A nurse was stabbed and run over outside her hospital. In her final moments, she identified her killer


Merin Joy and Philip Mathew in a photo provided by a family friend. Mathew is accused of murdering Joy in the Broward Health Coral Springs parking lot on Tuesday, in what Coral Springs Police are calling a domestic-related incident. (Joice John Madasseril / Courtesy)

CORAL SPRINGS — Merin Joy was leaving her last day working at Broward Health Coral Springs, bound for a new life in another part of the state, away from her abusive husband.

She got no farther than the parking lot. There, the 26-year-old veteran nurse was stabbed repeatedly and then run over as the attacker drove off.

Bystanders watched in horror as the man drove over her “like she was a speed bump,” one of Joy’s co-workers said. Employees rushed to her aid, and Joy could only cry to them over and over: “I have a baby.”

Before she died, police said, she revealed her attacker’s identity: It was 34-year-old Philip Mathew. It was her husband.

Philip Mathew has been charged with the first-degree murder of Merin Joy. (Broward Sheriffs Office / Courtesy)

Hardship at home

Merin Joy and Philip Mathew married in India on July 30, 2016, and had a 2-year-old daughter, Norah, according to Joice John Madasseril, a former classmate and close friend of Mathew’s from India.

The marriage had faced problems. Coral Springs police responded to the couple’s home in 2018, when Mathew threatened to kill both Joy and himself, records show.

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.

When the couple traveled together to India in December, Mathew said Joy’s parents filed a police report against him there for domestic violence, according to Madasseril. “But Philip told me it was fabricated,” he said.

By the time Mathew returned to South Florida, he no longer was with his wife and daughter, instead living alone in various places. Mathew worked several jobs, including as a cashier at a gas station and most recently as a McDonald’s employee, Madasseril told the South Florida Sun Sentinel, speaking from India.

It was during that December trip to Kerala, a state in Southern India, when Joy left her daughter with her mother for safekeeping, Madasseril said.

Joy was preparing to move from South Florida to Tampa, where she had family.

On July 19, she called Coral Springs police reporting that she was going through a difficult divorce and that her husband wanted her back.

She told police that he was posting personal messages and pictures online and there were some photos she was worried about him posting because of what they contained. Because no crime had been committed, police recommended that she contact her divorce attorney.

Joy angered her husband as she readied to leave him, Madasseril said.

“He loved his family. He loves his daughter that much,” Madasseril said. “He liked to live with his wife and daughter.”

Madasseril said Joy referred to her spouse as “a crazy man” after he slapped her in the face.

Madasseril said Mathew had called him from his hotel room at midnight Monday to say Joy told him she would never ever allow him to see their child. That conversation provoked him, hurting “Philip’s heart,” Madasseril said.

Mathew wanted to talk with his wife about bringing their daughter home, but Madasseril told him he first needed to get a better job.

Screaming for help

Mathew decided to head to his wife’s workplace Tuesday, showing up at 6:45 a.m. He waited for her in the parking lot, police said.

One of Joy’s hospital friends, who declined to be identified, said Joy worked on the fourth floor caring for COVID-19 patients.

When Joy left Broward Health Coral Springs about 7:30 a.m. and got to her car, Mathew found her and stabbed her repeatedly, then drove over her with his car, police said.

According to a police report, a witness told police he heard Joy screaming for help as she was being stabbed next to her car in the west parking lot. As the witness rushed over, Mathew swung the knife at him, and the witness snapped a photo of his license plate before retreating.

Joy was merely feet away from the Coral Springs emergency room, but her wounds were too severe. She was taken to a hospital that was equipped to deal with more severe trauma.

As a police officer rode with Joy to Broward Health North in Deerfield Beach, she confirmed that her attacker was Mathew, police said. Joy died at 8:51 a.m., more than an hour after the attack.


Police found Mathew staying at a Studio 6 hotel in Coral Springs, situated near the Sawgrass Expressway.

Mathew had cut both his arms in a suicide attempt, according to a police report. He has been charged with first-degree murder and records show he remained in the county jail Wednesday without bond.

Joy had 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.”

Grief counselors helped support the nurses Tuesday afternoon.

“There was nothing bad in her,” a friend said. “Nothing a patient could do to upset her. She was never rattled. She smiled from the core of her being.”

Courtesy : sun-sentinel.com

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