A tragic death happened in Queens, New York, when firefighters rescued 3-year-old Zoey Pereira from a burning Audi sedan, which was locked and even chained. The young girl was still alive when firefighters got to her and brought her to Jamaica Hospital, but she unfortunately succumbed to her severe burns and died.
Inside the car’s trunk authorities also found two gas cans and one propane tank. The little girl’s father, 39-year-old Martin Pereira, is now facing charges of arson, reckless endangerment, and the murder of his young daughter.
Pereira was said to have been found near the crime scene severely injured as well from burns that covered 70% of his body. However, it’s not known whether Pereira was in the car before the incident, and police mentioned he was in stable condition.
The grieving mother, 36-year-old Cherone Coleman, told the media they were having a custody battle over their daughter. Also, throughout the custody battle, Pereira was starting to show signs of mental instability.
Coleman had requested to modify Pereira’s visitation rights, which was turned down by the judge. They also allowed Pereira to leave for the weekend of May 4 and 5 with the 3-year-old, which was only the second time ever spent with his daughter since the separation with Coleman.
Pereira then brought Zoey to the Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park, accusing Coleman of child and drug abuse, which Coleman denies. Coleman also reports Pereira making a phone call to her on May 5 where he said several disturbing things, including how Coleman was never going to see her daughter again.
Frightened by his threats, Coleman reported to emergency services about the argument with her ex-partner and the potential danger he posed to their daughter. Unfortunately, they were too late when they found Zoey in the burned-up Audi sedan.