Coral Springs: Merin Joy, 28, the Malayali nurse who was stabbed to death in Miami, USA, on Tuesday told the police that the attacker was her husband Philip Mathew (Nevin). She gave the statement to the police while being taken to a hospital in an ambulance, the local media reported.
Merin was attacked in the parking area of Broward Health Coral Springs Hospital when she was about to return home after completing the final shift and saying goodbyes to her colleagues. Nevin stabbed her 17 times and, when she fell down, also drove a vehicle over her.
He was later arrested from a hotel room and charged with first-degree murder. He had stabbed himself also and had knife wounds when he was arrested.
Nevin and Merin were married on July 30, 2016. She went to the US after the marriage. They have a two-year-old daughter, Nora.
The couple had problems within two years of marriage. In 2018, the Coral Springs police arrived at their home after Nevin threatened to kill Merin and then end his own life.
They took him into custody under the Baker Act that allows temporary detention of people who could pose a threat to others lives because of their mental health.
Merin’s parents knew about the couple’s problems when they visited home in Monipally, Kottayam, last December, her friends said.
Even though they had booked flight tickets for January 12 to return to the US along with their daughter Nora, Nevin left within 10 days of the visit to South Florida. He worked as a cashier at a gas station and later as an employee at a McDonald’s outlet.
Merin returned to the US after leaving her daughter in her parents’ care. Hours before her death, she had made a video call home. She spoke to her father, mother and also her sister Meera. She also saw her daughter.
Merin was planning to shift to Tampa as she was uncomfortable living with Nevin, her friends said. In fact, she had resigned from her job at Broward Hospital and was making arrangements to shift to Tampa on August 15, they said.
According to local media reports, Merin had called the Coral Springs police on July 19 and told them that she was planning to get a divorce from Nevin and that she did not want to stay with him.
Merin had also expressed concern about Nevin posting personal messages and pictures on social media. The police, however, told her to approach a divorce attorney as there was no crime involved in her case.
Nevin’s friends said he was annoyed by Merin’s attempts to get a divorce. There are indications that arguments over the baby prompted Nevin to commit the atrocity.
On Tuesday, around 6:45am (Florida time), Kevin arrived at Merin’s workplace and waited for her in the parking area. Nevin attacked Merin around 7:30 am when she was about to get into her car after completing her duty in the COVID ward of Broward Health Hospital.
Even though colleagues ran towards her to help, Nevin threatened them by flashing a knife at them. The colleagues took a picture of the number plate of the vehicle in which Nevin escaped and gave it to the police.
Although Merin was stabbed near the emergency room of Broward Hospital, she had to be taken to another hospital as her injuries were very serious. The police declared Merin dead at 8:51am.
'Nevin did not have a steady job'
The couple was quite happy in the initial days of the marriage, a relative told Manorama Online. “But later there was discomfort. It later escalated into her murder,” a relative of Merin said.
Merin was the eldest daughter of Marangattil Joy and Mercy of Monipally in Kottayam.
“Philip (Nevin) didn’t have a good, steady job. He began to be bothered by that. He was not happy with the fact that his wife had a better job and a place in the society than him,” the relative said.
“Merin excelled in studies and other things. She was an excellent student at St. John’s (College of nursing), in Bengaluru. At first, it was just arguments between the two. He then started harassing her. The problem finally ended in her murder,” he said.
Although Merin had informed the family about the problem with Nevin, they did not realise it was this severe, he said.
They last visited Kerala in December, but they returned separately. It was evident that they had differences of opinion. But family members thought that it must be a minor quarrel and that they would settle it among themselves. No one thought it would end up killing her, the relative said.