CONEY ISLAND, Brooklyn (WABC) — Three children died after being found unconscious on a Coney Island beach on Monday morning, and police believe they may have been drowned by their mother.
The bodies of the 7-year-old boy, 4-year-old girl and 3-month-old boy were found around 4.40am following a nearly three-hour search which began when a relative called the police, worried about the intention of the woman. hurt his children.
The children were rushed to Coney Island Hospital, where all three were pronounced dead.
The victims were later identified as Zachary Merdy, 7, Lilana, 4, and Oliver Bondarev, 3 months.
The 30-year-old mother, who has not yet been identified, was found about 90 minutes later drenched, ‘almost catatonic’ and barefoot, police say, about 2 miles on the boardwalk in the Coney Island section where she lived. .
Officers first received a phone call around 1.40am from a family member concerned that someone might have harmed three young children.
When officers arrived at the home on Neptune Avenue, a man who identified himself as the father of the three children opened the door and told police he believed the mother was with the children on the ride.
Police then began monitoring the boardwalk and surrounding area for any signs of the mother or children.
It was then that they received a second phone call from family members who were with the mother on the promenade, about two miles from where the children were found.
NYPD press conference:
Police said the suspect told family members she had drowned her children, but stopped talking when the officer arrived and has not made a statement since.
“So far, she hasn’t said anything,” NYPD Department Chief Kenneth Corey said.
She has since been taken to hospital twice and postpartum depression which led to postpartum psychosis is believed to be a possible motive.
“The mother was soaked,” Corey said. “Whether she was out in the rain or in the water is speculation at this point. She was wet, she was barefoot and she was not communicating with officers.”
The mother has previous incidents of harassment and aggravated harassment that did not result in charges.
She has no previous arrests or history of emotional turmoil.
Police say the actions appear to be premeditated and not something that happened on the spur of a moment, and detectives are investigating his past and interviewing neighbors and relatives to determine what happened.
She has not yet been charged.
Neighbors who knew the mother said she appeared to be a good mother and the children seemed healthy and well cared for. If there was something horribly wrong, they never would have guessed.
Allen McFarland, who coached the 7-year-old in football, described the eldest son as a happy and energetic child.
He said that although it looked like the mother was juggling a lot at once, nothing seemed out of the ordinary.
“A solid kid, a very good kid, always smiling on the football pitch,” he said. “She really cared, you know what I mean? That’s why it was such a shock.”
Police are asking anyone who may have seen the mother and children at any time last night or early this morning to call the NYPD Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS ( 8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).
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