Brooklyn mom suspected of drowning her three children faces eviction

The Brooklyn mother, who is suspected of drowning her three young children on Monday, faced eviction from her apartment, battling custody issues and struggling with mental health issues before allegedly killing the children, The Post has learned.

Coney Island resident Erin Merdy, 30, owed more than $10,000 in rent arrears on her Neptune Avenue apartment where she lived with her children and had been threatened with eviction since January following the COVID-19 eviction moratorium of the state had expired, court records show.

The mother, who allegedly told relatives she drowned her children – 3-month-old Oliver, 4-year-old Liliana and 7-year-old Zachary – on a nearby beach early Monday, had stopped paying her $1,531 rent at the Month to be paid in July 2021 and received an eviction notice days before the moratorium expired in January, records show.

Relatives reached by the Post on Monday said Merdy had been unstable in recent years and had trouble maintaining steady relationships.

“There was a time when Erin and I were in touch all the time, but in 2015, 2016 she disappeared from Earth. I didn’t know how to reach her,” Merdy’s uncle Levy Stephen told the Post.

“I blame myself for that now. She obviously needed help, and you can’t help but think, “Maybe I should have…”

erin merdy,
Erin Merdy struggled with her mental health and faced a custody battle.
Paul Martinka
erin merdy,
The mother of three had been swamped with rent since last year.
Paul Martinka

“I’m lost for words. It’s not every day that 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 doesn’t seem to “have her life together.

“I don’t think she could handle a relationship or anything like that. She didn’t seem like that kind of person. She didn’t seem stable,” the relative said.

“Anyone can go out and just goof around, but a stable person can settle down with a person. She didn’t have enough in her life to do that.”

Concerned relatives called police around 1am Monday morning to report that Merdy may have been intoxicated and may have done something to harm her children. Hours later, the mother was found by police walking barefoot through the sand at Coney Island Beach, wearing a bathrobe and appearing dazed.

Police officers carry one of the 3 missing children
Police officers discover one of the three children allegedly injured by their mother.
Robert Mecea
A paramedic provides medical care to one of the children.
A paramedic provides medical care to one of the children.
Robert Mecea
A person at the crime scene
Merdy family members admit they were aware of their endless struggles.
Robert Mecea
3 month old Oliver, 4 year old Liliana and 7 year old Zachary
Merdy allegedly drowned her three children – Oliver, Liliana and Zachary (pictured).
Instagram/City Silverback

Law enforcement sources said that before police found her, she told relatives she had “drowned all three children.” The children were later found unresponsive on the shore just three blocks from their home on Neptune Avenue and were pronounced dead at Coney Island Hospital shortly thereafter.

Merdy’s aunt Dine Stephen said she knew her niece was struggling – but wasn’t aware by how much.

“I knew she was struggling in the sense that she was trying to find her way through life. In this family we have a history of mental illness of varying degrees. Some of us have struggled with bipolar disorder, but I didn’t know about their mental issues,” the aunt said.

“All I knew was that she was trying to find a way for her kids, a way to get on their 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 some crazy stuff, but nothing that would end up harming her kids or herself,” Eddy said.

“She used to like to party here and there, have a little drink, but I didn’t see any substance abuse or that she was really irresponsible. It’s just tragic. I do not know. She never gave us a sign that she would hurt her children. She loved her children.”

Erin Merdy
Relatives told police that Merdy may have harmed their children.
Paul Martinka

Merdy’s uncle Levy said his niece was in the middle of a custody battle with the father of 7-year-old Zachary before Monday’s horror.

“As far as I know, he had issues with how she raised the kid,” Levy said.

“She sort of disappeared from the grid after that, changed her numbers. She wasn’t on social media — at least not to the point where I could find her.”

crime scene
The police are investigating the tragic crime scene.
Robert Mecea

Law enforcement sources noted that Merdy failed to take her son to a custody swap in July ahead of a six-week visit planned with the child’s father.

In May, Merdy pulled Zachary from his youth football team without explanation, according to his coach.

“She never gave a straight answer as to why he stopped playing,” Allen McFarland, head coach of the CITY Silverbacks football team, told The Post. “She seemed to juggle a lot.”

During the 2021 football season, coaches at the youth mentoring sports program regularly picked Zachary up for training, fed him dinner after games and took him home, said McFarland, 34.

They tried to convince Merdy to bring back Zachary, who McFarland said loved football, to the team to no avail.

“We felt like it would be a positive thing for him to get him out of the house and included,” the head coach said. “We practice four times a week, three hours a day. That would have been a good relief for the budget.”

The exact cause of the children’s deaths has yet to be determined.

McFarland choked back tears as he imagined the terror Zachary endured at the end of his life.

“The person you should trust the most in the world is your mother,” he said. “A 7 year old would have loved going to the beach. I can only imagine what that boy was thinking at that moment.”

The coach broke the tragic news to the boy’s former teammates in training on Monday night. The young soccer players released balloons bearing Zachary’s jersey number 15 into the sky over Coney Island and cried out “Zachary, we love you” in farewell.

No charges were filed against Merdy, who was taken to NYU Langone Hospital for a psychiatric evaluation late Monday morning.

“How does she get back from this? Even if you come to your senses, how do you get over the fact that you killed your children?” Levy said.

“It’s a shadow that will hang over her for the rest of her life. That’s what I’m worried about. I don’t think there is a support group for people committing such a heinous crime. Are there working people who have done this?” Brooklyn mom suspected of drowning her three children faces eviction


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