- Philip Mathew ambushed Merin Joy after her shift ended and stabbed her repeatedly before running her over with his car.
A Florida nurse’s last day at work turned out to be her last day alive, as she was ruthlessly murdered by her estranged husband in the parking lot of the hospital where she worked in Coral Springs. News reports say Philip Mathew repeatedly stabbed Merin Joy, and then ran his car over her body in the parking lot, before fleeing.
It is believed that Joy, 26, was stabbed after a domestic dispute between the two. Mathew, 34, is believed to have been lying in wait for at least 45 minutes outside Broward Health Coral Springs, the hospital where Joy worked as a nurse.
Mathew has been charged with first-degree murder and has been held in the Boward County jail without bond.
Joy, 26, was reportedly leaving her last day working at the hospital. The South Florida Sun Sentinel reported that Joy was moving to Tampa, “to get away from her abusive husband.”
News reports say surveillance footage of the incident provided to the police by the hospital shows Mathew arriving at the hospital at around 6:45 a.m., approximately 45 minutes before Joy’s shift ended. Once she left the hospital, the footage shows that Mathew drove up behind the vehicle and blocked her in before jumping out of his own car and pulling her from her vehicle.
He stabbed her multiple times and then left her body on the ground, as he ran her over.
News reports say a witness told Coral Springs Detective Jeff Payne that she heard Joy screaming “help me,” multiple times and saw Mathew attacking her. The witness told Payne that Mathew then got into his car and ran over Joy’s body before fleeing the scene.
Another witness who reportedly tried to intervene, told Payne that when he attempted to grab Mathew, he swung a knife at him. However, the man took a photograph of Mathew’s Hyundai Sonata which had a Michigan license plate.
Paramedics took Joy to Broward Health North for treatment, where she died from her wounds.
A report in oxygen.com says that Joy was conscious when she was being transported to the hospital. She told Coral Springs Police Officer Nicole Hildebrant, who traveled with her, that it was her estranged husband who stabbed her and ran her over. Joy’s exchange with Hildebrant was reportedly captured on the officer’s body camera.
When the police arrested Mathew at a Studio 6 hotel in Coral Springs, he had cut both his arms in a suicide attempt.
Joy had reportedly worked at the hospital for about two years. “We are heartbroken over the loss of Merin,” said Jared Smith, the CEO of Broward Health Coral Springs. “She was part of our family, and there are no words to describe our emotions. We offer our most sincere condolences to her family.”
Joice John Madasseril, a former classmate and close friend of Mathew’s, who lives in Kerala, told the South Florida Sun Sentinel that Joy and Mathew were married in Kerala on July 30, 2016. They had a rocky marriage.
Citing police records, the South Florida Sun Sentinel report said that Mathew had previously threatened to kill both Joy and himself in 2018. “At the time, he was taken into custody under the Baker Act, the law that allows police and mental health professionals to detain a person deemed mentally unstable and a danger to themselves or others,” the report said.
Madasseril told the paper that Joy and Mathew traveled to Kerala together last December with their daughter 2-year-old Norah. During that visit, Joy’s parents filed a police report against Mathew for domestic violence. “But Philip told me it was fabricated,” he said. Before returning to Florida, Joy left Norah with her mother for “safekeeping,” Madasseril said.
By the time Mathew returned to South Florida, he did not live with Joy. Madasseril told the South Florida Sun Sentinel, that Mathew lived alone in various places and worked several jobs, including as a cashier at a gas station and most recently as a McDonald’s employee. Mathew’s last domicile was believed to be in Wixon, Michigan.
According to Madasseril, Mathew was upset with Joy for alienating their daughter from him. Her plans to move out of Coral Springs, added to his anger. Madasseril told the paper that when Mathew said he wanted to talk with his wife about bringing their daughter home, he told him that he first needed to get a better job.
On July 19, a few days before she was killed, Joy had called the Coral Springs police. According to the South Florida Sun Sentinel report, Joy told the place that “she was going through a difficult divorce and that her husband wanted her back.” She also accused Mathew of posting personal messages and pictures online. “Because no crime had been committed, police recommended that she contact her divorce attorney,” the report said.