Brooklyn mom Erin Merdy claims she drowned children in 'bad dream' as prosecutors vow to seek justice
NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK: The mentally ill mother who allegedly drowned her three children in the sea off Coney Island reportedly told police she was only trying to hurt herself and remembered her children's deaths as a bad dream.
Prosecutors have vowed to seek justice in the case of Brooklyn mom Erin Merdy, 30, who could spend life in prison if she's convicted for the deaths of her children Zachary Merdy, seven, Liliana Stephens-Merdy, four, and three-month-old Oliver Bondarev. Merdy was reportedly indicted on three counts of first-degree murder and nine counts of second-degree murder after the bodies of her deceased children were found on Coney Island beach on September 12.
"This is a shocking and unspeakable crime, and with this prosecution, we will seek justice," District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said at Merdy's arraignment Thursday, as quoted by PIX11. The suspect was found barefoot and soaking wet on the boardwalk in Brighton Beach after a family requested a welfare check at 3 am fearing for the children's lives. Court documents state that Merdy allegedly told a relative that "she had hurt her children." She was reportedly incoherent and rambling when she was arrested by the authorities.
A day after the triple homicide, Merdy told an officer at NYU Langone Hospital that she was "trying to hurt herself" and had a nightmare about her children drowning in the water. “The waves, the waves,” she told a police officer while being treated in the emergency room, per a document filed by the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office. “I keep having bad dreams that I was holding my baby and the baby was crying. I was in the water and my boy was crying and trying to help. I couldn’t save him. I know I was wet and I was trying to kill myself. I am having a bad dream,” Merdy allegedly said. Court filings state that "she went with three kids and remembers waking up in the hospital. She had a dream Liliana was in the water and Zachary went to help her. (She) went to the water but could not help them. She had Oliver with her. The children were all in the water. Waves were too big and she could not help him."
Merdy may have been suffering from post-partum depression, her mom Jacqueline Scott said. It later emerged that she had been released without having a psychiatric exam from the Administration for Children's Services just two months before the tragedy. The New York Daily News reported that the embattled mother "fell through the cracks." An ACS spokesperson previously said, "Our top priority is protecting the safety and well-being of all children in New York City. We are investigating this tragedy with the NYPD."
Speaking to The New York Times, Merdy's estranged ex-husband, Derrick Merdy, said his son often visited him wearing dirty clothes and complained that he hadn't been given enough food. A relative told the New York Post that Derrick and Erin were in a custody battle. As mentioned, a criminal complaint noted how Merdy allegedly told a relative “that she had hurt her children and that they are gone.” NYPD Chief of Detectives James Essig said, "We believe she went into the water and drowned the kids. Regarding the motive, we're going to leave that up to the health care professionals." 30-year-old Merdy is currently remanded in custody without bail and she awaits her next court appearance scheduled on November 30.