Three children – who were 7 years old, 4 years old, and three months old – died after they were found unconscious on the shoreline in southern Brooklyn in the early hours of Monday, September 12, police said in a press conference.
The children’s 30-year-old mother, who was found “soaking wet” and barefoot on a boardwalk two miles away, was being questioned by police.
NYPD Chief of Department Kenneth Corey said a family member called 911 at 1:40 am to tell police she was concerned the children’s mother may have harmed the three youngsters. Police went to the mother’s apartment and received no response.
Officers were met inside the building by a man who said he was the father of one of the children. He expressed the same concerns as the 911 caller and told police he believed the woman may have been on the boardwalk with her children.
Police began a search of the boardwalk and located the mother around 90 minutes later. She was accompanied by other family members but not her children, police said.
At 4:42 am, officers found the children unresponsive at the water’s edge in the Brighton Beach area, around two miles from where they found the children’s mother. Officers administered “life-saving measures, including CPR” and the kids were rushed to Coney Island Hospital, where they were pronounced dead.
Police said a preliminary investigation indicated “no prior history of abuse or neglect." The children’s mother remained in custody on Monday but had not been charged, police said.
Police appealed for anyone with information about the incident to come forward. Credit: NYPD via Storyful
KENNETH COREY: Thank you all for coming. I'm Kenneth Corey, the Chief of Department. Standing here with me is Assistant Chief Michael Kemper, the Commanding Officer of Patrol Borough Brooklyn South, Deputy Chief Joseph Galotta, Commanding Officer of Brooklyn South Detectives, Inspector James King, the Commanding Officer of the 60th Precinct.
Just as a reminder, the information that I'm going to give you is preliminary and subject to change, as this incident is only a few hours old. Earlier this morning at about 1:40 AM, officers from the 60th Precinct responded to an apartment at 3325 Neptune Avenue in response to a 9-1-1 call placed by a concerned family member who was at a different location.
And the caller indicated that she was concerned that her family member may have harmed her three small children. Officers responded to that apartment. They received no answer to a knock on the door. And inside the building, they were met by an individual who identified himself to be the father of one of the children who expressed similar concerns, and said that he believed that the woman and the children were on the boardwalk here in Coney Island.
The officers began, along with other officers from the 60th Precinct, a search for the woman and her children that involved canvassing the Boardwalk, the beach, the streets of Coney Island, Coney Island Hospital, and her own apartment at 3325 Neptune Avenue, where the officers found the door unlocked. This search continued for approximately 90 minutes until the officers, in response to an additional 9-1-1 call, were directed to Brighton 6th Street and Riegelmann Boardwalk, which is approximately two miles down the Boardwalk from where we are now.
At that location, the officers found a 30-year-old female believed to be the mother of the three children. She was accompanied by other family members, but not the children. The search now intensified: aviation units, harbor units, and additional canvasses of the shoreline. At about 4:42 this morning, the officers discovered three children: a seven-year-old male, a four-year-old female, and another female was approximately 3 and 1/2 months old on the shoreline, here at the water's edge, at West 35th Street in Coney Island.
The officers immediately initiated life-saving measures including CPR on the children. And they were rushed to Coney Island Hospital, where they were regrettably pronounced deceased. As we said, this is a very active investigation. We ask anyone who may have information as to what transpired here to call our Crime Stoppers hot-line at 800-577-TIPS All your calls will be kept confidential. I can now take a few questions.
- Do you know if Child Protective Services was ever called to the house, any prior issues?
KENNETH COREY: So best we can tell at this point, and again, it's preliminary, there is no indication of abuse or prior history of abuse or neglect of these children.
- Did the mother say anything to the first responders that arrived?
KENNETH COREY: So at the time, she did not. She is in the station house. Detectives are attempting to speak with her at this moment. But so far, she has not said anything.
- Chief, what incident early in the night led relatives, including the [INAUDIBLE], that she may be involved in this?
KENNETH COREY: I believe that she had called them and made statements to them to that effect.
KENNETH COREY: That's all subject to the investigation.
- Anybody else?
- Can you refer to the nationality of the family?
KENNETH COREY: To the nationality of the family, no.
- Can you talk about the status of the [INAUDIBLE]? What condition was she in?
KENNETH COREY: So the mother was soaking wet. Whether she had been out in the rain or whether she had been in the water, again, is all speculative at this point. She was wet. She was barefoot. And she was not communicative to the officers.
- One more, Rocco, one more.
- Any witnesses? Did it happen here? Did she walk that way?
KENNETH COREY: So right now we are looking for witnesses. We don't know exactly what happened here yet, Rocco. We're going to try to piece this all together. We know that the children are found here. Officers retrieved them from the shoreline, attempt to revive them, which ultimately fails. And we know that she's found two miles away. What we need to put together is what happened before and then in between.
- Thank you, everybody. Thank you.
- Thank you.
- Thank you.
KENNETH COREY: She is at the station house. She's not in custody at this point. She is at the station house.
- Thank you very much, guys.