The troubled Brooklyn mother suspected of drowning her three young children in the ocean off Coney Island remained inside a psychiatric facility Tuesday with potential criminal charges still pending against her.
A police source told the Daily News that authorities were investigating whether the deaths could be linked to postpartum depression. Mother Irene Merdy gave birth to her youngest child just three months ago.
In an exclusive interview with the Daily News hours after the children died, Merdy’s mother said She thought her daughter might suffer of the condition.
The source added that Merdi, 30, did not give a statement to the police and was immediately taken to the hospital as soon as she was detained, as the police asked her not to provide details of what happened in the dark.
She was detained early Monday after she called her cousin Word drowned the children before the arrival of the police and the discovery of the bodiesThe source said. Another source said, the authorities are still talking with potential witnesses, and are awaiting the results of the autopsy of the three children, on Tuesday.
“It’s just a tragedy,” Merdy’s uncle Eddie Stephen said Tuesday, adding that he last saw Merdy years ago at her father’s funeral. “She was not in her right mind. We are in mourning, our family.”
Merdy, who has been described by other family members as having mental health issues, on January 12 received an eviction notice stating that she was more than $5,000 behind on her $1,531 monthly rent payments.
A soccer coach told her 7-year-old son, who was found dying on a Coney Island beach with his two younger brothers, that the boy often arrived hungry for group training before leaving the team last year.
The boy’s mother is not interested She rarely attends games to watch her son play, And I often left early when I actually showed up, said Allen MacFarland, youth coaching program manager at Coney Island.
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“The thing that was noticeable when we fed him pasta was always ‘Can I have more, can I have another?'” MacFarland recalls. “…we used to bring him and feed him in practice.”
MacFarland said he and the other coaches would stop at the home of Zachary Merdy, 7, and walk the class pupil to exercise. He added that their attempts to bring him back to the team this year were unsuccessful.
Zachary and his siblings, 3-month-old Oliver and 4-year-old Liliana, were found unresponsive on the beach near their apartment early Monday morning, where their mother was seen soaking wet aimlessly on the nearby sand, barefoot and dressed. Bathrobe authorities said.
On Tuesday morning, a police officer was posted to the door of the apartment where the mother lives alone with her three children. Family members said the mother had had mental health issues before her children were discovered.
The mother’s sister called the cops at 1:40 a.m. Monday to report her concerns that Merdy had abused the children, with police arriving to find the door to the mother’s apartment open and no one inside. About 90 minutes later, police received a 911 call directing them to nearby Brighton Beach and found Merdy drunk with other family members, according to sources.
Authorities have located the three children, who were all pronounced dead at Coney Island Hospital later that morning.
The father of one of the missing children was inside the apartment building the family lived in when the police arrived, and he, too, expressed concerns about the children’s fate before the bodies were finally discovered.