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Monday, May 13, 2019

Mentally Ill Father Accused of Setting His Car on Fire With His 3-Year Old Daughter Inside

Martin Pereira, father accused of burning his daughter alive

Queens, NY — Zoey Pereira, a 3-year old little girl from New York tragically died after being burned alive inside a locked car. The girl’s father, Martin Pereira, has been arrested in connection to the incident after he was accused of trapping his only daughter in the car and setting it on fire.

Shortly before the incident, Pereira, who is 39-years old, and Cherone Coleman, Zoey’s mother who is 36-years old, were having a custody dispute. Coleman claimed she believed her former fiance was starting to become mentally unstable and would eventually hurt her and their daughter so she asked the court to stop his visitation rights, but the judge denied her request.

Despite her objection, Pereira was able to have their daughter for a weekend visit and he took her to his home in Long Island. It was only the second time Pereira spent the weekend visit with Zoey since they broke up.

“I should’ve just kept her and gone to jail,” she told New York Daily News she said after the shocking incident, wishing she could have just had disobeyed the judge’s order.

On Sunday, Coleman said Pereira called and told her, “You’re never going to see your daughter again.” Scared he’d really hurt their daughter, she called 911 but it was already too late.

Zoey was found dead in the back of Pereira’s burnt car with its doors chained shut. Prior to that, witnesses saw Pereira with his clothes on fire and he told them, “I have my kid in the car.”

Police responded to the scene and rescuers rushed Zoey to the hospital but she could not be saved. Pereira was also taken to the hospital to be treated for burns.

On Monday, police determined the death of the little girl a homicide after discovering gas splashed throughout the car. Pereira has been in police custody since then but he has not been charged yet.

Coleman was beyond angry and heartbroken for her daughter’s death.

“I wish I could torture him and kill him. I can’t imagine the pain my baby went through. She was burned terribly, her bones were out and he ran off and left her to burn to death. Why would he do this to my daughter to get to me? It doesn’t make sense,” she initially said but thought otherwise later on. “I want him to live, and suffer for what he did to my daughter.”