The mother of three small children found dead on the beach in Coney Island early Monday morning could face criminal charges as early as Tuesday, according to published reports.
Police said the mother — identified in published reports as Erin Merdy, 30 — had been hospitalized Monday for a psychiatric evaluation after being questioned at the 60th Precinct stationhouse. Sources familiar with the case said Merdy remains at the hospital, but could be charged later this afternoon, pending the results of the evaluation and further investigation.
Officers from the 60th Precinct found her three children — Zachary Merdy, 7; Lilana Merdy, 4; and Oliver Bondarev, 3 months, who lived with their mother on Neptune Avenue — unconscious and unresponsive on the beach off the Riegelmann Boardwalk and West 35th Street at about 4:42 a.m. on Sept. 12.
It was the grim end to a desperate search for the youngsters initiated earlier that morning by calls to police from relatives concerned about their safety. At least one relative phoned police fearing that the mother may have harmed them, Chief of Department Kenneth Corey said at a Monday morning press conference.
The children’s mother was located on the boardwalk in Brighton Beach, about two miles east of where the children were eventually found. Corey said she was soaking wet and barefoot, but unresponsive when police attempted to question her.
The search intensified, with Aviation and Marine units scouring the Coney Island area before 60th Precinct officers finally located the children. Cops initiated CPR and other life-saving measures, but to no avail, Corey said.
EMS rushed the youngsters to Coney Island Hospital, where they were officially pronounced dead.
Based on a preliminary investigation, Corey said, police did not know of any prior history of abuse or neglect connected with the family.