Coney Island mother charged in drowning children not ‘medically cleared’ for charge: DA

The Brooklyn mother accused of drowning her three young children at Coney Island is not mentally stable enough to face a murder charge, the Brooklyn District Attorney said Thursday.

Erin Merdy, 30, has been hospitalized in the NYU Langone Brooklyn psychiatric unit since Monday morning and has not yet been “medically cleared” to face the murder charges the NYPD hit her with on Wednesday, prosecutor Eric Gonzalez said before a wake for two of the children.

“She is not medically cleared for any charge, she cannot be charged in person or at the bedside,” Gonzalez told the Post outside the Caribe Funeral Home in Flatlands, where an open-casket wake was held for Zachary Merdy, 7, and Liliana Stephen that afternoon , 4.

“She is not free to leave the hospital. It’s not open to visitors, it’s still medically contained. The next step would probably be presenting evidence to the grand jury.”

Gonzalez noted that prosecutors had “180 hours” to present Merdy’s case to the grand jury and seek an indictment. If the grand jury votes to indict Merdy, she could be indicted next week or in the following days in the Brooklyn Superior Court, where she would be “present” to face the charges, Gonzalez said.

The county’s chief prosecutor called Monday’s tragedy a “heartbreaking incident” and said he attended the wake to show his “respect” to the family.

According to Brooklyn Attorney Eric Gonzalez, Erin Merdy is not mentally stable enough to handle charges of allegedly murdering her three children at Coney Island.
According to Brooklyn Attorney Eric Gonzalez, Erin Merdy is not mentally stable enough to handle charges of allegedly murdering her three children at Coney Island.
Paul Martinka for the NY Post
Gonzalez will attend the memorial service for victims at the Caribe Funeral Home in Brooklyn on September 15, 2022.
Gonzalez will attend the memorial service for victims at the Caribe Funeral Home in Brooklyn on September 15, 2022.
Daniel William McKnight for the NY Post

“Today it was important for me to come here as a father and a parent and a county roommate to offer my condolences to the family,” he said.

Loved ones and heartbroken loved ones gathered at the funeral home to commemorate the two children who were killed, but mourners, some of whom were seen praying around the children’s coffins, refused to speak about the horror and asked for privacy.

Little Zachary’s father – Derrick Merdy – was spotted holding hands with a group of people in a circle.

Police at the scene where Merdy allegedly drowned her children Zachary Merdy, 7, Liliana Stephen, 4, and three-month-old Oliver Bondarev on September 12, 2022.
Police at the scene where Merdy allegedly drowned her children Zachary Merdy, 7, Liliana Stephen, 4, and three-month-old Oliver Bondarev on September 12, 2022.
Robert Mecea for the NY Post
Merdy's daughter Liliana Stephen.
Merdy’s daughter, Liliana Stephen, who was killed along with her half-brothers.

Merdy’s youngest child – three-month-old Oliver Bondarev, who was also allegedly drowned by his mother – was not present in Caribe. Details about his wake and funeral were not immediately clear.

All three children have different fathers.

Early Monday morning, Merdy left her Neptune Avenue home with her three children, walked with them in the sand and allegedly drowned them in the surf, law enforcement sources said.

When police later found her two miles away near the Brighton Beach seafront, she was barefoot, soaking wet and slouching through the sand in a bathrobe.

A photo of one of the children killed being brought in the wake.
A photo of one of the children killed being brought in the wake.
Daniel William McKnight for the NY Post

Relatives said before the incident that she was behaving erratically and appeared delirious. They told police she was suffering from mental health issues and may have been struggling with postpartum depression following the birth of their son Oliver.

Merdy had filed at least two neglect reports with the City Department of Children’s Services against her for not taking the children to school, but the disposition of the reports is unclear, law enforcement sources previously said.

Zachary’s father told the New York Times his son was often dirty and hungry when he showed up for mandatory custody visits.

He told the outlet he had reported the mother to “Child Protection Services” and tried unsuccessfully to gain full custody of her son. It is unclear to which authority the father reported the mother.

https://nypost.com/2022/09/15/coney-island-mom-charged-with-drowning-kids-not-medically-cleared-for-arraignment-da/ Coney Island mother charged in drowning children not ‘medically cleared’ for charge: DA

JACLYN DIAZ

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