenue, and pronounced dead at Coney Island Hospital soon after.
Merdy’s aunt Dine Stephen said she knew her niece was struggling, just not how badly: “I knew she was struggling in the sense she was trying to find her way through life. In this family we do have a history of mental illness to varying degrees. A few of us have battled with bipolar disorder, but I didn’t know her mental struggles,” the aunt said.
“I just knew she was trying to find a way for her children, a way to get on her feet. … It was the mental issues that took over.”
Another uncle, Eddy Stephen, said he was “speechless” when he heard from relatives that “Erin killed her three children.
“She did a little crazy stuff, but nothing that would lead to harming her children or herself,” Eddy said.
“She used to like to party here and there, do a little drinking, but I didn’t see any drug abuse or see that she was really irresponsible. It’s just tragic. I don’t know. She never gave us the sign that she would hurt her children. She loved her children.”
According to one family member Merdy was in the midst of a custody dispute with father of her 7-year-old son Zachary: “He had issues with the way she was raising the child, from what I understand,” Merdy’s uncle Levy said.
“She kind of went off the grid after that, changed her numbers. She wasn’t on social media, at least not to the point that I could find her.”
Law enforcement sources noted Merdy had failed to bring her son to a custody exchange in July ahead of a six-week visit planned with the kid’s father.
In May, Merdy pulled Zachary off his youth football team without explanation, according to his coach. “She never gave a flat-out answer of why he stopped playing,” C.I.T.Y. Silverbacks football team head coach Allen McFarland noted that “She seemed as if she was juggling a lot.”
Merdy’s mother, Jacqueline Scott, told the New York Daily News that her daughter was a good mother. ‘She might have been going through postpartum depression. She was a good mother,’ she told the publication.
‘I reached out to her yesterday and she said she was doing laundry and I said I wanted to speak to the kids. I tried to call her twice on the phone and there was no answer.’
Scott added that she was one of a number of concerned relatives who had been trying to reach Merdy on Sunday night.
New York Police Dept. officers conducted a welfare check at an apartment on Neptune Avenue, Brooklyn, at 1.40am following a call from a concerned family member. The caller said that they believed Merdy may have harmed her three children. The officers found no one at the apartment.
At 3.15am police received a second call of a woman in ‘distress’ walking around barefoot on the boardwalk of Brighton Beach, Brooklyn.
When police arrived Merdy claimed that her three children were missing. Marine and air emergency services were called in to canvass the shoreline for the three children.
Cops found the children unresponsive on the beach, two miles away. Officers attempted to perform CPR on the three children before they were rushed to hospital where they were pronounced dead at 5.38am.
Erin Merdy, allegedly drowned her three children at a beach on New York’s Coney Island in the early hours of Monday morning.
Police were called at 3.15am to reports of a woman, 30, in ‘distress’ walking around barefoot on the boardwalk of Brighton Beach, Brooklyn. Merdy was initially taken to the police precinct, but has since been driven to hospital in an ambulance with a sheet covering her head.
In the past officers responded to six past domestic incidents involving Erin Merdy, the latest on July 2, when she refused to hand over the children to her husband in a court mandated custodial visitation.
Alfred Brown, Zacks football coach, said the last time he saw the little boy was on June 25, when he gave him a trophy for participation.
‘This year he did not play, he was supposed to stay with his dad over the summer,’ Zacks said
‘He’d always say coach coach coach, to not hear him say it today is just heartbreaking.
I called him Zack Attack. His mom looked pretty normal but we can all mask our problems.
‘Zack was very bubbly, bright, giggly and full of life. The smile on his face was worth the world to me.’
The father of one of the children reportedly told officers at her apartment block, that he was concerned for their safety, after their mother made several statements saying she would harm them.
She reportedly claimed that her three children were missing, before they were found unresponsive on the beach three miles away. The children, a seven-year-old boy, four-year-old girl, and three-month-old baby girl were rushed to hospital, but pronounced dead on arrival.
Police attended the apartment, which was unlocked, and the father of one of the children reportedly told officers he was concerned for their safety, after their mother made several statements saying she would harm them.
Officers found the mother with additional family members at around 3am, and say that she was ‘soaking wet’.
They are unable to confirm if she was wet due to the rain or being submerged in the waters.
She is currently not communicating with officers who are attempting to interview her.
Police are appealing for witnesses or anyone with information on the tragedy to come forward.
They added that there were no known prior instances of abuse or neglect against the children. *No charges have been filed against Merdy, who was transported to NYU Langone Hospital late Monday morning for a psychiatric evaluation.